This is not a major update, but it's all about security
The Beta version of SteamOS, a Debian-based distribution developed by Valve to be used in its hybrid PC / console, has just received an update, closing some of the OpenSSL exploits discovered a few days ago.Valve has two builds for SteamOS. One is a stable version (sort of) and the other one is a Beta (Alchemist). The two versions are not all that different from one another, but the Valve developers are using the Beta release to test some of the new updates before they hit the stable branch.
According to the changelog, the latest OpenSSL security fixes (CVE-2014-0195, CVE-2014-0224, CVE-2014-0221, and CVE-2014-3470) have been implemented, users are now able to install the updates before the shutdown, it's now possible to postpone the updates, gnutls26 has been updated, a new version of lxml has been implemented, and e2fsprogs and iptables have been updated as well.
When the OpenSSL Heartbleed issue hit the Linux community, the Valve developers were a little slow and it took them a while to get the fixes in place. Now, remember that SteamOS doesn't have OpenSSL installed by default, but users can get it from the repositories.
SteamOS is a Debian fork, which means that it also inherits some of the problems from its base. This is actually helpful, because whenever Debian gets important fixes or improvements, Valve will choose to bring those modifications into their distro.
Keep in mind that, in order to get these fixes for the operating system, you will need to get into the Beta, but going back to the Stable is not really an option. You will be stuck with it until the stable version catches up.
The system requirements for Steam OS haven't changed and have been pretty much the same since the beginning: an Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor, 4GB or more memory, a 250GB or larger disk, NVIDIA, Intel, or AMD graphics card, and a USB port or DVD drive for installation.
Check the official announcement for more details about this release. You can download SteamOS 118 Beta right now from Softpedia and take it for a spin.
SteamOS is not a regular Linux distribution and it's still far off from a day-to-day operating system. There are still a lot of things missing from it, and for now it's only usable as a gaming platform. It's possible that this will change in the future, but it will take a while.