From ArchWiki
Revision as of 13:41, 30 October 2013 by Lonaowna (Talk | contribs) (Starting Steam: merge notes)

Jump to: navigation, search

Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text

Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary end

From Wikipedia:

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses.

Native Steam on Linux

  • Arch Linux is not officially supported.
  • Because the Steam client is a 32-bit application, you will need to enable the multilib repository if you have a 64-bit system. It may also make sense to install multilib-devel to provide some important multilib libraries. You also most likely need to install the 32-bit version of your graphics driver to run Steam.

Steam can be installed with the package steam, available in the official repositories. If you have a 64-bit system, enable the multilib repository first.

Steam is not supported on this distribution. As such some fixes are needed on the users part to get things functioning properly:

  • Several games have dependencies which may be missing from your system. If a game fails to launch (often without error messages) then make sure all of the libraries listed in Steam/Game-specific troubleshooting are installed.


  • In addition to being documented here, any bug/fix/error should be, if not already, reported on Valve's bug tracker on their GitHub page.
  • Connection problems may occur when using DD-WRT with peer-to-peer traffic filtering.

GUI problems with KDE

Valve GitHub issue 594

If you are using KDE and you have problems with the GUI (such as lag or random crashes), in KDE system settings, go to Workspace Appearance and Behaviour > Desktop Effects > Advanced. Change "Compositing type" from "XRender" to "OpenGL".

The close button only minimizes the window

Valve GitHub issue 1025

To close the Steam window (and remove it from the taskbar) when you press x, but keep Steam running in the tray, set the environment variable STEAM_FRAME_FORCE_CLOSE to 1. You can do this by launching Steam using the following command.


Flash not working on 64-bit systems

Steam Support article

First ensure lib32-flashplugin is installed. It should be working at this point, if not create a local Steam Flash plugin folder:

$ mkdir ~/.steam/bin32/plugins/

and set a symbolic link to the global lib32 flash plugin file in your upper new folder

$ ln -s /usr/lib32/mozilla/plugins/ ~/.steam/bin32/plugins/

Text is corrupt or missing

The Steam Support instructions for Windows seem to work on Linux also: Simply download and install them (copying to ~/.fonts/ works at least).

Error on some games: black textures/S3TC support is missing

Install the following dependencies:

SetLocale('en_US.UTF-8') fails at game startup

Uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 in /etc/locale.gen and then run locale-gen as root.

Launching games with custom commands, such as Bumblebee/Primus

Steam has fortunately added support for launching games using your own custom command. To do so, navigate to the Library page, right click on the selected game, click Properties, and Set Launch Options. Steam replaces the tag %command% with the command it actually wishes to run. For example, to launch Team Fortress 2 with primusrun and at resolution 1920x1080, you would enter:

primusrun %command% -w 1920 -h 1080

If you are running the Linux-ck kernel, you may have some success in reducing overall latencies and improving performance by launching the game in SCHED_ISO (low latency, avoid choking CPU) via schedtool

# schedtool -I -e %command% other arguments

Killing standalone compositors when launching games

Further to this, utilising the %command% switch, you can kill standalone compositors (such as Xcompmgr or Compton) - which can cause lag and tearing in some games on some systems - and relaunch them after the game ends by adding the following to your game's launch options.

 killall compton && %command%; nohup compton &

Replace compton in the above command with whatever your compositor is. You can also add -options to %command% or compton, of course.

Steam will latch on to any processes launched after %command% and your Steam status will show as in game. So in this example, we run the compositor through nohup so it is not attached to Steam (it will keep running if you close Steam) and follow it with an ampersand so that the line of commands ends, clearing your Steam status.

Using native runtime

Steam, by default, ships with a copy of every library it uses, packaged within itself, so that games can launch without issue. This can be a resource hog, and the slightly out-of-date libraries they package may be missing important features (Notably, the OpenAL version they ship lacks HRTF support). To use your own system libraries, you can run Steam with:


However, if you're missing any libraries Steam makes use of, this will fail to launch properly. An easy way to find the missing libraries is to run the following commands:

 cd ~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32
 LD_LIBRARY_PATH=".:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}" ldd $(file *|sed '/ELF/!d;s/:.*//g')|grep 'not found'|sort|uniq

Note that the libraries will have to be 32-bit, which means you may have to download some from the AUR if on x86_64, such as NetworkManager.

Once you've done this, run steam again with STEAM_RUNTIME=0 steam and verify it's not loading anything outside of the handful of steam support libraries:

 cat /proc/`pidof steam`/maps|sed '/\.local/!d;s/.*  //g'|sort|uniq

Skins for Steam

The Steam interface can be fully customized by copying its various interface files in its skins directory and modifying them.

Steam skin manager

The process of applying a skin to Steam can be greatly simplified using steam-skin-managerAUR from the AUR. The package also comes with a hacked version of the Steam launcher which allows the window manager to draw its borders on the Steam window.

As a result, skins for Steam will come in two flavors, one with and one without window buttons. The skin manager will prompt you whether you use the hacked version or not, and will automatically apply the theme corresponding to your GTK+ theme if it is found. You can of course still apply another skin if you want.

The package ships with two themes for the default Ubuntu themes, Ambiance and Radiance. A Faience theme is under development and already has its own package on the AUR steam-skin-faience-gitAUR.

