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Debian Open Source Linux

Gamer Rewrites Valve's Steam Installer For Debian 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Gaming on Linux is growing fast right now, and most of that is thanks to Steam. Initially, Steam committed only to the most popular desktop distribution, Ubuntu, but more recently has opened the door to others. So what do you do when you want to game in Linux and you're using something a little less popular — at least, on the desktop? If you're a programmer called GhostSquad57, you rewrite the installer for Debian. GhostSquad57 uploaded his efforts to Github yesterday, and has since reached out to the Linux community."
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Gamer Rewrites Valve's Steam Installer For Debian

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  • big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:27PM (#43070499)

    Seeing as Ubuntu is debian for those scared of terms.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by pecosdave (536896)

      Ubuntu is Debian for people who actually want to use their systems. Debian used to be pretty nice, but once Ubuntu came along the developers sort of gave up on having a working Debian and decided to become framework guys for Ubuntu. Debian in its current state is nearly unusable as a desktop, at least with KDE.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Isn't it the other way around?
        Debian is what you use when you want to actually use the system, since, unlike Ubuntu, it actually has up-to-date and reliable packages.

        The only advantage of Ubuntu is packaging restricted drivers better. Ubuntu also packages some weird desktop experiences (such as Unity), if you're into that sort of thing.

        • "up to date" isn't an apt description for debian stable. Unless you're a time traveller from 3 years ago. Reliable, I'll give that one to you, if you ignore how they fucked up ssh.
          • by iroll (717924)

            Even here in the future, stable is fine for pretty much any normal home and office use. And if it isn't, the upgrade to unstable is almost trivial to perform and isn't likely to cause any problems.

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            You should always use testing on your desktop, laptop or workstation, especially if you work in IT.
            stable is for production environments.

            • by HiThere (15173)

              I use testing also, but I've heard that unstable is safer because testing doesn't get bug fixes applied the way that stable does, and is slower to get them applied than unstable.

              Not sure if that's true, of if it was true still current. And, as I said, I use testing myself. But I'd be careful about that "always".

          • by pecosdave (536896)

            Debian has had constant driver issues for me, not just SSH. I'll be cruising along using stable not testing, not experimental, but stable, do a "security update" and all of the sudden have hardware that has worked for years quit working.

            Not just one system, not just one type of hardware, but random crap on every system I have at different times.

            I moved to Ubuntu because I got tired of having to constantly fight and troubleshoot to keep stable running. I might run a server on Debian, one that doesn't need

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Debian has had constant driver issues for me, not just SSH. I'll be cruising along using stable not testing, not experimental, but stable, do a "security update" and all of the sudden have hardware that has worked for years quit working.

              Not just one system, not just one type of hardware, but random crap on every system I have at different times.

              I moved to Ubuntu because I got tired of having to constantly fight and troubleshoot to keep stable running. I might run a server on Debian, one that doesn't need the use of anything outside of the traditional base hardware, but never for a desktop again.

              I don't know what you're doing to your systems to have these problems, but my experience has been the complete opposite. I've run Debian since 2000 or 2001, and that's never been my experience. I started on Stable, and later moved to Testing, which is what I currently run. I'm still using the same install, in fact, and it's still working great after migrating it across multiple motherboards, processors, and hard disks.

              I've had no random hardware compatibility issues, not even between upgrades. It didn't

              • by s.petry (762400)

                Don't bother, Unity sucks ass no matter how much they try and tout it. I tried to install and run KDE on Ubuntu, that was a nightmare I don't want to repeat.

            • by dbIII (701233)
              Example please.
              There has been a lot of mumbling of this type that is not tied to reality (such as the "worst interface ever" losers that pop up every time something on linux with a GUI is mentioned), and the above post is so vague it looks like it belongs with them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by spike hay (534165)

          Debian Stable is certainly not up to date, and I've always had problems with lots of random bugs whose fixes haven't been backported. Sid is the only way to get modern packages, but it's an absolute clusterfuck. Ubuntu/Mint are nearly as bad, but they do clearly put work into making sure the desktop experience is relatively smooth.

