It's time. The SteamOS Beta is now available. With this, you can finally start building your very own Steam Box/Machine/Console/Whatever-you-want-to call-it.
Valve's official website for the OS describes it as a Linux-based operating system that draws from Debian 7, upon which SteamOS builds and optimises "for a living room experience." Furthermore, it's an open Linux platform that gives you full control over your system and whatever new software and content you want to install. It is, however, stressed that the SteamOS Beta is not open-source.
Valve's also been kind enough to help people by providing a handy tutorial containing step-by-step instructions and the following list of system requirements:
So, Steam Boxes are go! Does that mean that the desktop Steam experience is over? Hardly. Valve makes it very clear that, "Users should not consider SteamOS as a replacement for their desktop operating system. SteamOS is being designed and optimized for the living room experience."
Either way, this is a very cool development. The question is, how many gamers are going to build one of these things? Personally, I'm not confident enough that my tech skills could build a paper aeroplane, let alone a Steam Box, but I'm interested to see what becomes of this initiative.