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If you're using Arch Linux or anything based on it (or other rolling update distributions) and you've recently run updates that included freetype2, you might unfortunately notice that Steam is now quite broken.

When loading any part of the Steam client that depends on web views, it will just give you a rather unhelpful black screen. This is obviously a big problem and makes it all quite unusable. So what can you do? Well, if you're comfortable with your package managing you could downgrade freetype2 back to version 2.10.4 but that can then end up breaking future updates that depend on the newer version. Valve are hot on the issue though and they've already put up a fresh Steam Beta with a fix.

Valve contractor Timothee Besset commented on GitHub to say it's "Today's beta update comes with a fairly significant change to the way we setup the runtime environment for the web views. Please test that this addresses the issue on all affected distributions!". So if you're seeing the black-screen issues, try out the latest Steam Beta. Doing so is easy by just loading up Steam settings and then look for the red boxed area shown below:

Arch Linux does at times have issues like this, because updates are constantly rolling so issues end up being found much quicker - which also means by the time other distributions upgrade (like Ubuntu every 6 months) the issues are likely solved by then.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Apps, Beta, Meta, Steam
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Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: RaabenI kinda brace myself since some people love to point fingers at things like this and claim that Arch is a bad/buggy/difficult distro. I ran it for many years and something big like this happened maybe once or twice a year and always had a simple fix; it's darn solid. I am pretty sure I had more problems with my distro of choice's last upgrade than my entire Arch days..

I don't know Arch but tu put things into perspective, i'm using Debian, and they have broken grub two times this two last years (on stable), leaving users who have updated at the wrong time with an unbootable device without any warning (have to use another install or live cd, and reinstall grub on the disk).
Of course, this problem has been spotted in derivatives (Ubuntu, Mint...)
So yeah... sh** happens, even on the most stable distros (and on Windows too, of course).
Huh, do you have something weird there? I've been running stable for decades, and haven't had grub break. Also, I mean why would you reboot unless you've updated the kernel? :P

I think only users who have make an update at the wrong time have seen the issue (i hope the bug has been fixed rapidly, as reinstalling grub on the disk was sufficient).
But searching the web for a solution, i found other users with the problem, and one who has stated it was the second time (and it was for me too).
I don't remember the first issue, but the second is here https://www.google.com/search?q=grub_malloc+grub+update&source=lmns&bih=1013&biw=2144&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiKz9jFqeLyAhUI3OAKHXTDCVEQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA

Since that, i keep a old non-updated install on a small partition on another disk, with grub on it, to have another grub/install for rescue, if the same problem happens, i just boot this system, chroot into my main system, and reinstall grub on the main disk.

I must shut down my computer because it is in the same room than my bed :p


Last edited by DebianUser on 3 September 2021 at 8:03 am UTC
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Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: RaabenI kinda brace myself since some people love to point fingers at things like this and claim that Arch is a bad/buggy/difficult distro. I ran it for many years and something big like this happened maybe once or twice a year and always had a simple fix; it's darn solid. I am pretty sure I had more problems with my distro of choice's last upgrade than my entire Arch days..

I don't know Arch but tu put things into perspective, i'm using Debian, and they have broken grub two times this two last years (on stable), leaving users who have updated at the wrong time with an unbootable device without any warning (have to use another install or live cd, and reinstall grub on the disk).
Of course, this problem has been spotted in derivatives (Ubuntu, Mint...)
So yeah... sh** happens, even on the most stable distros (and on Windows too, of course).
Huh, do you have something weird there? I've been running stable for decades, and haven't had grub break. Also, I mean why would you reboot unless you've updated the kernel? :P

I think only users who have make an update at the wrong time have seen the issue (i hope the bug has been fixed rapidly, as reinstalling grub on the disk was sufficient).
But searching the web for a solution, i found other users with the problem, and one who has stated it was the second time (and it was for me too).
I don't remember the first issue, but the second is here https://www.google.com/search?q=grub_malloc+grub+update&source=lmns&bih=1013&biw=2144&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiKz9jFqeLyAhUI3OAKHXTDCVEQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA

Since that, i keep a old non-updated install on a small partition on another disk, with grub on it, to have another grub/install for rescue, if the same problem happens, i just boot this system, chroot into my main system, and reinstall grub on the main disk.

I must shut down my computer because it is in the same room than my bed :p
Speaking of rescue modes... I am going to give a shout out to Red Hat here. I was playing around with RHEL 8 in a VM to see how it stood up as a desktop / workstation. I did something and then probably shut down before it had finished, so it was in a weird state. But yet choosing the rescue mode from the command line would boot up a full Gnome desktop! I was quite impressed.

Turns out I was playing with enabling fips mode, and it had gone a little sideways, and I just needed to run the command again so it could finish that. But I thought the rescue mode having a sort of 'snapshot' to get a bootable system with full GUI was quite impressive.
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: RaabenI kinda brace myself since some people love to point fingers at things like this and claim that Arch is a bad/buggy/difficult distro. I ran it for many years and something big like this happened maybe once or twice a year and always had a simple fix; it's darn solid. I am pretty sure I had more problems with my distro of choice's last upgrade than my entire Arch days..