          Arch linux on the other hand has bleeding edge STABLE packages. I almost never have any issues. Arch packaging are typically very vanilla. Heavy patching like Debian does introduc

          • by kthreadd (1558445)

            Arch is fine on a single machine, but I've yet to see a site with 100+ machines running it as well as Debian stable, Ubuntu LTS or any of the RHEL clones.

            • We're running a couple hundred CentOS 6, Fedora 13/16/18 machines. Do we count?

            • by spike hay (534165)

              It's really different use cases. In practice, Arch seems to give a smoother desktop experience with minimal screwing around. It's pretty rare to have any sort of breakages, as long as you keep an eye on the website for any big changes. Security fixes are available immediately from upstream as part of normal updates, of course. Perhaps it is just my experience, but I just see more rando bugs with Debian than most other distros.

              RHEL or Debian stable is probably better for an actual production environment. Th

          • Re:big deal (Score:4, Informative)

            by marcello_dl (667940) on Monday March 04, 2013 @05:11PM (#43072435) Homepage Journal

            You should remember that there is also debian testing, which currently is debian wheezy. As stable becomes too old, testing become more of a viable alternative. I ran into more problems with kubuntu than sid, and testing is way better than sid for normal users, because upgrades are less radical.

            I also had a smooth experience with debian stable, if you want to run newer software too you could make a chroot with sid or testing, or consider the LD_LIBRARY_PATH option: at home I am running wheezy, plus the fglrx-legacy driver from experimental, using a closed source client with libraries gotten from ubuntu, and the resulting frankenstein has not had one hiccup.

        • by Dishevel (1105119)

          Mint is king.

          • by jnork (1307843)

            Mmmm! Minty fresh!

          • by Ash Vince (602485) *

            Mint is king.

            Mostly.

            Installing software using the GUI is still a little broken though as if you search for stuff it tries to reissue your search every time you type a character. That gets annoying if you type 3 or 4 chars, then change your mind and hit backspace 4 times, then type another 5 or so you have locked your machine up until it does 15 searches of the application repositories you have installed, some of which return a lot of results (ie, the ones where 0,1 or 2 chars were in the search box).

        • by pecosdave (536896)

          A little over a year ago I had plenty of people agreeing with me [slashdot.org], I've even had actual Debian developers agree with me in the past.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458)

        And Mint is for people who want more packages but dislike the direction that Canonical has been taking with Gnome3 etc...

        (it also works with the stock Steam installer)

      • Re:big deal (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheDarkener (198348) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:05PM (#43071641)

        I've been using Debian 'testing' as a desktop (and a netbook for that matter) for many years now. I used Ubuntu for about 4 years at home and with my business clients (I'm a network engineer), roughly from v6.10 -> 10.04 but switched back because of the "will not fix" developer mentality to those who wanted functional packages from an LTS release. There was always something major that was broken, always with the carrot-on-a-stick, "Just upgrade to the latest release and use PPA from JoeSchmoe" answer when you just wanted to use your computer. It kept me for a while, but it got reeeeal tiring.

        Debian has always "just worked" on my desktop. It's also a great LTSP sever, serving my kitchen and livingroom thin clients. With all of the good stuff that the Ubuntu/Canonical folks do getting backported to Debian, I feel like Debian testing is "Ubuntu Stable".

      • by grantek (979387)

        No no, it's the other way around. Debian is Ubuntu for people who don't want to go to the hassle of configuring privacy settings or uninstalling bloat.

    • Re:big deal (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:37PM (#43070639)

      Seeing as Ubuntu is debian for those scared of terms.

      Even less of a big deal when you check out NEW [debian.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Minwee (522556)
      Try mixing Debian and Ubuntu repositories some time and see how big of a deal that is.
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Exactly what I came here to post. So he translated it from Quick Basic to Visual Basic. (golfclap)
    • Re:big deal (Score:5, Funny)

      by jgtg32a (1173373) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:03PM (#43071631)
      Ubuntu is an African word that means "I can't configure Debian"
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Debian is a Klingon word that means "I'm scared of Slackware"

        • by TeknoHog (164938)
          Slackware is ancient Sumerian for "Beware of He Who Must Not Be Named, also known as Gentoo".
          • by metrix007 (200091)

            Oh Please. Gentoo is for children fascinated by the freedom and possibility of compiling everything where there is no need. Adults use Slackware or Arch.

