There was much excitement for Linux gamers with today’s release of a new Steam beta that brought several Linux-specific updates among a range of cross-platform improvements, most hopefully aimed at optimizing the gaming client before the launch of the Steam Deck.
The Linux changes are under the hood, improving library processes and enabling Nvidia drivers for app-specific profiles. There are also improvements to Steam Input’s CPU usage, and compatibility with NixOS is back. The full patch notes can be found here. These small changes are the start of what will be a number of Linux improvements that will shape the Arch based Steam OS that will power the Steam Deck.
The most visible change in this beta is to the Downloads screen, where we now get a little bit of game artwork to accompany the graph that represents the downloading data, and a bar that fills to represent how close the download is to completion. Disk usage is also clearly shown, providing useful information for those times the download appears to have stalled, but the game is still being actively patched. Multiple downloads in a queue can now be dragged and dropped to reorder, replacing the clunky functionality of the ‘to the top’ button. We also get a clear-all button for completed downloads.
Elsewhere, in the Library there’s now a Storage Manager, accessible from Settings, that allows you to order your games by size, move them between drives, and uninstall directly to free-up space - useful if you’re reliant on small SSDs and Micro SD cards, we’d imagine.