How to install Steam in KDE neon

Updated: November 8, 2021

Installing Steam in a Linux distro should be easy, right? Well. Even though, technically, it ought to be a simple one mouse click or one-liner in a terminal window, things aren't always quite as trivial. A while back, I had issues with missing 32-bit libraries for Steam (and some other programs) in Linux Mint. The likes of Fedora or AlmaLinux need third-party repositories. I had issues with Steam not running under Nouveau. Manjaro had different versions of Steam available, and they didn't always work perfectly.

With KDE neon, just recently, I encountered a new problem. When I search for Steam on the command line, I get no results. It would appear that Steam isn't there. Which is strange, because neon is based on Ubuntu, and Steam has been in the repos since day one. All right, let's analyze and fix this issue.

Problem in more detail

A simple exercise, if you will. Just try to install Steam, and/or one of the other programs that depends on it, and you will see some errors (on the command line). Specifically, you will the see following messages:

sudo apt install steam
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
E: Unable to locate package steam

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
steam-installer : Depends: steam (= 1:1.0.0.61-2ubuntu3) but it is not installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

Solution

As it turns out, KDE neon does not ship with the 32-bit architecture support enabled by default. This is quite odd, but at least, it's a simple thing to fix. Therefore, first, check whether your system has been configured to use "foreign" architectures. On the command line, again:

sudo dpkg --print-foreign-architectures

If the output is empty, then you do not have the 32-bit (i386 support). All right, let's add it then:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Now, you can update your repo indexes, and install Steam:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install steam

And you shall see a huge list of libraries, about to be installed:

Install Steam

Conclusion

There we go. Now, of course, Linux being Linux, there could be a million other problems you may encounter, like missing graphics drivers, incompatible drivers, a conflict between host and Steam libraries, and more. Just head into my Linux section and search for these tutorials. I've done them all over the years. Trivial things aren't trivial, still, in 2021.

But at least one of the problems ain't our problem anymore. If you're using KDE neon, or for that matter, any Debian- or Ubuntu-based distro that uses dpkg/apt combo for its package management, and you encounter issues with the Steam installation, then check first whether you have the necessary i386 support enabled, and if not enable it. That should get you going. Hopefully, this little tutorial does its job. See you around.

Cheers.

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