You might probably know, Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. But you’ll most certainly know, it is used for distributing games and related media online. Recently, Valve announced Steam client for Linux, thereby officially expanding their reach outside of the primarily Windows PC world.

Steam Client

This article will help users install Steam client on their Linux PC, currently, Steam client can only be installed on Debian/Ubuntu-based Linux distribution.

First, let’s get to know what you’ll need. Chances are you might already have it, but we recommend you proceed only if all system requirements are fulfilled.

Minimum System Requirements

Before you begin, make sure you have, at least the following:

  1. A Steam key. This will be emailed to you when you sign up. If you were already in the beta program, you don’t need this; you won’t even need this tutorial.
  2. 1 GHz Pentium 4 or Athlon XP1500+
  3. 512MB of RAM
  4. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, fully updated. Any equivalent current Debian based Linux distribution will work just fine.
  5. A recent graphics card. It will work best on these: – NVIDIA series 6 and newer
  • Intel HD 3000 or better
  • AMD series 5 and up
  1. At least 5GB free hard drive space. You’ll need a lot more, though.

Most games run fine with the recommended set-up. A few might require updated drivers to get the best performance. In rare occasions a game might refuse to run without the driver updates. Determine what graphics hardware you are using and follow the appropriate section below.

nVIDIA Graphics

  1. In Ubuntu 12.04, launch the “Additional Hardware Drivers” dialog from “System Settings”. In Ubuntu 12.10, launch Software Properties, then click on the “Additional Drivers” tab in the “Software Sources” menu.
  2. Install the newest nVIDIA-experimental-NNN driver (NNN is, of course, your driver version). You probably need to scroll down to see the experimental drivers if you’re feeling confident enough.
additional drivers

AMD/ATI Graphics

  1. Enable the pre-released updates. Do this by going to Edit >> Software sources, and then enable the Pre-released updates option on the Updates tab.
  2. Update your repository to the latest version in the Update Manager.
  3. Remove the currently installed drivers.
  4. In 12.04, launch the “Additional Hardware Drivers” dialog from “System Settings”.  In 12.10, launch Software Properties, then click on the “Additional Drivers” tab in the “Software Sources” menu.
  5. Install the newest fglrx-experimental-X driver.

An alternative method of installing the drivers is to install directly from the developer website. Instructions to do so can be found here. This would install the absolute latest drivers for ATI graphics cards, but it could also lead to some unforeseen instability.

Intel Graphics

For Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, you’ll need to update your mesa stack using the x-updates PPA.

On the terminal, run the following one by one waiting for each to complete before the next.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Then log out and back in, or reboot.

Ubuntu 12.10 already includes all the necessary Intel bits, so if you’re on this release no update is required.

Installation on 12.10 (Quantal) 64 bit

I had to install the package below on hand to get the OpenGL libraries.  After that, the client at least seems to work:

sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-glx:i386Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Installing Steam Client on Linux PC (Main)

Download the Steam.deb file using the button below.


Follow this with installation of gdebi-core via terminal and finally installation of Steam with these two command lines one after another.

sudo apt-get install gdebi-coreCode language: JavaScript (javascript)
sudo gdebi steam.debCode language: CSS (css)

And that’s it!!!

At long last, enjoy gaming on your Linux PC.

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Darryl Dias

I’m Darryl. I’m a 3D Artist, Programmer and Linux enthusiast. On this site I share my insights, tips and tricks, tutorials, methods and best practices.