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          first belly-laugh of the day
          thanks!

      • Re:big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dcollins117 (1267462) on Monday March 04, 2013 @05:49PM (#43072911)

        Ubuntu is an African word that means "I can't configure Debian"

        It's funny because it's true. As a windows user who wanted to learn how to use linux (15 years ago or so) I had the catch-22 issue of installing and configuring system I knew very little about. So it was crucial for me that the installation "just worked" to get a working machine to learn on. I tried Debian first and got no where, then tried Ubuntu and it "just worked".

        Ubunutu is far from perfect, but it works good enough for new users that they can learn what they need to in order to abandon it once they tire of Canonical's shenanigans.

        • As a windows user who wanted to learn how to use linux (15 years ago or so) I had the catch-22 issue of installing and configuring system I knew very little about. [...] I tried Debian first and got no where, then tried Ubuntu and it "just worked".

          Soooo.. you installed Ubuntu, which came out first in 2004, '15 years ago or so'?
          Can I have access to your time machine?

  • by ButchDeLoria (2772751) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:27PM (#43070501)
    Not free enough, 2/10 would not install.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Really. It's not. It hasn't been in a year or more, so can we stop this "Ubuntu it the big best Linux" crap already?

    Ubuntu started to tank shortly after Shuttleworth sold his soul to the devil. The most popular distros are now Mint (by far), and probably also Mageia by now.

    I personally don't see why Valve doesn't just aim for Debian support. If that works, Ubuntu, Mint and many more should be minimal effort.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:52PM (#43070771)

      It depends on how you determine popularity. Because Linux distros typically don't phone home at any point during installation or operation, it's impossible to know how many installs of a given distro are out there. Mint may have the most pageviews or the most downloads in the last X months, but it doesn't mean it's the most widely installed.

      If a company with 1000 seats downloads Ubuntu once and uses that single download to install it on all 1000 PCs, while the business next door has all ten of its users download Mint to install on their own desktops then Mint appears to be ten times as popular as Ubuntu.

      I'm not saying this is the case, just that it's almost impossible to figure out the most popular Linux distro. It's also important to point out that Mint is to Ubuntu what Ubuntu is to Debian... if Debian stopped, Ubuntu would die and if Ubuntu stopped then Mint would die.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Because Linux distros typically don't phone home at any point during installation or operation,

        Bullshit excuse. They do request updates, don't they? Its not hard to tell who's using your Linux distro when they come to you for patches.

        If a company with 1000 seats downloads Ubuntu once and uses that single download to install it on all 1000 PCs, while the business next door has all ten of its users download Mint to install on their own desktops then Mint appears to be ten times as popular as Ubuntu.

        Yes, if you picked a particular 5 millisecond period and just used that as a basis for all of your extrapolation, but when you look at it on average, that sort of thing doesn't matter.

        • The company I work for has around 500 clients. We only have about a dozen servers that connect to Microsoft for updates, one of those servers is responsible for distributing the updates too all of the other clients.

          The truth is that the largest groupings of users are corporate, and the larger a corporate userbase is then the more likely they will just have a few servers that grab the updates and distribute them for everyone else.

        • by Monsuco (998964)

          Because Linux distros typically don't phone home at any point during installation or operation,

          Bullshit excuse. They do request updates, don't they? Its not hard to tell who's using your Linux distro when they come to you for patches.

          If a company with 1000 seats downloads Ubuntu once and uses that single download to install it on all 1000 PCs, while the business next door has all ten of its users download Mint to install on their own desktops then Mint appears to be ten times as popular as Ubuntu.

          Yes, if you picked a particular 5 millisecond period and just used that as a basis for all of your extrapolation, but when you look at it on average, that sort of thing doesn't matter.

