Valve has had a pretty open-minded approach to the Steam Deck. It really is a portable PC at the end of the day. As such, the company has now made the SteamOS devkit available to the public.
Spotted by GamingOnLinux forum user Liam Dawe, there are two devkits available now on GitLab. SteamOS devkit client and devkit service are both totally open for anyone to download, which Dawe points to as a particular help to game developers. “Developers can easily upload builds from one device to a Steam Deck to begin testing,” Dawe explains in the forum post. “[It’s] available to developers anyway, but now they do not have to be approved by Valve. ” The company was already reviewing the entire Steam Deck library to maximize compatibility, so it’s nice that devs can do the same themselves.
The open-source nature is great for hobbyists too. Dawe continues, “This means others can test, report issues, and perhaps even contribute code back to improve it further, or even hack away at it to use it for other things.” We’ve already seen evidence of that last part, as GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin was shown running on Steam Deck before the device even began shipping to regular customers.
While open-source products are wonderful for those who know what they’re doing, not everyone should mess around with the guts of the Steam Deck. Valve supports the right to repair but recommends you go to a pro for any serious needs.