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Steam on Linux - Disappointing


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Posted

Disclaimer: This is basically a rant thread.

So I've been using the Steam Linux beta for a few weeks now, and I've come to following conclusion: The Steam Linux beta sucks.

It's not like I don't appreciate what they're doing, I mean after all, Valve are the only publisher that's really taking Linux (except they're not, I'll discuss that later), but still, the execution of the whole thing is farcical.

First of all, why is the client 32-bit only? I honestly can't remember that last time a Linux application came with only a 32-bit binary. This decision means that everyone on an x64 Linux build has to install 32-bit libraries in order to run Steam. Why not just provide a 64-bit binary and save us the bloat of having to install multilib libraries purely for Steam? I can't imagine that the difference between x86 and x64 would be so much that it'd be impossible to develop both at the same time.

Second, what's with the auto-update process? Most Linux distros have pretty solid package management. So why not just leave it to the package managers? This problem is SOLVED in Linux. Why use some [****-poor] auto-update process when mature platforms already exist for exactly this problem?

Third, why does the client feel compelled to screw with my cursor. This is probably a problem with my setup rather than Steam, but it's the only app on my system that insists on reversing my mouse cursor. Oddness.

Fourth, and probably most importantly, where's the quality control in the games? Of all the games that are "available for Linux", in my experience about 50% are 'private betas' that need a password to play or simply don't install. To make things worse, it doesn't actually tell you that when you buy the game, so you are at risk of buying a game you can't actually play. The funniest thing I find about this is that a lot of the games that don't work are also former Humble Bundle games, so I can play the game perfectly well without Steam, but then can't play the Steam version of the same game. What the hell is up with that?

This inconvenience is compounded by failures like, for example, SpaceChem trying to use apt to try and install dependencies on my Arch install (for those that don't know, that doesn't work), and including libraries that don't work on 64-bit installs. There are threads with distro-specific hacks to get games working, but why isn't Steam doing this for us? I don't expect them to cater to every OS, but they could at least give us some hints. Make the developers provide a list of dependencies, and then check against installed libraries to determine which ones I need to install to get a game to work, and then tell me.

The games overall seem to be the 32-bit versions of the games (which I guess makes sense since the client is too), so I'm installing a lot of 32-bit libs for all the games too. It's gradually turning my Arch install into a glorious mess of libraries. Not really an issue per se, but an annoyance for someone like me who tries to keep a minimal install as much as possible.

I don't know, I guess this beta is giving me a bit of a bitter after-taste. They're touting it as the "Steam Linux beta", when in reality it should just be the "Steam Ubuntu Beta" since non-Ubuntu user's are pretty much out there on our own hacking it together to get it to work.

Overall, I'm finding more success playing games outside of Steam than I am within it. One of the best things about the Windows client is the convenience factor. On Linux I just get the overall impression we're testing the steam box client, and getting a buggy DRM client out of it. I don't think Valve are really taking Linux seriously like they're making out, they're just getting us to iron the bugs out of the client so they can release a bug-free console. Linux games will be a fortunate side effect of the Steam box, but not the primary focus IMO.

Not impressed.

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Posted

Sounds pretty mild, approximately 0% normal users care sbout dependancies unless it is causing a problem. It uses a few GBs of space, and that is the price you pay for the client and the games which need it. How big is your hard drive? 10GB? Maybe you need a bigger drive. It makes sense that they use their own auto update, standard update managers don't support the DRM which Steam needs to make their platform a reality, and using their own auto update to test their DRM laden update process makes sense.

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Posted

Valve have said that Ubuntu is currently the only supported distro, hence it trying to use apt-get to install stuff it needs. So it not working properly on Arch isn't surprising.

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Ubuntu community seems impressed with Steam Linux Beta, some of them are calling death to Windows gaming after the release of Steam client for linux

not sure other distro users need to install extra libs and some kind of hacking just to play Steam games...

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Posted

Sounds pretty mild, approximately 0% normal users care sbout dependancies unless it is causing a problem. It uses a few GBs of space, and that is the price you pay for the client and the games which need it. How big is your hard drive? 10GB? Maybe you need a bigger drive. It makes sense that they use their own auto update, standard update managers don't support the DRM which Steam needs to make their platform a reality, and using their own auto update to test their DRM laden update process makes sense.