          Not all of the companies log who's been using their apt or rpm update servers. Also, much like WSUS on Windows, a company using Linux desktops might very well decide to mirror its updates to save on bandwidth. That is, have one server check for updates, have the clients all download updates from said server.

          It's also worth noting ChromeOS is Linux based and considering the Chromebook has been a best seller on Amazon, I wonder if we count that as a Linux distro. Not to mention android.

      • by westlake (615356)

        If a company with 1000 seats downloads Ubuntu once and uses that single download to install it on all 1000 PCs...

        ....it is a locked down tight enterprise-wide distribution that doesn't include Steam, and, in that environment. more likely to be Red Hat than Ubuntu.

        It is not the user's choice and not a popularity contest either.

    • I'm not a Linux nerd. I've messed around with Red Hat a long time ago, and Ubuntu recently, but I do not follow Linux trends at all.

      That said, all of the guys at work that try to talk me into using Linux are using Ubuntu and recommend Ubuntu. I've not heard anyone else anywhere claim that Ubuntu isn't the most popular flavor of Linux right now.

      • by shia84 (1985626)

        Mint is the most popular GNU/Linux distribution in the DistroWatch niche. And as with all vocal minorities, they try to claim that their anecdotal evidence is generisable.

        If asked to estimate, I'd say Ubuntu has roughly two orders of magnitude the install base of Mint. Similar to C vs Objective C, the latter is more popular ("hip", "in", ...) but will need a very long time to reach the amount of distribution of the former, if ever. There is no noticeable corporate pick up on Mint (if you go by the quite num

    • I personally don't see why Valve doesn't just aim for Debian support. If that works, Ubuntu, Mint and many more should be minimal effort.

      Just a guess: Maybe they really think Ubuntu is better, they think with Ubuntu's popularity they'll have a better chance of succeeding (supporting everything would be a bad business decision and not feasible, plus they gotta start somewhere), or Canonical has a deal ($$$) with them. Never know... Ubuntu would be fine on a Steam/gaming-only machine, but I agree that it sucks these days for regular use.

    • by Sigg3.net (886486)

      Ubuntu has Canonical and a business plan.

  • Wow Slashdot! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bennyp (809286) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:31PM (#43070557) Homepage
    Check out this headline: Linux guy edits script to better suit his setup. Let's get this to the front page NOW!
    • Re:Wow Slashdot! (Score:5, Informative)

      by zigfreed (1441541) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:37PM (#43070635)
      It's worse than that. This is a Slashdot discussion about a Reddit thread [reddit.com], with a third site intermediary.
      • Re:Wow Slashdot! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RocketRabbit (830691) on Monday March 04, 2013 @03:37PM (#43071323)

        But how else can "anonymous reader" engage Dice Holdings' genius marketing team to promote thepowerbase.com's awesome news aggregator?

        I think you are missing the point of these slashdot stories. They are pure SEO spam, designed to uprank whatever shitty site is giving us a synopsis of what is happening at another site.

        It's really too bad the internet took off and was noticed by business and advertising types. We need a modern day digital Jesus to upset the money changers' tables.

        • by Rxke (644923)

          We need a modern day digital Jesus

          We have Stallman... Errrr... wait nevermind...

    • I was thinking the same thing. It's no more impressive than the build script in the Arch User Repository.
    • To be fair to him the editor he was using was probably really hard to use. So he's lucky he didn't end up with an script file that was all fubar with ^H^H^H characters all over it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:36PM (#43070631)

    # layman -a gamerlay
    # layman -S
    # emerge steam-meta

    Done. Been working since the middle of the beta for Gentoo users, and that distro doesn't even use .deb files natively. So... um... congrats, Debian? Nice to see you're still old and slow to react? I guess?

  • Good way to get noticed by Valve.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure they really need kids who can trivially edit shell scripts!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since Ubuntu uses Debian's package manager, this isn't much of a change. And people have had it working on Arch for over a month, it's even in their official repos now.

