SteamDeck is launching soon – Here’s what r/linux members can do for the Linux community, plus some other tips related to the Steam Deck


The SteamDeck is releasing soon. I know what you're thinking, why a sticky post about this hardware and not other, more open hardware? It's because we're about to get a lot more support requests with the SteamDeck appealing to a crowd unfamiliar with Linux. Are you one of these folks new to Linux? Get started at r/linux4noobs!

The SteamDeck is a Linux-first device – much work has gone into ensuring SteamOS (Arch based) will function with the hardware as well as support provided by Valve. This thread is about helping new Linux users, both on r/linux and elsewhere, and ensuring users stay on Linux and get the best experience. Here's what r/linux members can do:

  • Help with Steam Deck documentation on Linux/gaming wikis – many Steam Deck users may try and install Windows if they cannot use their games running in an easy manner. Most games, even the Windows only via Proton versions, are click and play but not all.

  • Don't forget about mods – Modding can be very specific to a game and the environment it runs on. Helping documentation or other changes for mod(s) will be important too.

  • Browse around your favorite retro community – Various emulation communities will try and tell people to install Windows to use an emulator that works perfectly fine on Linux. Help those communities/subreddits with guides on how to install the emulator in question, ideally on Linux. Please remember to stay within legal boundaries.

  • Help users on the Steam Deck Forums – The main forums will be full of the average gamer rather than Linux enthusiasts. Also consider helping r/linux4noobs / r/linuxquestions / linux_gaming and any dedicated SteamDeck subreddits

  • Don't attack people for installing Windows – While r/linux is about Linux, particularly of the GNU/Linux variety, we shouldn't be belittling a user for using what is familiar. All of the points addressed here should be approached with a friendly attitude, showing them that Linux can do most things Windows can while gaming, plus much more that Windows can't do. When a user encounters something, such as trying to run Adobe software or Fortnite, all we can do is say "Use X if you are willing to switch, but unfortunately Adobe doesn't release most of their software on Linux. You can let them know you want to run it on Linux, but if X doesn't work for you, you may have to install Windows. Here's a dual boot guide."

  • Contact the developers who have Windows/MacOS specific requirements – Email/Tweet/Toot/other contact means developers who are using Windows/MacOS specific items that are preventing the game (or other software) from working on Linux. Most DRMs, such as Easy Anti-Cheat, work on both Wine (Proton) and Linux, with the developer needing to enable it (and test, and support, which isn't a small ask). While you're at it, asking to ship a native version over a Proton version is encouraged.

  • Are you a developer? See SteamDecks documentation here. r/Linux likes native versions best.

Other FAQ

  • Steam Deck? What is that? – It's a Linux device from Valve, the makers of the Steam platform.

  • What OS is it? – It's Valves own OS, called SteamOS, based off of Arch (for some reason, this page isn't yet updated). Previously, SteamOS was Debian based. Yes, it has a full KDE desktop when Steam is minimized.

  • Can I make my own SteamDeck? Well, SteamOS can be installed anywhere but Steam works on all of the Desktop Linux focused distro's, so it's probably better to install your favorite Distro and install Steam from there. Valve themselves don't recommend SteamOS use for the average user, rather it's intended to be used by hardware vendors.

  • No, I mean the hardware. Yes, if you can get a x86 device in that form factor without restrictions on installing an OS, just install SteamOS or your favorite distro and Steam on top of that. However, most hardware in this form factor is actually ARM, with an Android/Linux focus, and is unlikely to be able to run Steam.

  • What are some SteamDeck Alternatives? Some x86 alternatives are, in no particular order and this is not an endorsement: Aya Neo, GPD Win 3, One X Player, OneGX1 Pro. Consider also checking out r/switchhacks for Nintendo Switch and r/vitahacks for PlayStation Vita – although those won't run Steam. This is not a recommendation for these devices, as many actually run Windows. Know of more? Comment!

  • Is the Steam Runtime updated? – As far as I know, the Steam Runtime remains to be Ubuntu based.

  • What is Proton? – It's Valves customizations on top of Wine – which is software that enables Windows software to run on Linux.

  • Can I do remote play to PlayStation consoles? Install Chiaki.

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