I tested it myself and I'll reply to some of the OP's points.

1- 32-bit only FOR NOW. They are only starting, give em time. And for the record. Skype is 32-bit only as well. So was Chrome for a while. Give em time!

2- The auto-update makes sense. So what, you expect them to make a Pacman, Debian, RPM, ... -compliant update process? Nah. Makes sense they just use their own, as they have to keep complying with their contracts with the game makers.

Gotta give it time. It'll all settle.

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Posted

I tested it myself and I'll reply to some of the OP's points.

1- 32-bit only FOR NOW. They are only starting, give em time. And for the record. Skype is 32-bit only as well. So was Chrome for a while. Give em time!

2- The auto-update makes sense. So what, you expect them to make a Pacman, Debian, RPM, ... -compliant update process? Nah. Makes sense they just use their own, as they have to keep complying with their contracts with the game makers.

Gotta give it time. It'll all settle.

I don't care either way if they make Steam for Linux, but sometimes I think people forget what the hell a beta is.

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Posted

I use the Steam Linux Beta under Fedora and I have no issues at all.

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Posted

Disclaimer: This is basically a rant thread.

So I've been using the Steam Linux beta for a few weeks now, and I've come to following conclusion: The Steam Linux beta sucks.

It's not like I don't appreciate what they're doing, I mean after all, Valve are the only publisher that's really taking Linux (except they're not, I'll discuss that later), but still, the execution of the whole thing is farcical.

First of all, why is the client 32-bit only? I honestly can't remember that last time a Linux application came with only a 32-bit binary. This decision means that everyone on an x64 Linux build has to install 32-bit libraries in order to run Steam. Why not just provide a 64-bit binary and save us the bloat of having to install multilib libraries purely for Steam? I can't imagine that the difference between x86 and x64 would be so much that it'd be impossible to develop both at the same time.

Second, what's with the auto-update process? Most Linux distros have pretty solid package management. So why not just leave it to the package managers? This problem is SOLVED in Linux. Why use some [****-poor] auto-update process when mature platforms already exist for exactly this problem?

Third, why does the client feel compelled to screw with my cursor. This is probably a problem with my setup rather than Steam, but it's the only app on my system that insists on reversing my mouse cursor. Oddness.

Fourth, and probably most importantly, where's the quality control in the games? Of all the games that are "available for Linux", in my experience about 50% are 'private betas' that need a password to play or simply don't install. To make things worse, it doesn't actually tell you that when you buy the game, so you are at risk of buying a game you can't actually play. The funniest thing I find about this is that a lot of the games that don't work are also former Humble Bundle games, so I can play the game perfectly well without Steam, but then can't play the Steam version of the same game. What the hell is up with that?

This inconvenience is compounded by failures like, for example, SpaceChem trying to use apt to try and install dependencies on my Arch install (for those that don't know, that doesn't work), and including libraries that don't work on 64-bit installs. There are threads with distro-specific hacks to get games working, but why isn't Steam doing this for us? I don't expect them to cater to every OS, but they could at least give us some hints. Make the developers provide a list of dependencies, and then check against installed libraries to determine which ones I need to install to get a game to work, and then tell me.

The games overall seem to be the 32-bit versions of the games (which I guess makes sense since the client is too), so I'm installing a lot of 32-bit libs for all the games too. It's gradually turning my Arch install into a glorious mess of libraries. Not really an issue per se, but an annoyance for someone like me who tries to keep a minimal install as much as possible.

I don't know, I guess this beta is giving me a bit of a bitter after-taste. They're touting it as the "Steam Linux beta", when in reality it should just be the "Steam Ubuntu Beta" since non-Ubuntu user's are pretty much out there on our own hacking it together to get it to work.

Overall, I'm finding more success playing games outside of Steam than I am within it. One of the best things about the Windows client is the convenience factor. On Linux I just get the overall impression we're testing the steam box client, and getting a buggy DRM client out of it. I don't think Valve are really taking Linux seriously like they're making out, they're just getting us to iron the bugs out of the client so they can release a bug-free console. Linux games will be a fortunate side effect of the Steam box, but not the primary focus IMO.

Not impressed.

They have an Ubuntu repository for auto-updating, figured they'd have something similar for all the major distros, and other than them not having a whole lot of games ported yet, I've had no issues.