Steam on Wine

Install Wine as described in Wine.

Install the required Microsoft fonts: ttf-microsoft-tahomaAUR and ttf-ms-fontsAUR from the AUR. You can also install these fonts through Winetricks: winetricks corefonts.

Note: If you have access to Windows discs, you may want to install ttf-ms-win8AUR or ttf-win7-fontsAUR instead.


Download and run the Steam installer from It is a .msi file so you have to start it with msiexec:

$ msiexec /i SteamInstall.msi

Starting Steam

On x86:

$ wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam/Steam.exe

On x86_64:

$ wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe
  • If you are using an Nvidia card through Bumblebee, you should prefix this command with optirun.
  • }}

    You should consider making an alias to easily start Steam (and put it in your shell's rc file), example:

    alias steam-wine='wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe >/dev/null 2>&1 &'



    Consider disabling wine debugging output by adding this to your shell rc file:

    export WINEDEBUG=-all

    or, just add it to your steam-wine alias to only disable it for Steam:

    alias steam-wine='WINEDEBUG=-all wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe >/dev/null 2>&1 &'

    Additionally, Source games rely on a paged pool memory size specification for audio, and WINE by default does not have this set. To set it:

    $ wine reg add "HKLM\\System\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Session Manager\\Memory Management\\" /v PagedPoolSize /t REG_DWORD /d 402653184 /f

    Source engine launch options

    Go to Properties > Set Launch Options, e.g.:

    -console -dxlevel 90 -width 1280 -height 1024
    • console
    Activate the console in the application to change detailed applications settings.
    • dxlevel
    Set the application's DirectX level, e.g. 90 for DirectX Version 9.0. It is recommended to use the video card's DirectX version to prevent crashes. See the official Valve Software wiki for details.
    • width and height
    Set the screen resolution. In some cases the graphic settings are not saved in the application and the applications always starts in the default resolution.

    Please refer to for a complete list of launch options.

    Using a pre-existing Steam installation

    If you have a shared drive with Windows, or already have a Steam installation somewhere else, you can simply symlink the Steam directory to ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Steam/ . However, be sure to do all the previous steps in this wiki. Confirm Steam launches and logs into your account, then do this:

    $ cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/ 
    $ mv Steam/ Steam.backup/   (or you can just delete the directory)
    $ ln -s /mnt/windows_partition/Program\ Files/Steam/
    • If you have trouble starting Steam after symlinking the entire Steam folder, try linking only the steamapps subdirectory in your existing wine steam folder instead.
    • If you still have trouble starting games, use # mount --bind /path/to/SteamApps ~/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps -ouser=your-user-name , this is the only thing that worked for me with TF2.

    Steam links in Firefox, Chrome, etc

    To make steam:// urls in your browser connect with Steam in Wine, there are several things you can do. One involves making steam url-handler keys in gconf, another involves making protocol files for KDE, others involve tinkering with desktop files or the Local State file for chromium. These seem to only work in firefox or under certain desktop configurations. One way to do it that works more globally is using mimeo, a tool made by Xyne (an Arch TU) which follows. For another working and less invasive (but firefox-only) way, see the first post here .

    • Make /usr/bin/steam with your favorite editor and paste:
    # Steam wrapper script
    exec wine "c:\\program files\\steam\\steam.exe" "$@"
    • Make it executable:
    # chmod +x /usr/bin/steam
    • Create ~/.config/mimeo.conf with your favorite editor and paste:
    /usr/bin/steam %u
    • Lastly, open /usr/bin/xdg-open in your favorite editor. Go to the detectDE() section and change it to look as follows:
        #if [ x"$KDE_FULL_SESSION" = x"true" ]; then DE=kde;
        #elif [ x"$GNOME_DESKTOP_SESSION_ID" != x"" ]; then DE=gnome;
        #elif $(dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.DBus /org/freedesktop/DBus org.freedesktop.DBus.GetNameOwner string:org.gnome.SessionManager > /dev/null 2>&1) ; then DE=gnome;
        #elif xprop -root _DT_SAVE_MODE 2> /dev/null | grep ' = \"xfce4\"$' >/dev/null 2>&1; then DE=xfce;
        #elif [ x"$DESKTOP_SESSION" == x"LXDE" ]; then DE=lxde;
        #else DE=""
    • Restart the browser and you should be good to go. In Chromium, you cannot enter a steam:// link in the url box like you can with Firefox. The forum link above has a steam://open/friends link to try if needed.
    • If you have any problems with file associations after doing this, simply revert to regular xdg-utils and undo your changes to /usr/bin/xdg-open.
    • Those on other distributions that stumble upon this page, see the link above for firefox specific instructions. No easy way to get it working on Chromium on other distros exists.

    No text rendered problem

    If there is no text/font rendered when starting steam you should try to start steam with the parameter -no-dwrite. Read more in the forum thread about it.

    wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe -no-dwrite
    Note: It is important to note that although this method does currently work, It is not persistent if Steam relaunches automatically (i.e. update), or if you follow a URL link.
    • This can be achieved by going through winecfg > Libraries and setting the "dwrite" override to "disable"


    • $ wine reg add 'HKCU\Software\Valve\Steam' /v DWriteEnable /t REG_DWORD /d 00000000

    See also