Steam for Linux

Steam for Linux

Tele42 Nov 20, 2012 @ 7:20pm
Poll: Should Steam have any root access in an automated system?
I find the most recent update's "fix" for updating /usr/bin/steam inappropriate. Seeing as 99% of the steam client is in the home folder, is there sufficient justification to to let steam bypass the package manager?
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Showing 1-15 of 22 comments
Rain Shinobi Nov 20, 2012 @ 7:25pm 
No for mine.
MIPS Nov 20, 2012 @ 7:45pm 
No, not at all.
Even on a computer used by a single person, proper permission management is key on Linux. Thus I vote nay, Steam shouldn't have any permissions not required to run video games, especially not root access which is reserved for an exceedingly small and controlled set of programs. However I'm confident that the Linux Steam team will modify their paradigm so we may update without sacrificing security.
ndarkduck Nov 20, 2012 @ 8:08pm 
The fewer you need root the most probable is that you would never break the system. If you need any root access try to restrict it only for installation and using the appropiate package managers: apt/yum
DarkStarSword Nov 20, 2012 @ 8:15pm 
I suspect as Steam gets closer to a final release updates to /usr/bin/steam will become a lot rarer. The main thing I disliked about the latest update is that it would break debsums by overwriting a file that is supposed to be managed by the package manager:

ian > debsums steam
/usr/bin/steam FAILED
/usr/lib/steam/bootstraplinux_ubuntu12_32.tar.xz OK
/usr/lib/steam/steam-install-notify OK
/usr/share/applications/steam.desktop OK
/usr/share/doc/steam/changelog.gz OK
/usr/share/doc/steam/copyright OK
/usr/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/apps/steam.png OK
/usr/share/icons/hicolor/24x24/apps/steam.png OK
/usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/steam.png OK
/usr/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/steam.png OK
/usr/share/man/man6/steam.6.gz OK
/usr/share/pixmaps/steam.xpm OK
Usquebaughe Nov 20, 2012 @ 9:01pm 
no i agree with Darkstarsword
Jawso Nov 20, 2012 @ 9:20pm 
I say no, it can forward the information to a package manger to install the required software and drivers. The only thing Steam should have root access on is updating the Source.list file to add needed software that doesn't exist in the file.(Preferably adding the software sources at the end of the file instead of erasing the whole thing...)
Last edited by Jawso; Nov 20, 2012 @ 9:26pm
Fossbug Nov 21, 2012 @ 1:02am 
No, it should not bypass the package system if possible. Although this might be problematic with the different package managers. If not then just be package manager independent and remain separate altogether.

Root access for installing system-wide is fine but if you can't / don't want to integrate with the native package manager than please install to and work in /opt/. This is available in just about every distro these days and it's what that dir is for.
Last edited by Fossbug; Nov 21, 2012 @ 1:04am
sortie Nov 21, 2012 @ 4:15am 
It's just rude to bypass the package manager and pretend you can do better. Rather, it would be optimal if Valve provided a repository and customers add it to their apt/sources.list. This way the package manager will do the work. Note that the data in /usr is simply bootstrap code so a new Steam directory can be created, as well as information so a desktop shortcut can be installed. (Of course, the current way can be suitable for alien distributions or installations without package management.) (Steam can continue its own package management in ~/Steam for all I care. That is what Steam is for.)
StuieT Nov 21, 2012 @ 4:49am 
Not only should Steam not bypass the package manager, asking for root acces is downright dangerous. While valve are probably trustworthy, teaching people that typing passwords whenever requested could have disastrous consequences later on.
ElectricKetchup Nov 21, 2012 @ 5:28am 
If they change files that are maintained by the package, they are probably breaking checksums which would trigger some intrusion detection systems
axeolin Nov 21, 2012 @ 5:41am 
Originally posted by Sortie (x86_64-gnu-linux):
It's just rude to bypass the package manager and pretend you can do better.

Hmm, let's use some logic here.

What is Steam? Something that installs game software on Windows and Mac and now Linux.

So, I think the premise of Steam is pretty much that they pretend they can do better :)

Why is Steam on linux? is it because Gabe sat under a tree at the company picnic playing a guitar? No. Is it because they want to embrace the OSS ideal? Haha, ok let's stop laughing for a moment and think why Gabe likes windows 7 and not windows 8

Windows 7 - Lets steam run and install games
Windows 8 - Clearly wants everything to go through some kind of apple like store / package management thing.

So why Linux? That's right, because he wants to be able to run Steam on an "open" platform, just like he did with Windows 7. Windows 7 isn't open? It is in the way that they want it to be open.

That's not to say they don't want to regard permissions and avoiding root access and so on - and yes, I suppose Steam itself, at least the initial part could be installed via apt using the package manager and with a repository.

But newsflash folks - Steam is all about installing games on your computer itself. So it's expected it is going to be doing that and expected that it will likely avoid things like store fronts or package managers.

Perhaps they'll find a way to do that and to avoid stepping on package managers toes, but I wouldn't expect to be typing apt-get install tf2 anytime soon. (At least I'll be very surprised if that ever happens)

But if you look at windows you'll see that lots of applications (google chrome, steam) more or less bypass the standard windows way of installing software to do their own thing and to pretend they can do it better.

Although ironically google chrome does it to avoid needing to be administrator (i.e to let users install it without needing permissions to write to program files)

As for typing root to install steam or whatever, I don't really see the big issue. I notice that ubuntu is always asking me to type the sudo password in, so I don't buy this idea that it's that different from other linux applications.

Although if Steam can install itself and the games without needing root, fair enough, that gets my vote. As for where it installs things, I don't care too much so long as you can change the default and tell it where you want it, and choose more than one place so when we've got hundreds of games we can spread them (which is relatively recent windows feature for steam)
Last edited by axeolin; Nov 21, 2012 @ 5:47am
etam Nov 21, 2012 @ 6:09am 
I think that there are two ways of solving the issue:
1) Package manager way:
Requires that every user has personal repo.
- Steam and games installation and updates are performed by package manager.
- Very distro specific.

2) Userspace way:
Steam is installed in user's home directory. "steam" starting shell script can be in /home/$USER/bin. Requires custom installer.
- No root needed
- No fooling package manager
- Every user has his own copies of games files.

In by opinion either way is good. But right now Steam is something between these two and has disadvantages of both.
StuieT Nov 21, 2012 @ 6:24am 
@axeolin The issue with me isn't having all the games installable through apt-get (or your personal package manager of choice) but the updating of a package in /usr that was previously installed with the package manager, outside the package manager. If it was indtalled in /opt outside the package manager this would be more aceptable but at the momentsteam is asking that we give it root access to change files that the package manager believes it has access to.

By mentioning apt-get install tf2 I believe you are setting up a straw man. I would be surprised if there were many people believing that the installation of any games were using apt, As these games are installed in the home directory, and are external to the package manager i.e. the package manager knows nothing about them, conflicts are not going to arise.
Here's the problem: Valve needs to be able to update Steam on demand, if there's a way of hooking into update-manager (On Ubuntu at least) to do that, great, otherwise I don't think they can use the package manager. But yes, it would be much better for Steam to use a package manager. (In addition, why don't they just install to /opt? It's not like on windows steam is installed to every person's home directory.)
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Date Posted: Nov 20, 2012 @ 7:20pm
Posts: 22