Turns out that installing the Steam client from the Ubuntu repos on a new Ubuntu 23.04 install doesn’t work – and barely anyone noticed.

Which is kind of surprising given the popularity of Steam, but also kind of not — and I’ll get to why in a second.

So what’s the rub?

This (unintentional) issue stems from Ubuntu’s switch to a new Flutter-based installer.

The new installer leverages Subiquity on the backend. This was originally created for Ubuntu server where 32-bit library support isn’t enabled by default. Due to an “oversight”, Subiquity desktop installs also don’t enable 32-bit library support.

Steam for Linux does requires 32-bit support (so that all the old games people purchased continue to work), and Ubuntu’s repo build of the Steam gaming client assumes 32-bit support is already setup (since it’s supposed to be, by default).

The result is that while Ubuntu 23.04 users can run sudo apt install steam or click the install button in the Software Center it (for most) doesn’t work since the 32-bit libraries Steam depends on can’t be pulled in.

The good news is that this “whoopsie” will be fixed by the time Ubuntu 23.10 rolls out in October.

Why didn’t people notice this sooner?

Ubuntu 23.04 was released back in April yet this issue has only just been reported as a bug — why wasn’t it spotted sooner?

I reason it’s because most people who run Ubuntu 23.04 upgraded from an earlier version. That version would’ve been installed using the old Ubiquity installer which does correctly set-up the “i386 foreign-arch” stuff needed by apps like Steam and Wine.

Then there’s the fact a lot of people download Steam for Linux from Valve. This official DEB installer configures the necessary 32-bit support required for it to run on Ubuntu 23.04 (so if you want to run Steam on 23.04, this is a good workaround – alternatively use the Snap, also unaffected).

Finally, interim Ubuntu releases are not as widely-used as long-term support ones are (i.e. there are fewer eyes to spot bugs).

Ubuntu developers can’t (and shouldn’t) be expected to spot every bug a new release introduces so, to my mind, this situation underlines the need for those of us out in the Ubuntu community (lowercase c) to muck in and help test new Ubuntu releases.

via popey.com




Ubuntu 23.04