There's been a huge amount of talk recently about switching to Linux for gaming, thanks to the challenge from Linus Tech Tips (YouTube) where two of their people tried the full-switch but it didn't go so well for Linus and Pop!_OS. Now, System76 are trying to improve.
It was pretty unfortunate that as Linus was going to install Steam, Pop's packaging had some sort of breakage that wasn't quite picked up and Linus ended up hosing the Pop desktop install. You can easily do some finger-pointing on where the real blame lies here from Pop not ensuring a major package like Steam works correctly before it's pushed to users, to Linus ignoring the (what should be) pretty-clear warning message:
The point remains the same regardless, and throwing around pointy-fingers isn't really helpful. It shouldn't have happened, it's as simple as that. Loading up the Pop!_Shop GUI and telling it to install Steam should have been enough. Going by what System76 engineer Jeremy Soller said on Twitter, the cause was this:
"For some reason, an i386 version of a package was never published on Launchpad. Steam being an i386 package, when trying to install it, it had to downgrade that package to the Ubuntu version to resolve dependencies, which removed Pop!_OS packages.".
One thing System76 has now done to prevent such almighty breakage in future, is to patch APT (the package manager), in Pop to prevent users being able to see the "Yes, do as I say!" prompt by default. Unless, they add a special file to actually enable it. On top of that, another System76 developer Jacob Kauffmann mentioned on GitHub their plans to "make further improvements" to the Pop!_Shop GUI so that "users don't have to fall back to the terminal in the first place". Sounds like lessons learned, and hopefully smooth sailing for users in future.
Update: a new version of APT brings in its own improvements for this.