Steam on Linux - A work in progress, or working - We'll see shortly!

By Leeky
Nov 30, 2010
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  1. So having got my assignment submitted this afternoon, (just found out I got 89% by the way!) I was kicking for something to do and came up with the idea to see if I could persuade Linux to run Office 2007 - It works well by the way!

    So then I thought what else can I try, then came up with the idea of trying steam...

    So I downloaded it, and then proceeded to install it...

    [​IMG]

    OK, so it installed, and then updated all well and good, and came up with the membership screen... So I made one up, just to test it for now..

    [​IMG]

    That completed happily too... I now have steam installed and running in Linux...

    [​IMG]

    A couple of things I noticed:

    1. It seems very quick so far, hehe :)
    2. It would only update at 400kB/s, less than 10% my total download speed, maybe it was the steam servers though.

    So far so good.

    Tomorrows fun will include me doing the following:

    1. symlinking my current steam directories to save me having to download all my games again.
    1b. Adding my SSD to automount at boot, so it can find the symlinked folders.
    2. Adding my real account once the above is done.
    3. testing it with my games, and see how they respond to use - If they work at all. We'll soon find out.

    Looks encouraging so far, and wasted some time for me! :haha:

    More to come tomorrow.
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,378   +98

    So, had another little play with it this morning.. :)

    Got my account setup now, and its showing my games having linked my 'steamapps' folder. The games are showing, and L4D2 is working, as is TF2, all be it slowly. L4D2 will load up, but then dies. HF2 runs fine, though somewhat laggy, but it runs.

    So I'm going to have more of a play in a bit, and maybe try and find out what these games depend on in order to run in Windows. I'm also going to double check my driver, and see if I can't use a slightly newer, or older, but more compatible version for my GPU.

    Should keep me out of trouble with the missus for a couple of days any road! :haha:
  3. steeve

    steeve Newcomer, in training Posts: 192

    at first i thought you had given your thread the encouraging title: Steam on, Linux! (not being familiar with Steam)

    is that Mint you are running? and in what environment dd you get office 2007 to function?
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,378   +98

    Yes, Linux mint 10... Based on Ubuntu 10.10, 64 bit version.

    Its running through Wine (Wine is not an emulator). It enpowers you to run Windows software natively on your Linux desktop, as if its running on a real windows platform.
  5. steeve

    steeve Newcomer, in training Posts: 192

    ok that's good to know. (not that i use ms office unless sharing files with someone who does).
    there is also crossover which enjoyed some front page a while back.

    how do like mint? presumably it's independent of cannonical?
  6. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    interesting. i tried doing the same thing awhile back with an older version of steam and ubuntu but with no success. i'd be even more interested in a game support list being compiled and how they stack up against running on Windows. i know that's a lot to ask for but it would be handy to say the least :)
  7. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,378   +98

    I think on higher end cards you'd be just fine, but I think I can safely say my HD4670 just doesn't have the performance to enable decent FPS when running the games so far.

    That was with the open source driver for my ATi card. I then installed the latest 64 bit Catalyst 10.11 driver, and it made an instant difference to performance.

    That said, TF2 now refuses to run since changing from open source GPU drivers to the genuine drivers from ATi.

    Right now its hard to say really, I need to do more work before I can come up with any reasonable answers - But i think with my planned HD6870 upgrade, even with the GPU only running at 50% it output in Linux, I'm going to see massive improvements, assuming the official drivers support it correctly.

    What I have found out so far though:

    1. Steam installs, updates and run without absolutely any fault of any kind.
    2. I linked the "steamapps" directory from my W7 SSD, and it will happily use this meaning I don't have two seperate downloaded files to run it in each OS.
    3. Portal, HF2 (all of them), all work - All be it slower than they should.
    4. "shift/tab" works absolutely fine in games, and I was even talking to Matthew earlier whilst testing the features in linux. So it works fine in that respect.
    5. Portal ran without any real noticeable difference, but the screen immediately proceeding the Valve picture was badly distorted - It however went to the main menu absolutely fine, and then proceeded to start up, and play fine - With the exception of it feeling like it was underpowered GPU wise and slightly glitchy as a result.
    6. TF2 no longer works since changing from the open source driver to the AMD supplied Catalyst 10.11 driver. So I need to investigate that, and maybe try running it directly from its game folder instead of through steam to see if it makes a difference.

    There is probably more, but I've forgotten, as I'm not really doing this as a full report style analysis. Once complete though, if the findings are good, I may consider a step by step guide to achieving it all.

    The problem is, proprietory drivers in my experience have a nasty habit of breaking the desktop, and recovering the damage caused by there installation is somewhat tedious at times - Unlike Windows its never going to be a one type does all affair unfortunately. That said, it should be good for Ubuntu 10.10 based installs though.