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Posted

I agree with some of your points, but I think other problems you're having are Arch-specific. For example, AFAIK multiarch is a Debian-specific (or, at the very least, spearheaded by Debian developers). Since it relies on APT to perform its magic, I guess that makes sense. Because Ubuntu 12.04+ is the only supported platform for Steam at the moment, Valve decided to take advantage of multiarch to run 32-bit binaries without requiring a plethora of 32-bit libraries to be installed on the system.

Since I run Steam on Debian Wheezy, multiarch is not a problem for me. In fact, it works very well. I can even use the precise repository to get Steam package updates. The only modification I had to make to my system was installing the latest libc from Debian's Experimental repository. (Ubuntu 12.04 shipped with libc 2.15, but Wheezy has libc 2.13.) The only thing that really disappoints me about Steam for Linux is that I can't run Portal 2 yet.

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"First of all, why is the client 32-bit only?"

Windows build is compiled for 32 bit. So what if you have to have some extra libraries, it really isn't much of a big deal. You'd need the libraries for the games anyway because chances are they're all compiled for 32 bit so it would be pointless having a 64 bit steam for linux at this time.

"Second, what's with the auto-update process"

Nothing is wrong with it. If you're saying use a package manager, how about we just dump .dpkg, .rpm and all other package mangement systems and just use arch's method - oh yeah, because each distro has it's own package manager which is very different from all other package managers so I'd rather have something that auto-updates than have to have red crap 9.0 installed.

"Fourth, and probably most importantly, where's the quality control in the games? Of all the games that are "available for Linux", in my experience about 50% are 'private betas' that need a password to play or simply don't install."

I've got a lot of linux games and they all work fine.

Store -> tab 'Linux Games' lists only linux games.

"SpaceChem trying to use apt to try and install dependencies"

Haven't seen that happen but agreed fully, should be up to steam and using config files that you set up yourself for your system/package management system.

I've been impressed with it since I got invited to the beta, seems fine to me all in all for a beta.

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Posted

It's still under beta, relax ppl...

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Posted

Sounds to me like Steam on Linux is a... "Giant Sadness".

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It's a beta. It is not a final release, it is not going to work correctly.

Don't complain that something which wasn't intended for your distro of choice doesn't work correctly. There are targeting a single architecture and distribution because it makes life a lot easier when they're trying to find the cause of a bug. It's not easy if everyone is running different software.

Stop treating software previews like they are the final product. Instead, go submit bug reports, tell them what's wrong, and what you'd like to see. That's what a beta is for, Valve is not Google.

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And of course Steam worked perfectly on windows when it was first released. Except for me apparently!

The bigger the user base becomes, the better the client will become.

Is there a list of 64 bit games available? Is there such an animal?

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Valve have said that Ubuntu is currently the only supported distro, hence it trying to use apt-get to install stuff it needs. So it not working properly on Arch isn't surprising.

Well, that is more of a Linux issue than it is with Steam.

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Sounds pretty mild, approximately 0% normal users care sbout dependancies unless it is causing a problem. It uses a few GBs of space, and that is the price you pay for the client and the games which need it. How big is your hard drive? 10GB? Maybe you need a bigger drive. It makes sense that they use their own auto update, standard update managers don't support the DRM which Steam needs to make their platform a reality, and using their own auto update to test their DRM laden update process makes sense.

relax and give it time broski. it's new and as all new things go.. there are inherent bumps in the road. I would like to see how you feel about it in say...oh... a year from now?

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relax and give it time broski. it's new and as all new things go.. there are inherent bumps in the road. I would like to see how you feel about it in say...oh... a year from now?

I think that you need to re-read my post.

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Don't you get the meaning of BETA?

post-30282-0-12774700-1358587787.png

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I just find it amusing that Gabe ranted about Windows 8 being a closed platform and then of all distro's to base development on chooses Ubuntu! I'm not going to slag Ubuntu off but it's guilty of a lot of what Windows 8 is apparently guilty of, has a store that sells games, it's x64 builds are multi-libbed by default etc. Of all the distro's you can choose Ubuntu is without doubt doing it's own thing and forcing it's internal ethos on the users, just like Windows 8!

