Meet SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system from Valve, designed for the living room, and therefore with clear designs on Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony’s turf.

Valve took the lid off yesterday, the first of three living room-related gaming announcements. The next one happens tomorrow afternoon, with the final presumably taking place Friday. One of these reveals may be the fabled Steam Box, a kind of living room PC-console ostensibly built and sold by Valve to carry its software digital distribution platform beyond the increasingly staid traditional keyboard-and-mouse paradigm. This is not Valve dipping a toe in the water, in other words; this is Valve taking full measures and diving in.

That said, we don’t know a lot about what SteamOS is, exactly. Not yet anyway. We know it’ll be freely distributed because Valve says so in plain language, but then so is the Steam client, and that’s been the case since…

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