Steam Deck

Steam Deck

OT Archmage Mar 25, 2022 @ 1:43pm
Why does updating SteamOS wipe all installed Pacman packages?
It's really infuriating to have to reinstall and set up my AUR/Pacman packages every time it updates, even if there's no noticeable change to the actual Desktop environment. If it were a few niche apps I wouldn't mind, but this includes things I use all the time such as:
- Java 8 (for Minecraft)
- Opera Web Browser
- Resilio Sync (for synchronising emulator save files between my desktop and deck, so pretty important)

It's understandable if there's a technical reason why these things need to be wiped, but I'd like to know what that reason is.
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Silence Mar 25, 2022 @ 2:04pm 
They want to guarantee that updates work as intended. for that reason the system is read only like on android and you has 2 system partitions. one is active and the other is inactive and is used for the next update.

for that reason you should use flatpaks or app images, because that files are saved on the home partition that is not wiped after each update.

you could also use a arch-chroot environment[wiki.archlinux.org] that is located in your home directory and survive updates.
Škoda 14Tr Mar 25, 2022 @ 2:38pm 
Originally posted by One True Archmage:
It's really infuriating to have to reinstall and set up my AUR/Pacman packages every time it updates, even if there's no noticeable change to the actual Desktop environment. If it were a few niche apps I wouldn't mind, but this includes things I use all the time such as:
- Java 8 (for Minecraft)
- Opera Web Browser
- Resilio Sync (for synchronising emulator save files between my desktop and deck, so pretty important)

It's understandable if there's a technical reason why these things need to be wiped, but I'd like to know what that reason is.
The way SteamOS does updates is it treats the system as an image, and it updates said image. The system was never meant to be modified.
OT Archmage Mar 25, 2022 @ 4:29pm 
Originally posted by Silence:
you could also use a arch-chroot environment[wiki.archlinux.org] that is located in your home directory and survive updates.

I didn't know this was an option! Do you have any good resources on how to do this?
@R+5 Mar 25, 2022 @ 5:00pm 
Originally posted by Silence:
you could also use a arch-chroot environment[wiki.archlinux.org] that is located in your home directory and survive updates.

Please make a step by step guide about how to use it.
retrogunner Mar 25, 2022 @ 8:14pm 
As an alternative to an arch-chroot, see the thread over about installing homebrew -- Homebrew-on-Linux[docs.brew.sh].

It allows you have persistent CLI commands, apps, and services in an alternate location. For Linux, the default is to install under /home/linuxbrew/.linuxbrew but could be installed even under /home/deck/.linuxbrew -- but that does limit some of the installs.

Homebrew on Linux would survive Steam Deck OS Updates. (FYI, just the base environment install without apps is ~650MB). I have installed it on my Debian laptop so can start figuring out what I need/want on my Deck. I'll be using Homebrew in addition to Flatpaks & AppImages.
◢ k r i s ◤ Mar 25, 2022 @ 9:54pm 
arch-chroot "${HOME}/persistent-chroot-directory-name-here"
Using arch-chroot shouldn't really require a whole lot of steps. You're basically just creating and using a new file-system hierarchy in a location other than the host's root. It's jailed away so you can store unique users and packages there.

I would be rather surprised if arch-chroot is not already available after each SteamOS image update, since it's part of the arch-install-scripts. https://archlinux.org/packages/extra/any/arch-install-scripts/
I too can only speculate; I am without a Deck :(
BezaoBuilder Mar 26, 2022 @ 9:56am 
It is complicated... Updates are provided as a filesystem image. Most Pacman packages modify this filesystem image by adding new files. When an update comes, it overrides your filesystem image with the new one without asking further.
I don't know why Valve couldn't have implemented a system such as rpm-ostree to let users install packages and preserve it across updates.
Minecraft can be installed from the app store (Discover).
retrogunner Mar 26, 2022 @ 10:19am 
And remember, if you're installing any flakpak, you'll probably want to install Flatseal to modify individual Flatpak's permissions.
https://flathub.org/apps/details/com.github.tchx84.Flatseal

To install MC via Flatpak:

Here's a HowTo text with embedded YT:
https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2022/03/getting-minecraft-and-mods-on-steam-deck-is-nice-and-simple/

And another YT on the same Flatpak method:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTVBqyvFCV8
OT Archmage Mar 26, 2022 @ 10:42am 
I've found a solution(?) that works, just installing the packages through pacman/yay and manually moving the files to the homespace. It works pretty well, even after reinstalling the SteamOS partition. Only downside is no easy updates, but a lot of the apps I use don't require them anyway. Also I imagine it could get messy for packages that store their configs outside of the homespace, but the ones I use have the option to change their locations.
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Date Posted: Mar 25, 2022 @ 1:43pm
Posts: 9