    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      I don't know what this installer does in particular, but there's a lot of things different between Debian and Ubuntu. They are not at all the same system just because they share the same package manager. Ubuntu is no longer Debian with a fancy installer. Most Ubuntu packages are just recompiled Debian packages, they don't even necessarily work on Ubuntu.

      For comparison, apt has been ported to Mac OS X as well. That doesn't mean that getting the Linux version of Steam to run on Mac OS X is easy just because a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Someone has been maintaining a fedora people repo for #steam for @fedora but he never becom popular! :|

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Removing DRM rather than adding it seems like the better way to go.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday March 04, 2013 @03:12PM (#43071005)

    would rather be hacking the game than playing it.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      generally most games are more fun to hack than to play. My favorite games were always the ones with construction sets.

  • It's in the Arch Linux main repositories, I just checked

    Don't know if I'm impressed or disappointed.. There's lots of other S/W in the user repositories that I would rather have in the main one before Steam. But great job, whoever did it

    I thought Steam would be an Ubuntu-only thing, but I stand corrected, this is pretty good

    Turns out that it crashes before the client even starts on my system, but my GPU driver is dodgy, so it's maybe not Steam's fault

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Works fine on Gentoo as well.

      Sometimes you need to remove a bundled library to get a few games to work right, but I doubt that you'll ever get around issues like that on linux when people distribute binary-only applications without shims.

  • This might matter IF he had made it possible to install Steam on ANY major Linux distro. This just makea "Steam for Ubuntu" into "Steam for Debian", so . . .

    meh

  • What happen to you guys? I'm no engineer, but i'm no newbie. I'm a doctor, I don't have time to tinker with everything in my PC. So when I installed steam on one of my Debian machines (I had Ubuntu but for ethical reasons returned to Debian) and it didn't work out I felt disappointed. I DON'T HAVE TIME to make the changes myself. So, when someone does it an shares it I'd say good for us all. And the one that said "...Ubuntu is an African word that means "I can't configure Debian"...": that's old, boring, f
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's really not about diminishing his accomplishment. It's about why is this on the Slashdot front page, there must be something nerdier and more interesting in the firehose. Not that I've looked, sometimes there ain't.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > I don't have time to tinker with everything in my PC.

      Then there's no problem.

      Clearly you have no times for games either.

      Steam is specifically meant to waste a lot of your time. That's what it was built for. If you don't have time to install it, then you don't have the time to use it either.

      So you see the situation solves itself.

      Spending hours and hours playing TF2 versus futzing with the installer for a bit. No comparison really.

      • by mescobal (1516701)

        If you are > 40, you should now Time [lyrics007.com] is relative. I have kids. Playing is something I share with them, tinkering (sadly) not. I didn't want to buy them a game console. I like to share with them other values.

        Steam doesn't "waste" my time. I decide to waste my time with Steam.

        That's the kind of reasoning that harms our community. I'll rephrase it to you (in my very primitive English):

        For lost of reasons I decide to waste my time playing instead of tinkering so I wellcome those who make this possible.

        If Deb

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          You choose to be lazy and use the "my time is valuable" excuse.

          That is contradictory to the idea of running Steam even under the most ideal conditions.

  • Valve put it out ther on their developer site since day one... https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Steam_under_Linux [valvesoftware.com]

    1 Native Steam on Linux
    1.1 Unpackaged
    1.2 Arch Linux
    1.3 Fedora
    1.4 Gentoo
    1.5 openSUSE / SUSE
    1.6 Ubuntu

    So big deal, it only took you 3 months more time then the other distro's
    15:56, 16 December 2012 Hanno (Talk | contrib

    • by egr (932620)
      Hey, thanks for the information! I didn't know that so many have already ported the package. To be honest I didn't follow the progress either.
  • This Steam for Linux is working on multiple distributions that are far more removed from Ubuntu than Debian - this has been the case for months now. I have it right here on Fedora, and I know it's available for Arch Linux too. The license for Steam has even been altered to make it easier for it to be repackaged and even hosted in distribution repositories.

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