Steam and Ubuntu: support until 2025 and 20.04 LTS

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 1, 2019
Games, Linux

Steam customers who run the gaming client on Ubuntu machines were in for a shock when Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, announced that it would not support 32-bit packages on Ubuntu going forward. Valve Software, parent company of Steam, revealed that Steam would not support Ubuntu anymore once the change landed and that Valve would not recommended Ubuntu either anymore.

Ubuntu has been the only Linux distribution that Steam supported officially up until now. While Steam works fine on many other Linux distributions, Valve would not offer any kind of support if Steam was not run on Ubuntu.

The dropping of 32-bit packages from Ubuntu would pose serious troubles for Steam going forward. Valve notes that the Steam client requires 32-bit libraries and while Valve might be able to fix that in time, Linux users would find out soon thereafter that thousands of games would not play anymore because they required 32-bit environments.

steam-linux-windows game compatibility

Steam relies on certain components that need to be available on the systems the software is run on, and some of these happen to be 32-bit.

There's a lot more to the technical and non-technical reasons behind our concerns, but the bottom line is that we would have had to drop what we're doing and scramble to support the new scheme in time for 19.10. We weren't confident we could do that without passing some of the churn to our users, and it would not solve the problems for third-party software outside of Steam upon which many of our users rely.

Canonical, as a response, published a statement in which it announced that the next Ubuntu releases, 19.10 and 20.04 LTS, would include "selected 32-bit i386 packages". The company plans to involve the community to find out which 32-bit packages are needed to run legacy software and games.

For mid-term, Canonical wants to "work with the WINE, Ubuntu Studio and gaming communities to use container technology to address the ultimate end of life of 32-bit libraries".

The company notes that it had several motivations for the decision to drop 32-bit packages including that these receive limited testing and that many Spectre and Meltdown mitigations are not available for 32-bit systems.

Valve Software, while admitting that it is not "thrilled" about the removal of existing functionality, said that it welcomes the plan and that it seems likely that the company can "continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu" as a consequence.

The company plans to look at distribution support going forward and considers working "closer with many more distribution maintainers in the future".

Support for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ends in 2025 at the earliest. Valve improved game support on Linux recently by introducing a new feature called Steam Play which brings more Windows games to Linux.

Now You: Have you tried Steam on Linux? What is your take?

Steam and Ubuntu: support until 2025 and 20.04 LTS
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Steam and Ubuntu: support until 2025 and 20.04 LTS
Ubuntu will continue to ship with 32-bit packages required to run legacy applications and games, including those on the Steam gaming platform.
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  1. Stan Sok said on December 6, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Steam on Ubuntu is not worth trying. Super buggy. Nothing works. It is not really usable beyond looking at your account details. No game works either standalone or trough PlayOnLinux

  2. noemata said on July 4, 2019 at 10:23 am

    @ lux

    _your_ “rules” have a (logical) limit. BTW, the last sentence and the entire posting was written in the context of “satire” (and in the context of a famous and notorious arch – user – statement), which always has a “true core”. socially – developed beings recognize that too.

    & “a solution” is already there (regarding these people, who are actually responsible (i’m not talking about companies or managers) for our contaminated web, the non – ethical technology – industry as a whole (only one small example: ) & everything associated with it) :

    that’s the “rules”.

    & of course, another, deeper solution whould be “non-algortihmic understanding” (which is indistinguishable from “self – evident / non – constructed ethics”). the metaphor (and only a metaphor) :

    and another great metaphor, regarding coder end – user (and much more, based on the respective context) :

    ps: ad hominem – arguments are inappropriate. i usually only respond with two words. you’re lucky, dear human – being (never forget that).

    1. lux said on July 4, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      @ noemata

      How did i ad-homiem you? Quite odd you would think that. *shrug*

      I was speaking in generalities, not specific to you.
      Simply speaking as to the common faults of emotional logic.
      Good day.

  3. lux said on July 3, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    @ martin brinkman

    any reply to my questions?

  4. lux said on July 3, 2019 at 9:22 pm


    Hate is a function of emotion and i find that emotional people base their logic off emotion, rather then emotion based from logic.
    Sad. because; there would be much more productive discourse ergo; development, if people would base their arguments within the rules of debate and drop emotional arguments.

  5. noemata said on July 3, 2019 at 9:59 am

    @2nd anonymous: blue hat .. it’s “blue” .. hat. and it’s .. bad. military, governments, a.i. – nonsense & other stuff. fedora is the upstream to hell. and linux – people don’t care, per se. and geeks are particularly well known for their “social competence”. you can see that, in the whole linux – community (BTW, i hate arch – users).

  6. Ascrod said on July 2, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I wonder if Ubuntu derivatives such as Mint be affected by this decision?

    1. DG55 said on July 2, 2019 at 4:47 pm

      Sooner or later snaps mature and ubuntu is going to make a snap of steam.
      It was stupid they tried to rush things.
      If you look at their store gog galaxy is already a snap and more and more wine based software are distributed as snaps.
      Their end goal is all wine/windows software and all linux software including 32-bit software to be distributed as snaps (it’s not a bad idea, easy installation of windows programs sandboxed doesn’t sound a bad idea to me).
      Other ubuntu derivatives will have to maintain the 32-bit packages themselves or become debian derivatives.
      Not a bad idea from ubuntu’s perspective to get rid of the derivatives.

