Steam for Linux

Steam for Linux

Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 4:25am
Tips to a new Arch Linux user?
I'm going to install Arch Linux in the next days and I want to know from you if there are any tips to newbs :D

Like what version of the NVIDIA driver to install so Steam works OK, etc etc etc.

BTW it seems to be possible to encrypt everything on Arch too, if anyone is interested it should be similar to
# cryptsetup -y --cipher twofish-xts-plain -s 256 -h whirlpool -s 512 luksFormat /dev/sdaX
# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdaX cr_sdaX
# mkfs -t ext4 /dev/mapper/cr_sdaX

EDIT: The installation process with encryption is:
Last edited by Toquinha; Oct 21, 2013 @ 1:35am
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Showing 1-15 of 36 comments
Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 4:49am 
Thanks, but I was referring to post-install tips.
blackout24 Sep 20, 2013 @ 5:21am 
There are no different versions of the nvidia driver you'll always get the newest with pacman -S nvidia. Make sure to also install the 32 bit driver "lib32-nvidia-libgl" but during the steam installation it would have told you to do so. There is also the legacy branch for nvidia if you have card that is older than the 8000 series "nvidia-304xx" which would give the the latest version of that branch which is 304.108 atm. It would also need its own 32 bit version "lib32-nvidia304xx-utils".
Last edited by blackout24; Sep 20, 2013 @ 5:25am
Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 5:25am 
Originally posted by AbartigerNorbert:
There are no different versions of the nvidia driver you'll always get the newest with pacman -S nvidia. Make sure to also install the 32 bit driver "lib32-nvidia-libgl" but during the steam installation it would have told you to do so. There is also the legacy branch for nvidia if you have card that is older than the 8000 series "nvidia-304xx" which would give the the latest version of that branch which is 304.108 atm. It would also need its own 32 bit versio "lib32-nvidia304xx-utils".
I remember you said something like 'just do a pacman -S nvidia and you're fine'. Does all this you just said come together?
blackout24 Sep 20, 2013 @ 5:43am 
Yes, you have to keep in mind the dependencies.

Let's take the mainline branch of nvidia. You'd need a kernel module (comes with the "nvidia" package), the nvidia helper utilites like nvidia-smi, nvidia-settings, nvidia-xconfig (comes with "nvidia-utils") and the vendor specific OpenGL library ( (comes with "nvidia-libgl").
Now if you install the kernel module "nvidia" it depends on all the other packages otherwise it wouldn't work. So installing "nvidia" is enough to get the newest driver since it will pull in nvidia-libgl and nvidia-utils. It's always good to check out the packages on the archlinux package database:

Earlier the was part of the nvidia-utils package, but it was split up to be more consistent with the other packages like mesa-libgl.

Arch Linux keeps 32 bit and 64 bit strictly separate. That's probably something that you're not used to from Debian/Ubuntu based distros. That's why the 32 bit driver is in the [multilib] repo and has to be installed speparately, since it's not strictly needed by the "regular" driver. Arch will only install what's absolutely needed. After a while you'll see that multilib is much better than on Debian distros.

If you are using x86_64 architecture you'll always pull the 64 bit version of every that is available for 64 bit. If you need the 32 bit version like 32 bit flashplugin for Steam to watch videos you'll install lib32-flashplugin and it will get pulled from [multilib]. If you install i686 Arch Linux you'll install 32 bit versions for everything anyway and won't need multilib.
You have to uncomment [multilib] in /etc/pacman.conf. You might also need it for Skype and Wine which is also only available as 32 bit.

I think the best tip for a new Arch Linux user is to have patience. It certainly isn't for everyone and if something doesn't work it most likely isn't the distros fault. You're just missing something. It takes some time to learn but it's very rewarding if you are the right person for Arch Linux. Some people just don't care about the technical beauty of Arch and it's flexiblity and want something else from a distro which is ok, too.
Last edited by blackout24; Sep 20, 2013 @ 5:52am
Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 6:04am 
Really promising =]
Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 6:05am 
Guess the users on the forums will have to bare with me from now on LOL
blackout24 Sep 20, 2013 @ 7:48am 
Pacman GUIs are crap. Most of them hide any output from you which makes them borderline useless. The pacman output will tell you if there is anything else you'd have to do or if there are pacnew and pacsave files that have to be merged or what optional dependecies there are.

