Steam is easily the most popular online gaming platform for the PC. Linux is very popular as well. There are over 2000 games available for Linux alone on Steam. Even though Steam is available through the official Ubuntu repositories, many new Linux users get tripped up by the installation process. It’s not like it is on Windows, at least not exactly.
Before you even attempt to install Steam, you need to make sure that you have the latest drivers for your graphics card installed and configured properly. Part of that involves enabling 32-bit support on your system.
Drivers aren’t available through the same channels as they are on Windows, either. On a more positive note, once they’re installed, they’ll stay updated through the regular system updates. That means you only ever have to set this all up once, and both Steam and your drivers will keep on rolling with the rest of Ubuntu.
Before you can install and use Steam on Ubuntu, you need to make sure that you have the latest drivers configured properly on your system.
The methods for installing the AMD and NVIDIA drivers are different, but there are a couple of things you should do first universally.
You need to make sure that 32-bit support is enabled. Steam only works on 32-bit, and you’ll need to enable 32-bit support to get driver support automatically when you install the drives.
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
Update Apt to apply the change.
sudo apt update sudo apt upgrade
From here on, it’s all specific to your graphics card.
You aren’t going to be able to game on the open-source NVIDIA drivers. NVIDIA continues to impede progress on them, so they are severely underdeveloped. As a result, you’re going to need the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. Thankfully, they’re actually quite good, and they tend to work flawlessly once you get them installed.
Ubuntu’s NVIDIA drivers are kept in a well-maintained and current PPA. Enable it on your system and update Apt.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa sudo apt-get update
Then, install the latest drivers.
sudo apt install nvidia-graphics-drivers-387 nvidia-settings
After the drivers are intalled, run the Nvidia configuration utility.
sudo nvidia-xconfig --initial
Restart your system for the changes to take effect.
AMD’s open-source drivers are maturing rapidly, but if you’re on an older version of Ubuntu, you won’t see the benefits of that growth.
There are two major components to making the AMD drivers work, Mesa and the Linux kernel itself. Short of building your own kernels, you’re going to have a hard time keeping the kernel on the most bleeding edge version. Mesa is another story. There’s an excellent PPA for that.
Add the Mesa PPA to your system.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers sudo apt-get update
Upgrade your packages to the new versions. Then, make sure that you have
sudo apt upgrade sudo apt install xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu
You may need to restart for the changes to take effect.
Steam is already available in the Ubuntu repositories. You can install it easily with Apt.
sudo apt install steam
Launch Steam and sign in. You’ll have to go through the usual procedure of adding the new install to your account. After you do, you’ll be able to open and access your Steam library.
That’s all you need! Steam is now running on your system, and you have the latest drivers backing it up. Notice that your library only shows your Linux games by default. You can see the Windows ones too, but you’re not going to be able to launch them from there.
Since Steam is unified, you can buy a game once for one platform and keep that game across them all. Make sure to run regular updates on your system to keep everything running smoothly!
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