That was some time ago now and there have been many new announcements relishing the fact that there were 400 games available and then 500 games available and then 1000 games available etc.
I am not happy though and in this rant I will be letting off steam about Steam.
I have been using Linux for a number of years now and whilst I might not be a complete expert I have picked up most of the skills I need to install, setup and manage my operating system.
The way Steam is installed to Linux is a complete an utter joke. First of all you have to find the Steam Launcher package. In some distributions it is there by default, others require another repository to be added.
Take Ubuntu for example. Whilst the Steam Launcher is available because they have screwed up the package manager you can’t choose it from the graphical installer. You have to open a terminal and install the Steam launcher by using apt.
Now I use apt-get most of the time anyway for installing software so that doesn’t particularly bother me but for the average new user or the common ordinary user of an operating system the thought of using the command line to install software is not acceptable, especially as you can install Steam using Windows without any messing around whatsoever.
With the Steam launcher in place, you run the software (either from the icon or from the terminal) and it instantly pops up a window whereby 300 megabytes of updates are required to be downloaded.
If you are lucky when the updates have finished installing you will now be able to login to Steam.
Unfortunately more often than not it doesn’t work straight away. It is quite common to receive dependency errors which require ia32-libs to be installed. Why is this not listed as a dependency for the Steam launcher package and installed immediately along with Steam?
After you have installed the right libraries (or what you think are the correct libraries) you run Steam and it complains about swrast.dri not working or something similar.
You scour the web for answers and some pages tell you to install extra drivers, others tell you to remove hidden directories. There is no one answer that works each and every time.
More computers now run on 64-bit than 32-bit so why are we still required to install 32-bit libraries to run Steam? Why if we need all these libraries aren’t they installed by default when we install Steam and why isn’t there a clear and straight forward process for getting Steam working.
Sometimes it works straight away and other times it doesn’t and it isn’t linked to the distribution you are using.
For instance your choice of graphics card is also prevalent as to whether Steam loads or not.
Trying to get Steam working is like trying to light a fire in a rain forest by rubbing 2 wet sticks together.
Steam even announced its own Linux distribution. You would think this would be a great solution but the way you have to install it is a nightmare. It comes as an image which you have to extract on the drive of choice. It doesn’t work like every other distribution where you simply burn it to a USB drive and then run an installer.
It isn’t like any of the points I am raising are new issues either. It has been like this for ages.
I quite like the fact that by using Steam I can download the games I have previously bought but why not just provide that functionality from a website and then let me click a download link. Why do we need a Steam client at all?
At this moment in time I have given up on Steam. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Yes I have now got it working in the PCLinuxOS setup I used for my latest review but it took so much effort and I can’t even document the steps because I’m not sure which step finally made it work.
Have you had issues installing Steam? Do you wish there was something better?