How to install the official release of Steam in Ubuntu

Updated: February 25, 2013

Well, the title should read Ubuntu and family. Basically, it comes down to this. During the beta phase, users could manually download the Debian installer package from the Steam website and perform the installation on their own. Now that Steam has been officially released for Linux, namely Ubuntu, you might wonder how the process may have changed. Indeed, it has.

Steam is available through the Ubuntu Software Center, but there are a few little niggles that you must pay attention to, in order to save yourself some hassle and trial & error sundries. Let me show you how you can install the software and receive the subsequent updates the right way. Trivial, but do take a look.


Command line & beta upgrades?

First, please note that all of what is written below might change as Ubuntu upgrades its own distribution mechanism. If you have used the beta version and already have it installed, you will be somewhat surprised to learn that system updates do NOT provide a package for Steam. And if you try using apt-get from the command line, you will notice that Steam is still listed as beta. What now.

Launch Ubuntu Software Center

What you need to do is launch the software center. Steam is listed there, but it is titled as a Buy item, albeit with a free price, rather than a standard installation. You will need to login with your Ubuntu One account, or create a new one, in order to be able to get this item. A short EULA is also in order.

Buy Steam in USC


Please note the version is listed as 64-bit, but this is not entirely correct. Some of the libraries used by Steam are still 32-bit, and it still depends on the 32-bit version of Adobe Flash to play its videos. This should not bother you much, but still, you ought to know it. Once installed, the new version will also play a nice little icon in your system area.


This is all really. Like I said, extremely trivial, but still somewhat non-straightforward. If you're used to managing your box from the command line and rely on system updates to do their magic in the background, you might miss this little package. It comes down to logging into the Ubuntu Software Center and agreeing to the license terms. That's all. After this step is complete, you can continue enjoy steam like you normally would. There you go.

And we will shortly have another Steam-related article; this one will teach you several additional methods of installing Flash for Steam, how to work around the manual updates in a smart and streamlined manner, and how to resolve the audio issues with the Flash playback. Stay tuned.