Short example. You install virtualbox with pacman -S virtualbox. It will print out:
"===> You must load vboxdrv module before starting VirtualBox:
===> # modprobe vboxdrv"

Now if you install the same package with a GUI you'll miss this and try to start virtualbox and wonder why it doesn't work and start cursing Arch and go to the wiki and spend 15 minutes doing something that is totally unnecessary, when all you had to do is to read the output.

You'll find these messages in simple bash scripts as *.install files of that particular packages. Like for the vbox-host-modules that will get installed with virtualbox:

They can contain instructions to be displayed after removal, upgrade, installation etc. Some of them are handled with "echo SomeText" some cat "SomeText" so it's hard for GUIs to parse them. If you don't read the pacman output you'll run into trouble sooner or later. pacman syntax is dead simple and doesn't need any GUIs. You'll find out that it's a lot simpler and faster than apt which often requiers multiple commands to do the same thing.

Here is a good comparision which command translates to the same command on other package managers.
Last edited by blackout24; Sep 20, 2013 @ 7:54am
blackout24 Sep 20, 2013 @ 7:57am 
Looking for packages is faster with pacman -Ss searchterm. Or if you use Chrome/Chromium it will have picked up the Arch Linux Packages Search Engine already and when you start typing "ar" in the address line you hit <TAB> and start searching directly.

I like to use zsh with zsh-completions from the AUR it will let you autocomplete for pacman packages and parameters. A lot faster than any GUI.

Last edited by blackout24; Sep 20, 2013 @ 8:01am
R3450N Sep 20, 2013 @ 8:32am 
Debian didn't work out for you, Camila? :|
blackout24 Sep 20, 2013 @ 9:17am 
Originally posted by Core:
Faster if you know the name of what you are looking for maybe. I used it for browsing when I first started, well I used other Package managers on other distros to do that. So I could try out new programs, figure out what I liked. You can't possibly know each and every program by name when you are starting out. In my opinion you should experiment and a GUI makes it easier & faster to do so. I don't and didn't recommend blindly using it to install each and every package, I simply said to check it out and that I use it for quick updates.

If you can't see any use of a GUI Package manager, especially when first starting out, then that's your opinion. But learning about them can't possibly be a bad thing. Having options is what Linux is about and not one thing is for everyone.

- Die typo!

I'd say especially when first starting out using pacman the proper way is an absolute must. You have to know how it works if you don't want to end up just copy pasting any manual intervention instructions into your terminal, without having a clue what they do, because you never had to use pacman.

Same goes for the AUR. The worst thing you can do is to use yaourt just because it has a binary repo which you can paste into /etc/pacman.conf and never learn about makepkg and PKGBUILDs. There is nothing wrong with AUR wrappers just install them with the proper tools atleast so you learn something about the package management.
The proper way is to download and extract the tarball for let's say "pacaur". From take a look at the files and run "makepkg -si" in the directoy.-i for install and -s resolve depencies from the Arch repos that are necessary to build the program. After that you can use pacaur as much as you want. It's really sad how many people really don't know how packaging works which leads to unncesseary threads on the forums. Like described here:
Last edited by blackout24; Sep 20, 2013 @ 9:29am
blackout24 Sep 20, 2013 @ 9:58am 
Sure he has to be aware of the disadvantages though.
Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 6:18pm 
Originally posted by RAVEN MCCCXXXVII:
Debian didn't work out for you, Camila? :|
It worked too well to say the least, I need a bigger challenge ;-)

@topic: I didn't see the need of a GUI to pacman, it seem to handle things in a smart way, even better than apt-get.
Toquinha Sep 20, 2013 @ 8:57pm 
Do you guys enable multilib before installing a DE?

Like this
Blumimic Sep 20, 2013 @ 9:09pm 
Looks like you enabled multilib-testing, you might want to use just multilib instead.
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Date Posted: Sep 20, 2013 @ 4:25am
Posts: 36