Anyway, then there's the games, some of the ports are sloppy, not Valve's fault, HiB guys are guilty of rushing ports with really silly, lazy bugs, these all have Steam keys now. Also, game choice is not very good, apart from Valve's own and a few others you can get the rest of the games elsewhere and it alleviates a lot of the problems, can get a native x64 Amnesia-TDD for example that means you don't have to multilib, then again if you use Ubuntu you don't care about multilib.

The steam client doesn't adhere to EWMH, as such won't work on tilers properly, the Valve guys were given viable alternatives to updating outside of package managers but weren't interested, actually thinking about it Ubuntu and Steam perhaps belong together and target the same users who don't care about all of this stuff, and that's fair enough I guess.

I was mad at first but now I've realised that it's a mainstream product targeted to mainstream users who typically don't care if they are decent Linux citizens or not, the type of users who think Ubuntu IS Linux, and I hate to say it but a lot of the Linux users here on Neowin fall into that category which is why most reply's on this thread don't understand the grievances OP mentioned. I don't mean this in a nasty way, but most here have never stepped outside of a DE and discovered what really sets Linux apart, and if you've not done this how would you be expected to know any different?

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Ubuntu community seems impressed with Steam Linux Beta, some of them are calling death to Windows gaming after the release of Steam client for linux

not sure other distro users need to install extra libs and some kind of hacking just to play Steam games...

What the...? Steam CLIENT doesn't mean every game in Steam's library will magically work on Linux all of the sudden.

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it's x64 builds are multi-libbed by default etc.

why on earth is this a bad thing?

and regarding the store there's one important difference. You are *forced* to use the windows store for metro apps. You are *never* forced to use the store in ubuntu.

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I am more saden by the main principal's of Linux vanishing to usher in a more windows like enviroment all the time. The whole reason I built a windows machine in the first place was to play games. Mark S. made Ubuntu for ths masses to only point it in the same profit hungry direction as the other OSs.

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I am more saden by the main principal's of Linux vanishing to usher in a more windows like enviroment all the time. The whole reason I built a windows machine in the first place was to play games. Mark S. made Ubuntu for ths masses to only point it in the same profit hungry direction as the other OSs.

Sometimes in life you've got to compromise. It's either going to be closed-source/DRM on Linux, or not on Linux at all. The endgame is that Gabe is trying stop gamers from being dependant from Windows, so Valve can control the gaming market (vs. Windows 8 store), and save licensing costs for Steam Box. Unfortunately not many game developers work for free so that's how things work. At least it brings users that wouldn't normally use Linux at all get closer to the platform, and maybe dabble in the Open Source/Linux side of things when they aren't on a game, as oppose to not getting anywhere close to Linux at all. If the gamer gets a taste of Linux and really wants to get into it, they can dump the Ubuntu and go with a pure distribution instead, or dual boot/Virtualise as they would have done with Windows.

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I get it,

People want Linux

People want games

The two are challenging to operating within the same "Open Source" premise and by allowing larger companies to control and use "Proprietary Source", we are technically servicing the new up coming majority. I just wonder if the conversion Ubuntu is under-going

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I've not been overwhelmed by the Beta so far, but that is only because of the lack of games on it. As someone else said, once Portal 2 comes about, I will change my view point with that.

The thing I love is being able to use Steam chat nativity which is much better than using WINE. But I'm aware this is a Beta (more an Alpha tbh) and luckily Valve decided to make it an open one as well.

I run desktop Ubuntu so can't see the problems with libs etc. I can't see myself running any other distro when it comes to the desktop neither.

I just find it amusing that Gabe ranted about Windows 8 being a closed platform and then of all distro's to base development on chooses Ubuntu! I'm not going to slag Ubuntu off but it's guilty of a lot of what Windows 8 is apparently guilty of, has a store that sells games, it's x64 builds are multi-libbed by default etc. Of all the distro's you can choose Ubuntu is without doubt doing it's own thing and forcing it's internal ethos on the users, just like Windows 8!

Luckily, if Canonical decide to lock their distribution (to run only stuff from its store for example), then an unlocked fork would appear quickly whilst maintaining application compatibility. Whereas if Microsoft take this approach, then there is no guarantee of somebody being able to hack an unlock for it whilst maintaining application compatibility. We assume that Microsoft won't do this as it would probably spell commercial suicide, though they have done so in the ARM version.

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