Thomas Grimm

SteamOS 3.4: Steam Deck gets a new Arch Linux and KDE Plasma

Valve has released its SteamOS operating system, optimized for gaming and handheld PCs, in the latest version 3.4 in the Stable Channel for the Steam Deck. An updated system image of the Linux distribution Arch Linux and a new version of the free desktop KDE Plasma are now used as the basis.

Major product maintenance for SteamOS

After SteamOS 3.2 brought stepless refresh rates from 40 to 60 Hz to the Steam Deck and SteamOS 3.3 optimized the performance in games and the 5 GHz Wi-Fi of the handheld PC, Valve is starting with the release of SteamOS 3.4 and updates the substructure and desktop of its Linux distribution, which is completely tailored to use the Steam library.

New build and updated desktop

In the official release notes, the developers speak of a new base for Arch Linux, meaning an updated build.

Steam OS 3.4 highlights
  • Starting with version 3.4, SteamOS is based on a new build (“Snapshot”) of the rolling release Arch Linux.
  • This is accompanied by the latest updates for more performance, stability and security.
  • The desktop environment KDE Plasma, which has been brought up to date, has undergone the most adjustments.

Add to that the obligatory optimizations and bug fixes that come with every new release, as well as new themes and wallpapers.

SteamOS gets KDE Plasma 5.26

Much of the improvement comes from updating the Plasma desktop. Valve has included all updates from KDE Plasma 5.24 LTS and KDE Plasma 5.25 as well as the current desktop KDE Plasma 5.26 in SteamOS 3.4.

The desktop mode in particular, previously a point of criticism from users of the handheld PC, and the following areas benefit from the update of the work environment:

  • Improved use of desktop mode
  • Optimized display on HiDPI screens
  • New overview for open apps and tasks
  • New gestures and mini-apps (“widgets”)

Further optimizations flow into almost all sub-areas, such as the CPU/GPU performance, the image output and the input devices as well as the audio playback.

SteamOS 3.4 is already being distributed

The rollout of SteamOS 3.4, which has already been withdrawn twice due to minor bugs and is now being distributed as SteamOS 3.4.2, as well as the included latest Steam Client update via the Stable Channel has already begun and is taking place in waves as usual.

The latest rumors also say that an official system image of SteamOS will be available for free download and that the operating system should also be usable on other systems.

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