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Steam working towards better supporting other distros!

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A Steam developer johnv has written on the Steam Linux Group forum asking for feedback on package install changes.
QuoteWe've gotten a lot of feedback around the hacky way that Steam manages dependencies. Some of this is because of lingering multiarch problems on Ubuntu 12.04 and hopefully this will go away as Canonical irons those out. But some is due to the way that package management doesn't work well with an auto-updating application like Steam. For example, if we add a new feature to Steam that requires a new OS package to be installed, we need to make sure that happens before the new auto-updated Steam runs. And with different distros having different approaches and interfaces to package management, it is impossible for us to cover all the different configurations.

One proposal we have to make things easier for other distros is to separate out the package management logic (basically the install_extra_packages() part of /usr/bin/steam.sh) into a separate script - steam-depends.sh. Then we would call that script to do any post-install package installs. Other distros could provide a different script that would do the equivalent.

I would love to get some feedback from people running (or trying to run) Steam on non-Ubuntu distros. Does this help some? Any better ideas?


It has already caused a heated debate as usual with some people rather unhappy at the way the current client works. Some people are frustrated with Steam forcing updates to itself and games.

It has also stirred up people yet again questioning why Steam itself is mostly installed into /home, a place I am actually happy with since I can distro hop and keep everything easily on my home partition.

So for anyone technical it may be an idea to jump in that thread and give your constructive thoughts to it.

Also Steam issues are now tracked on their official github page to make tracking it all easier. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc
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Hamish 29 Dec, 2012
Quoting: "mirv, post: 7371, member: 214"You can set an environment variable to have TF2 use something other than pulseaudio. I can't remember what exactly - on holidays and can't check right now - but you should be able to google it, check the steam forums, or something.


Do you mean something game specific or just an SDL command such as "export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa"?

Not using Steam or anything, but just though I might save some of you some time.
Xpander 29 Dec, 2012
Quoting: "Bumadar, post: 7385, member: 93"xpander, sorry but it does not, i have it running without root and without anything in /bin etc

yes u do because u just extract the package and resolve ur dependency hell by hand. but thats not the way it will work in the future.
this thread was about that steam is now focusing to make the packages available for other distros as well.
currently all non ubuntu based distros had to do a lot of work to get it working.
specially on 64bit systems.
berarma 30 Dec, 2012
They're doing it the hard and wrong way. Someone should tell them to stop messing with the package system and do their things in their own directory, don't mess with anyone's system or you'll get in trouble. Desura is an example in the good direction, although it can improve. Moreover, any game does it better than Steam.

It seems they didn't hire any GNU/Linux experts, or they aren't hearing what they might have to say. The package system is for the distribution maintainers, it isn't nor shouldn't be a place for anyone to dump their garbage. I'm using GNU/Linux for several years and I've jumped from wanting distribution native packages to avoid them like the plague, and there're good reasons.

They want to control the games, now it seems they want to control your computer too. They'll install, upgrade and remove packages for you. Is that a disease? Ugh...
Hamish 30 Dec, 2012
Quoting: "berarma, post: 7396, member: 131"It seems they didn't hire any GNU/Linux experts, or they aren't hearing what they might have to say.


I agree with much of what you are saying, but they actually have quite qualified hands on their team such as Sam Lantinga and Forest Hale.
mirv 30 Dec, 2012
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Quoting: "Hamish, post: 7387, member: 6"Do you mean something game specific or just an SDL command such as "export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa"?

Not using Steam or anything, but just though I might save some of you some time.


Yep, that's the one. At least it looks about right. Cheers.
berarma 30 Dec, 2012
Quoting: "Hamish, post: 7401, member: 6"I agree with much of what you are saying, but they actually have quite qualified hands on their team such as Sam Lantinga and Forest Hale.


I'm sure they have them working on other things more related to programming, or I would think they aren't so qualified when it comes to software distribution.

For now, Desura and HB are my preferred game distribution channels, even with their mistakes. I can buy DRM-free games and they don't mess with my system in unpredictable ways.

I'm pretty worried this ends like some much other half-cooked tries to get gaming to GNU/Linux, saying the platform isn't ready when it's them doing things plainly wrong.
Bumadar 9 Jan, 2013
as of today update (8-jan) I am now getting:

couldnt start bootstrap and couldn't reinstall from /usr/lib/steam/boostraplinux_ubuntu12_32.tar.xz, steam still starts but this one worries me a bit, why oh why so hardcoded. Since can't use .deb I simply installed Steam in a home directory as normal user, worked flawless still this.
berarma 9 Jan, 2013
I tried to share my thoughts in the Valve thread but I can't create an account because I can't install Steam. Please someone, tell me I'm wrong.

The recipe is simple, make a tar.gz with the Steam client and all needed libraries for both the Steam client and the games, including libraries needed by other libraries, everything down the software stack until you reach the kernel (excluded) or SDL (included). Anything under SDL is conveniently abstracted so it shouldn't matter what it is, and the kernel is completely binary compatible backwards. The Valve software would interface with the outer system thru SDL and the kernel. That's what SDL what's meant for, abstracting system details. Games developers wouldn't ever need to worry about distribution and version their game will run on, just worry about the library set Valve is providing. And our system and packages would be kept safe and under our control.

It'll be funny seeing how hard they can fail by messing with package managers and dependencies on multiple always changing distributions. Hehehe... :rolleyes:
Bumadar 10 Jan, 2013
https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/631

seems next update will sort of fix it a bit, as it will copy the bootstrap into the steam directory so no longer hardcoded with a path.

but yes, like you I wonder why they going down this road, lets hope they slowly notice it was not smart.

and software in general should not need root to be installed, there is no reason for it, and if you want to start package kit to add dependencies you can do a gui sudo box and explain why/what you want to do
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