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The Linux coders turning the ROG Ally and other handhelds into Steam Deck clones

ROG Ally unit running Steam

Enlarge / SteamOS on the Asus ROG Ally, the hard (but kinda fun) way. (credit: Kevin Purdy)

As soon as I was done with my review of the Asus ROG Ally, I grabbed my best USB stick and started looking for ISOs to download.

Windows is, of course, the main highway to most PC gaming, but it’s also (as detailed in the review) not yet built to work well on a 7-inch gaming handheld. The ROG Ally ships with Windows (Home) installed and a bunch of Asus software, but it is still, at heart, a PC. With effort, you can get into the BIOS, disable Secure Boot, plug in a USB stick, and boot a USB stick with a live Linux distribution on it.

It’s a weird feeling, ignoring almost everything Asus has done to set up this device with gaming and power management software and starting over at the storage level. But, like the many Linux developers who see the Ally as the Steam Deck‘s potentially beefier cousin, I wanted to leave the comforts of the Start menu for wilder lands.

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