I don't know Arch but tu put things into perspective, i'm using Debian, and they have broken grub two times this two last years (on stable), leaving users who have updated at the wrong time with an unbootable device without any warning (have to use another install or live cd, and reinstall grub on the disk).
Of course, this problem has been spotted in derivatives (Ubuntu, Mint...)
So yeah... sh** happens, even on the most stable distros (and on Windows too, of course).
Huh, do you have something weird there? I've been running stable for decades, and haven't had grub break. Also, I mean why would you reboot unless you've updated the kernel? :P

I think only users who have make an update at the wrong time have seen the issue (i hope the bug has been fixed rapidly, as reinstalling grub on the disk was sufficient).
But searching the web for a solution, i found other users with the problem, and one who has stated it was the second time (and it was for me too).
I don't remember the first issue, but the second is here https://www.google.com/search?q=grub_malloc+grub+update&source=lmns&bih=1013&biw=2144&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiKz9jFqeLyAhUI3OAKHXTDCVEQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA

Since that, i keep a old non-updated install on a small partition on another disk, with grub on it, to have another grub/install for rescue, if the same problem happens, i just boot this system, chroot into my main system, and reinstall grub on the main disk.

I must shut down my computer because it is in the same room than my bed :p
Speaking of rescue modes... I am going to give a shout out to Red Hat here. I was playing around with RHEL 8 in a VM to see how it stood up as a desktop / workstation. I did something and then probably shut down before it had finished, so it was in a weird state. But yet choosing the rescue mode from the command line would boot up a full Gnome desktop! I was quite impressed.

Turns out I was playing with enabling fips mode, and it had gone a little sideways, and I just needed to run the command again so it could finish that. But I thought the rescue mode having a sort of 'snapshot' to get a bootable system with full GUI was quite impressive.

Yeah rescue mode is pretty helpful in some cases... but not when updates are breaking grub itself :s
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Quoting: denyasis
Quoting: slaapliedjeWasn't this in the FreeType2 package, where the break was?
My understanding was the opposite, but I must admit I could be wrong. I'm self taught, so I could be reading it the wrong way, but I figure if Valve has to patch Steam to work, it's likely not a Free type bug, right?

Edit: Looking at the github again, it appears Valve was shipping steam with libraries that were too out of date. Am I reading that right?
Oh maybe? Valve definitely needs to walk a fine line between compatible with older Linux set ups vs using newer libraries. Though as it's mostly using it's own static libraries within it's own tree (separate from if it's sandboxed by flatpak/snap, which causes other strange issues) then it should remain fairly compatible. I thought the problem in this case was that Arch had a new Freetype2 lib, and it's one that Steam does use from the system, and there was some compatibility issue there, so they had to update their package either to include it's own freetype library or make it work with the system's. But then I only read the summary here, and didn't go digging into their github.
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Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: RaabenI kinda brace myself since some people love to point fingers at things like this and claim that Arch is a bad/buggy/difficult distro. I ran it for many years and something big like this happened maybe once or twice a year and always had a simple fix; it's darn solid. I am pretty sure I had more problems with my distro of choice's last upgrade than my entire Arch days..

I don't know Arch but tu put things into perspective, i'm using Debian, and they have broken grub two times this two last years (on stable), leaving users who have updated at the wrong time with an unbootable device without any warning (have to use another install or live cd, and reinstall grub on the disk).
Of course, this problem has been spotted in derivatives (Ubuntu, Mint...)
So yeah... sh** happens, even on the most stable distros (and on Windows too, of course).
Huh, do you have something weird there? I've been running stable for decades, and haven't had grub break. Also, I mean why would you reboot unless you've updated the kernel? :P

I think only users who have make an update at the wrong time have seen the issue (i hope the bug has been fixed rapidly, as reinstalling grub on the disk was sufficient).
But searching the web for a solution, i found other users with the problem, and one who has stated it was the second time (and it was for me too).
I don't remember the first issue, but the second is here https://www.google.com/search?q=grub_malloc+grub+update&source=lmns&bih=1013&biw=2144&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiKz9jFqeLyAhUI3OAKHXTDCVEQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA

Since that, i keep a old non-updated install on a small partition on another disk, with grub on it, to have another grub/install for rescue, if the same problem happens, i just boot this system, chroot into my main system, and reinstall grub on the main disk.

I must shut down my computer because it is in the same room than my bed :p
Speaking of rescue modes... I am going to give a shout out to Red Hat here. I was playing around with RHEL 8 in a VM to see how it stood up as a desktop / workstation. I did something and then probably shut down before it had finished, so it was in a weird state. But yet choosing the rescue mode from the command line would boot up a full Gnome desktop! I was quite impressed.

Turns out I was playing with enabling fips mode, and it had gone a little sideways, and I just needed to run the command again so it could finish that. But I thought the rescue mode having a sort of 'snapshot' to get a bootable system with full GUI was quite impressive.

Yeah rescue mode is pretty helpful in some cases... but not when updates are breaking grub itself :s
Ha, that's when liveCDs come into play :) Speaking of grub, it should be lunch time....
I thought this problem was on my end so I've been using Big Picture instead till I get around to fixing it. Thanks!
14 4 Sep
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Can't say I've hit this problem. I might be in a sweet spot based on when I run updates. Nice to see the news, though, in case I run into it.

Funny but also sad that we started defending Arch before anyone even attacked. Arch is popular enough. We don't need to evangelize! It won't be cool anymore if it's mainstream!
Faalhaas 4 Sep
Started Steam today. Got the black screen.
Switching to Beta fixed Steam for me, as expected.

First rule of Arch Linux, tell everyone you use Arch Linux:
And as for the discussion on Arch. Been using it for years, after using several other distro's. Besides the detailed documentation, Arch let's me install ONLY the software I want from scratch, and yet still WORKS (including up-to-date software). Haven't found a better distro for personal use, but always open to suggestions. :)


Last edited by Faalhaas on 4 September 2021 at 12:43 pm UTC
riidom 4 Sep
Just noticed I have a steam update waiting, and tested it. Release notes in the updater show up again. That is with Steam beta on Kubuntu. Just in case someone still reading this :)
Rob-Retro 5 Sep
Manjaro (Stable) got updated and now has this problem, Steam Beta fixed it, so thanks for the heads up:)
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