Using Steam on Fedora 18 64-bit

Since it was announced nine months ago I’m now running Steam on Linux and playing Counter-Strike: Source. and Team Fortress 2. Both work very nicely, the only thing I’m still missing is that the Linux port can’t use my 5.1 speaker set. On the other hand Serious Sam 3 gives me a disastrous frame rate and crashes, but that will hopefully be fixed. Getting Steam up and running was no easy feat. At the moment it is still in beta and they only support Ubuntu. You have to pull some tricks to get it working on Fedora. Because it isn’t easy to figure out how to do it, I’ll share some advice.

Steam has been packaged for Fedora too (albeit not by Valve) so the most convenient way is to add the repository for it as instructed here. Because these instructions for Fedora 17 are slightly outdated I stopped following them after the yum install steam command. The more recent Steam package from the repository pulled in all of the dependencies needed to get Steam itself running. But while Steam itself might run, the games did not run for me without some more effort.

Some more dependencies are needed. The problem is that Steam is 32-bit, so if you’re on the 64-bit version of Fedora you need to download a lot of 32-bit packages of which the 64-bit equivalent is already present on your system. The first step is to install the 32-bit version of your display driver libraries, which I did with yum install xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.i686 (the i686 suffix tells yum to get the 32-bit version). That’s for people who have AMD video cards, those with NVIDIA video cards should use the yum install xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686 command.

After doing this my games would start, but I didn’t have sound. To get that fixed I simply installed the 32-bit versions of all packages which I thought to be audio-related. From this topic I came up with the command yum install pulseaudio-libs-glib2.i686 libao.i686 esound-libs.i686 alsa-oss-libs.i686 alsa-plugins-oss.i686 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i686 audiofile.i686 which fixed the problem for me. But before entering this command I had downloaded some other packages I don’t remember anymore. Not sure what’s exactly needed, for me it was a matter of a few Google search queries and trial and error.

Hopefully someone else can clear this up or the package could be made to pull in all the necessary dependencies. Preferably Valve will support Fedora 18 officially soon and make a 64-bit version. Valve is totally awesome for porting Steam to Linux. Maybe I can even remove my Windows 7 partition completely in the near future, since the games are the only reason Windows 7 is still on my hard disk drive.

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