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The latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey is out for June 2022, putting the Linux user share at one of its highest ever points and likely thanks to the rise of the Steam Deck and SteamOS. As shown on our dedicated Steam Tracker, it's been trending upwards for quite a while but this latest figure is a pretty good showing.

As of June 2022, Linux is sitting at 1.18% of the Steam user share.

Now, that doesn't sound like a lot on paper, but it puts the monthly active Linux user count at around 1,557,600 at least (based on when Valve last gave the monthly active user count).

Here's the breakdown of the most popular Linux systems:

  • "Arch Linux" 64 bit 11.42% -1.43%
  • "Manjaro Linux" 64 bit 10.11% -0.98%
  • Ubuntu 22.04 LTS 64 bit 9.90% +1.86%
  • Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS 64 bit 9.73% -2.02%
  • "SteamOS Holo" 64 bit 7.58% +2.35%
  • Linux Mint 20.3 64 bit 6.45% +0.48%
  • Description:Freedesktop.org 21.08.14 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit 6.05% +6.05%
  • Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS 64 bit 4.79% +4.79%
  • Other 33.96% -11.11%

So you can pretty plainly see that the Steam Deck with SteamOS is already rising up the ranks, as one of the most popular Linux gaming systems on Steam's survey with it already making up well over 7% of Linux players which is a nice increase from the 5% from May 2022.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial, Meta, Steam
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64 comments
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Quoting: PenglingMan, that's so weird to me - I've got Steam installed on three machines, and I've never had the survey at all! I'm a relatively recent Steam user though (my account's not even a year old yet)
I also didn't have the survey for a few months and the got it literally every time in a short period. I am one of the few who got the survey on a non-Deck device running SteamOS (winesapOS to be exact) which are %0.01 of Linux users.
denyasis 3 Jul
Quoting: Pengling
Quoting: denyasisI wouldn't be surprised if it does a survey on first run (which is ancedotally consistent with my experience with Steam; survey on new installation.)
Man, that's so weird to me - I've got Steam installed on three machines, and I've never had the survey at all! I'm a relatively recent Steam user though (my account's not even a year old yet), having returned to PC-gaming after an extremely long absence (I left it behind when you could still buy big-box games from Toys 'R' Us and Woolworths, and when Electronics Boutique UK still existed), so I wonder if that's a factor?

That's so odd. Well I stand corrected. I will say, everytime I've distro hoped, the first time I've run steam, I got the survey. Most recently a few months ago, when I switched to Manjaro on my desktop and laptop. I just assumed it was a first run thing on a new install.

I guess, with the Decks, it could just be harvesting it all in the background anyway. Not like steam doesn't phone home, I think it would be silly to think it doesn't send the same user data along with it.

Quoting: udekmp69
Quoting: denyasisQuestion, I'm not familiar with snap/flatpack, but if it keeps everything in the container, does that mean it limits what it can access outside the container? Like prevents Steam from reading the rest of my /home partition for example?

Yes. Although different applications have different permissions by default, I would recommend installing flatseal to a get a good GUI for permissions of each application including Steam. Steam's flatpak default permission cannot see anything other than ~/.var/app/com.valvesoftware.Steam/. You can give it an additional permission to see a 'steamlibrary' folder on a secondary hard drive as well. Flatpak has room for improvement but I generally prefer it for closed source applications if it works okay with it.

Thanks! I'll have to check it out. Steam lost a little bit of it's luster for me recently when it wouldn't allow me to start a game unless I let it upload the contents on the game directory to Valve (I had installed some mods manually). Kinda made me wonder what else it uploads and goes through.
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: mphuZIt's a shame that Valve hasn't released the SteamOS desktop distribution yet.
And even the new Big Picture is missing in the beta version of Steam.
We need a Steam Controller 2 to properly use the Deck's UI on the desktop... we are missing, at the very least, tge Steam button and the one that brings up tge overlay.

There is a way to use the DeckUI on the desktop now, with just normal Steam.
I would be all in for an update of the Steam Controller. Will it happen, though? Apparently the original Steam Controller didn't sell enough for Valve to bother keeping it on the market, so I don't know how eager they are to bring it back.
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: Mountain ManGreat for Valve and the Steam Deck, but what does it really mean for Linux? It reminds me of the Android situation, where everybody who has an Android phone in their pocket is technically using Linux, but that in and of itself does nothing to advance the cause for Linux.
I think there is a pretty simple, key distinction here: Programs written to run on Android will not run on desktop Linux. But programs written to run on SteamOS, or for that matter programs SteamOS arranges to run even though they were written for Windows, do.
So. Improving the software ecosystem for Android does not improve it for Linux, but improving the software ecosystem for SteamOS does.
How many people buying a Steam Deck but have never used Linux are going to bother trying to install Linux on their desktop based on their experience with the Steam Deck? My guess is very few because it's a console that does everything it can to hide the operating system from the average user (although it does give "power users" more freedom than a typical console).
mphuZ 3 Jul
Quoting: michaldybczakWe already have community OSes like Chimera OS....

