Valve Finally Brings SteamVR To Linux As A Developer Release

by Jamie Feltham • February 22nd, 2017

It was over four months ago now that Valve showed SteamVR running in Linux for the first time. Today, it’s finally launching the platform on the operating system, albeit in a limited form.

SteamVR comes to Linux as a development release, meaning it’s intended for content creators to start working on apps for the open-source OS, and not for regular Linux users to access. To that end, users must have opted into the public Beta for Steam or SteamVR to access it along with obtaining pre-release drivers. On Nvidia cards that means the 375.27.10 “Developer Beta Driver”, while AMD users will need a pre-release version of the radv driver. You’ll also need Unity 5.6 to actually create content through Linux.

The SteamVR version of Linux is built on top of the Vulkan API. Currently, you’ll find essentials like the compositor, dashboard, VR status windows, and the room setup and tutorial software. Known issues include the desktop view currently not working properly and power management of base stations not being properly implemented. It’s available over on GitHub, but there’s no word on when a more stable build will be releases.

Significantly, Valve’s own operating system, SteamOS, is built upon Linux, and is used in the company’s Steam Machines, designed for gaming. Bringing Linux support to SteamVR will open up the number of people that can actually use these headsets, then, even if it’s not as significant a number as the amount of Windows users out there.

Late last month, we also reported that Valve had added “initial support” for Apple’s OSX, suggesting we may soon see SteamVR on Apple’s Macs too.

Linux support, meanwhile, was added as part of a wider SteamVR update which also includes things like improve quality of supersampling, and changes to the desktop theater mode. It’s release apparently caused an issue with brightness in Euro Truck Simulator 2, but Valve has just fixed that. How’s that for service?

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