    If I can get it running properly to a point where its feasible to test it all, I'm quite happy to listen to advice on how to do it fairly, and correctly and then do said reports. I think its safe to say it will never be as good as Windows though, with the exception of GPU performance. If you have enough GPU capacity spare, then you should be able to run them at very good settings. Normally my HD4670 is good for most games (I'm yet to find one that won't play and that includes Crysis), but its no powerhouse either, and I feel I'm seriously pushing the boundaries with this card for games in Linux,

    The impression I get is they just don't work with the same efficiency as they do with Windows. So while windows can use the full 100% of my GPU, I doubt Linux is using 60% of it when you factor in the way Wine is effectively translating everything into a way Linux can understand. With that in mind, I think its logical to assume that during this process of "translation" I'm losing GPU performance - If I had a HD6870 I dare say the loss would be less suficiant. Once I have my MomentusXT or SSD drive for linux installed, and my HD6870 we can really see how the performance is!

    I quite like it actually. Ubuntu was the first distro I ever used, and despite wanting to advance further with distros like Gentoo or Slackware I've always kept it running on something - My MSI laptop uses Ubuntu 10.10 netbook edition to great effect.

    Linux Mint can use either Debian as a backend, or Ubuntu - In pretty much all the regular GUI environments (I've forgotten the real name for this), but Gnome is my favourite. KDE, XFCE and others are offered though, as is 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

    It comes more media friendly more than anything, so you don't need to mess around getting codecs and settings, flash and java in order to make it "everyday workable". I also like the menu, which is very KDE like, but without the really annoying way you navigate the KDE program menu - Something I can't stand!

    All in all I'm very impressed, and prefer the cleaner, more Gnome "default" look of the GUI. In recent times Ubuntu/Canonical have gone the route of customising and almost creating a "Ubuntu Gnome GUI", rather than use the one produced like everyone else. I don't like things like the social networking menu in Ubuntu, which of course isn't in Linux Mint.

    More crucially, because its Ubuntu inside, everything works as Ubuntu should, down to the software and methods used to install it. So its got me to somewhere I'm happier, without sacrificing the knowledge I've learned for Ubuntu over the last several years.
  8. steeve

    steeve Newcomer, in training Posts: 192

    thanks for that review of mint - i'll give it a try
  9. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,271   +257

    I've gotten many less demanding games to work fine in wine on ubuntu with an nVidia card, but I've heard it's a little rougher going with an ATI card. Games I think I remember not having issues with are TF2, Portal, HL2, Q2, and Q3. Maybe some of the unreal games too and Diablo II.
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,378   +98

    Yeah, us ATi boys have had problems since the get go to be honest. Things are much better than they used to be, but I'm not overly sure if its now a level playing field, or whether nVidia is still much better supported.

    I won't really know if my GPU is holding me back til its replaced though, but I need to see just how good the support is for AMD now, because I could be wiser using nVidia cards instead.
  11. Not sure about the others, but the Quake series run native (Doom I/II and Doom3 also) so you don't need wine. UT, UT2K3 and UT2K4 also run native.

    The graphics card is not the problem, the problem is that you're running native windows games, under wine on a linux system. The wine directx/direct3d support is experimental at best. You're lucky to get the games running at all in fact. It's best to check the wine app db before attempting anything.

    If you have a Radeon HD 4xxx series card, then you are running a R700 series GPU. To get any kind of decent OpenGL rendering for this you will need the proprietary (fglrx) drivers anyway.

    ATI proprietary drivers are ok, but Nvidia's OpenGL perfomance has always been superior. On the plus side ATI do release specs to the open source developers which is why the xorg radeon and radeonhd drivers have moved on a lot recently.
     
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,378   +98

    Thats the point I was trying to make, all be it nowhere near as good as you did. I still think my GPU makes a difference, and a newer one would make it easier on my GPU all round though.

    I did a fair bit of searching before I went ahead and did this, but most of what I have read so far is the complete opposite of what I've already achieved.

    As such it makes it very hard for me to place trust, or any real regard for whats been written when I'm already running software that apparently isn't possible to run in Linux. So rather than read conflicting information online I've decided to just have a go at it myself.

    At the end of the day its not essential, and having a W7 install isn't the end of the world, I only use it for gaming anyway - I just wanted to see if it was possible. Either way I'll learn something from all of this, so I've nothing to lose.
  13. If you upgrade to a HD 5xxx series (evergreen chip) you will pretty much have to use fglrx for opengl.

    The xorg radeon drivers needs time to catch up:

    http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature

    http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonProgram
  14. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,378   +98

    But that shouldn't make any difference to the proprietary drivers I'm using anyway.

    If I use the latest drivers from AMD I should be good to go with any AMD GPU surely?
  15. Yes, as I said you will have to install fglrx.

    fgrlx is only good for AMD/ATI cards newer than the X series. Support for the X series and older radeons was dropped.


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