Introducing early access to the Steam snap!

Canonical is going all in on the gaming experience on Ubuntu and we’ve started building out a team dedicated to working on just that.

As part of these efforts, our first step is to simplify the process of getting your gaming environment setup without the need to add PPAs to get bleeding edge packages or kernels. With Steam being the number 1 platform for PC gamers, it was the obvious choice to focus our efforts here first.

It’s time to do a call for testing on a new Steam snap which brings along everything you need to run Steam games via proton or, of course, native Linux games. Since this is an early access snap, expect there to be bugs and gaps, which we need assistance in identifying. We will iterate quickly, and respond to this feedback.

In addition we’re already looking at further future improvements for the gaming experience, such as providing easy ways to get more bleeding edge components like Mesa drivers, and even newer kernels and proprietary drivers. These are features that will come over time, just know that we are working on it and will update this post as they become available.

Currently to test this, you will need to get the latest snapd from the edge channel

sudo snap refresh --beta snapd

Then install the steam snap via the store or from the command line with

sudo snap install --beta steam

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A small inconvenience I found using Snap Steam is even it can read-write ~/.local/share/Steam, it’s not very useful right now. I have some games installed there and my configurations from deb Steam, but Snap Steam doesn’t use it. So, I think I will need to reinstall and reconfigure all games, or found a way to migrate. This is the expected behavior?

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AMD Driver with GUI Interface please !

What do we need to do to help test it?

Just put a blog live with directions on how to get hold of it :slight_smile:

The GitHub repository containing the snapcraft.yaml etc is private. It’s linked to from the store page, so maybe should be open so people can file issues on it.

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It looks like the trigger was pulled too fast on this. Running the latest snapd, and the steam-support socket is missing.

alan@deep-thought:~$ snap version
snap    2.55.3+git573.g7800537
snapd   2.55.3+git573.g7800537
series  16
ubuntu  22.04
kernel  5.15.0-27-generic
alan@deep-thought:~$ sudo snap install steam --edge
2022-04-29T17:53:42+01:00 INFO snap "steam" has bad plugs or slots: steam-support (unknown interface "steam-support")
2022-04-29T17:53:43+01:00 INFO snap "steam" has bad plugs or slots: steam-support (unknown interface "steam-support")
steam (edge) 1.0.0.74 from Canonical✓ installed
WARNING: There is 1 new warning. See 'snap warnings'.

Seems the steam-support plug hasn’t landed yet? So this can’t work yet?

It does launch and run though. :man_shrugging:

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And where will this leave the other essential Linux gaming applications like Heroic and Lutris? Or Bottles? I am sorry to say this but you can’t be blind to the fact Snaps have gained no traction in the Linux space outside of Ubuntu. I can only think of two other distros that support them out of the box and even then they are just an option alongside flatpak.

It’s a harsh truth but it’s truth none the less a lot of the Linux community don’t like Snaps and don’t want anything to do with them. Among Devs that might even be a majority. If you want Ubuntu to become the Linux gaming OS of choice you are going to have to come to terms with that.

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While there’s nothing inherently wrong with what you’ve written. There’s another factor at play here.

The fact remains, despite the hate, there are more installs of Ubuntu than any other distro - probably actually more installs of desktop Ubuntu than all other distros added together. That significant sized userbase means that whatever defaults Ubuntu has, will become well used among many, many users. There’s probably 3x as many snaps in the store as flatpaks in flathub. Most snaps have between 6x and 10x the number of installs as the exact same flatpak, simply as a result of snaps being baked in to Ubuntu, and there having been significant effort made over years to get developers onboard.

I’m not saying this as an appendage-waving contest. These are just facts of life, given Ubuntu’s market dominance on the desktop for a decade.

Why is this important? Because it largely doesn’t matter what you, I or some random person on IRC, Matrix or YouTube thinks or wants. Canonical has chosen/built the snap technology and is going to continue using it. Constantly bleating about it here, on reddit, and wherever else, is never (*) going to change that.

(*) - never say never!

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I installed from --beta instead of --edge because the relase date. Installed without errors.

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The version in the beta channel should work with Linux native games and proton versions 5.13 and older. Newer versions of proton will work with what’s in edge once a snapd has the new interface we added, which should land later today. Stay posted here for those details.

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Sorry, was waiting on IS to make it public, which they have done now. Everything should be visible.

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I rarely comment here, but this time I was very impressed, and this announcement made me really happy. As a long - time Ubuntu user, and also a casual gamer, I would love to see a tool or a feature that allows me to update to the latest kernels and mesa drivers! I use mainline updater now, it’s a decent tool, but out of the box experience would be preferable. And if you can/have time, please look into integrating mangohud/GOverlay, those tools are incredibly helpful.

Thank you, Ubuntu team!

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Hi everyone. I want to add in my two cents, from yes, a kid.

**-- This was majorly edited to get rid of the extra rant/ nonsense – **

With all due respect,

Nobody asked for this - to my knowledge. Gamers want FPS, low ping, hardware usage maxed and of course, speed. All something Snap is not the best at. Putting Steam itself in a virtual environment is okay (I guess), but throwing games in a virtual environment-why would anyone want to do that?

Steam is, and has provided it’s own .deb AND .rpm for YEARS which nobody has objected to. This makes it easier to maintain for Valve and with auto-updates, it is a win-win situation. Snaps can(?) jump around this system and force-lock versions.

Is Valve actually maintaining this snap or is Canonical? Firefox can be great for a snap because the official Mozilla devs want to maintain it. But, if Valve is not maintaining it with Canonical, we [desktop users and gamers] may not be happy with any changes made to the software.

Along with the other things that make snap’s reputation not the best, it kind of feels like this is another Canonical push to prioritize snaps; something that does not fit in with popularity compared to other package managers.

NOBODY asked for a Steam Snap

Actually, I did 4 years ago. And a lot of other people have been asking for this too.

You have a lot of complaints here that aren’t very related to the Steam snap. Could you create a new post to discuss that? Maybe just try to focus on one particular set of issues instead of all of your complaints. It’s sort of like creating a well-written bug report. If you present a specific issue, you’re more likely to get a specific answer or maybe even a solution.

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This is so great! Finally I can sleep tight at night knowing that in the near future users, and especially novice users, would not face the destiny of Linus from LTT that got his whole system removed when he tried to install steam, although it happened on popos and not Ubuntu, knowing that there is no such possibility whatsoever is always good!

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itzswirlz said it very well. If Snaps hurt performance gamers won’t use them.

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How will it handle Steam client updates? Will it be similar to Discord, where if the snap isn’t updated to support that updated client, it won’t run at all?

I was literally just wishing we had a Steam snap available as I was setting up my gaming PC today with a fresh 22.04 install, will definitely be test driving this. Is the packaging recipe for this available to view somewhere?

EDIT: Just went to try using the snap to set up my library but I’m unable to as my Steam library lives on a separate SSD mounted at /mnt. The snap appears to be missing a removable-media plug to allow this functionality.

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Fantastic news, downloaded and currently testing. Looking forward to the update for newer proton versions.

So far so good on the one game I’ve tried.
Here’s to hoping Lutris is next