Somethin' I really don't need. All these systems "from the community" had decades to gain a foothold. None of them met expectations. We need a good system that is popular and trusted by the developer (Valve). Valve has it all.

Quoting: michaldybczakSaid that, I don't think that releasing SteamOS for PCs will happen or if it happens, it may not be a good thing

No need to overestimate. This is the same Linux as other distributions. It's just that SteamOS and its components are not finished, which proves the postponement of the Steam Deck release and large-scale patches for SteamOS and Big Picture.

Valve should provide SteamOS to users. It will be an amazing experience and will give a big boost to Linux.
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Quoting: Mountain Man
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: mphuZIt's a shame that Valve hasn't released the SteamOS desktop distribution yet.
And even the new Big Picture is missing in the beta version of Steam.
We need a Steam Controller 2 to properly use the Deck's UI on the desktop... we are missing, at the very least, tge Steam button and the one that brings up tge overlay.

There is a way to use the DeckUI on the desktop now, with just normal Steam.
I would be all in for an update of the Steam Controller. Will it happen, though? Apparently the original Steam Controller didn't sell enough for Valve to bother keeping it on the market, so I don't know how eager they are to bring it back.

My thoughts on the cancelation of the Steam Controller... was not based on sales (or lack of) but so they could focus solely on the Deck. If you look at earlt prototypes of the SC, it almost looked exactly like the Steam Deck. Touch screen and all. I think essentially what happened was when they were first designing the controller they wanted a sort of controller / streaming system that could connect to your PC to play games.

Look at all the things they have done toward this, the Steam Link, Controller and now Deck. If they could have combined the Link and Controller together, it could have been a semi-portable system, not unlike what the Deck became. The Steam Deck just happens to have been able to be developed because AMD is now capable of making very small form factor systems, due to all of their experience from years of designing consoles.
CatKiller 3 Jul
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Quoting: Mountain ManHow many people buying a Steam Deck but have never used Linux are going to bother trying to install Linux on their desktop based on their experience with the Steam Deck? My guess is very few because it's a console that does everything it can to hide the operating system from the average user (although it does give "power users" more freedom than a typical console).
More than would without it. We knew how great Linux is, but Windows users didn't believe it. Now they can see for themselves without having to go through the trouble and learning curve of installing it first.
Quoting: mphuZ
Quoting: michaldybczakWe already have community OSes like Chimera OS....

Somethin' I really don't need. All these systems "from the community" had decades to gain a foothold. None of them met expectations.
SteamOS isn't growing fast because it "meets expectations", it's growing fast because it "has a hardware platform it comes preinstalled on". Much like Pop!OS. It's big-selling hardware with Linux preinstalled that we've been really needing, not Linux distros with some sort of corporate "royal jelly".

Plenty of "community" type distros are very good. I personally am very fond of Mint. As to Chimera, previously known as GamerOS, I haven't tried it but lots of people speak highly of it, and as far as I can tell there are nifty things it does that SteamOS doesn't. Well, and things SteamOS does that GamerOS doesn't, to be sure--but if neither of them had their own hardware platform, I'm not convinced that there would be huge grounds to prefer one over the other.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 3 July 2022 at 10:02 pm UTC
WorMzy 3 Jul
Quoting: mphuZValve should provide SteamOS to users. It will be an amazing experience and will give a big boost to Linux.

Just like SteamOS v1 and v2 did?
denyasis 3 Jul
Quoting: Mountain Man
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: Mountain ManGreat for Valve and the Steam Deck, but what does it really mean for Linux? It reminds me of the Android situation, where everybody who has an Android phone in their pocket is technically using Linux, but that in and of itself does nothing to advance the cause for Linux.
I think there is a pretty simple, key distinction here: Programs written to run on Android will not run on desktop Linux. But programs written to run on SteamOS, or for that matter programs SteamOS arranges to run even though they were written for Windows, do.
So. Improving the software ecosystem for Android does not improve it for Linux, but improving the software ecosystem for SteamOS does.
How many people buying a Steam Deck but have never used Linux are going to bother trying to install Linux on their desktop based on their experience with the Steam Deck? My guess is very few because it's a console that does everything it can to hide the operating system from the average user (although it does give "power users" more freedom than a typical console).

I tend to agree with this sentiment. Yes a few may try out Linux from their Steam Deck experience, and even fewer will stick with it. I worry It may even have the opposite effect. The default deck experience is highly currated, polished and very nice. Half of those advanced options we've seen demo'd on this site and others, I don't know how to do on my desktop without looking it up. People trying Linux for the first, expecting a Deck like experience, might be highly disappointed (why won't Steam update my system?!? Packages?!? Command line!?!? 🤪)

The nice thing is that most main line distros are highly polished, and some come with Steam. If that's all you want, that's cool, but then there's no reason to move away from SteamOS (when released, ofc). I hope it causes more people to be interested in Linux, but I'm not expecting it.


Last edited by denyasis on 3 July 2022 at 10:42 pm UTC
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