      1. Ascrod said on July 2, 2019 at 10:00 pm

        @DG55 Honestly I prefer already-mature apt/ppas over snaps for a number of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that not every old 32-bit (or 16-bit!) piece of software is going to get a snap made of it. I’d rather install WINE once and then add whatever software/games I want, rather than having to install a snap for every single thing.

        On the subject of Ubuntu getting rid of the derivatives, one could also say that the derivatives would be getting rid of Ubuntu, and that’d be just fine by me. ;)

      2. DG55 said on July 3, 2019 at 10:27 am

        @Ascrod, they don’t care about it. They want to get rid of you and me (desktop users), the derivatives etc. Ubuntu tried for years to get more users to linux. What they got in return? Hate and a huge debt. On the other hand Red Hat is making billions by not offering a distro for casual users directly and focus on areas that print money. Canonical last year was profitable for the time and they are going to folllow this route, focus on IoT and servers. Sooner or later linux community will have to find somebody else to hate, Canonical is leaving the desktop dream and want to focus on profits.

  7. Will said on July 2, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    I am not a gamer so I haven’t tried this myself,but may be of interest to some.

    This Distro no longer supports 32 bit,but,

  8. Peterc said on July 2, 2019 at 6:06 am

    My question is, when are we going to start seeing some CPUs that *don’t have* any of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities? Seems like not too long ago, a *new* Spectre variant was discovered…

    1. AdvancedMenuDinners said on July 3, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      When you buy AMD.

      1. lux said on July 3, 2019 at 9:29 pm

        Wasn’t it intel’s CEO: Brian Krzanich; That sold the majority of his stock the day before disclosure?
        After sitting on the info for years btw.

        Be afraid intel fanboys: the 3950x is coming ;)

  9. Deo et Patriae said on July 2, 2019 at 5:12 am

    In an other note, I’d like clean Windows 64 bit wtithout any 32bit libraries. They could release such a version and see how it’s going to go.

  10. Anonymous said on July 2, 2019 at 12:22 am

    Use Fedora. No UKUU required to get up to date kernels, the software is more up to date than Ubuntu and Mesa doesn’t need a PPA to work properly. Basically, it just works + 32 bit libraries are still available. Ubuntu wants to containerize everything – nothing like wrapping an OS around an application. Great for poor frame rates, spinning fans, flatlined internet connections, large hard drive sales, high power consumption and terrible user experience…. Would rather use Windows.

    1. Tom said on July 2, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Remember you still have to enable the mainline kernel but after that it will download and update automatically along with other updates. Thats something that irked me with Ubuntu for a long time and was a blessing when I switched to Fedora.

      I agree that PPAs are getting old and Fedora (when combined with RPM Fusion) works far better with updates. Snaps could help with Ubuntu but the graphics drivers would have to be passthrough which would cause more problems and would be an obvious hole in the Snap sand box security. Not that Snaps are all that secure anyway when using Xorg. Fedoras Wayland support is far better than Ubuntus, so ironically Fedora would be better at running Fatpak / Snap.

      I dont know how long Fedora will keep 32 bit support but if it is anything like Redhat then probably a long time. Same with Debian really.

      I certainly use a lot of 32 bit software with WINE and Fedora always works fine. Not tested Steam but I would imagine it would be the same.

      1. Kommenter said on July 3, 2019 at 6:51 pm

        From Mint, to Kubuntu to a mainline, which mainline would you recommend?

      2. Anonymous said on July 4, 2019 at 12:03 am

        KDE users love to fiddle with their OS, I would imagine they would be quite capable of installing a kernel. As for Mint, well… Perhaps the answer would be the “best kernel” and that generally is the newest – more secure with meltdown / spectre, fixed CVE’s, latest drivers for gaming, faster response, better support… Maybe Ubuntu could integrate kernel updates with apt like Fedora does with dnf?

    2. Anonymous said on July 2, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Fedora would be the last distro to use. Why would I want to be a beta test for IBM for free? Do you work for IBM or you are just fooled by them? Many people have fooled by them.

      1. Anonymous said on July 3, 2019 at 11:37 pm

        You mean Redhat which runs independently from IBM?

  11. Sunny said on July 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Imagine if Microsoft says that with the next upgrade, Windows 10 will no longer support 32bit software.
    That would lead to problems for many consumers and companies.
    Why did Canonical not see dropping 32bit software would be a problem?
    And no, containers are not a solution. They take up too much space and memory and updating libraries in containers is more complex.

    1. Lambo-san said on July 2, 2019 at 6:40 am


      Microsoft won’t drop 32-bit support anytime soon. They have too much to lose from such a decision and THEY KNOW that their Apps crap is crap and inferior to 32-bit software.

      The only reason I’m using Windows 10 on my new PC and haven’t moved to Linux is because despite how bad Windows 10 is, everything still works out of the box. When the time comes that I have to waste hours on end just to tweak a single program to maybe, somewhat work, like it currently is in Linux, I’d just switch to Linux straight up. But I doubt that time will ever happen and for as long as I’m gaming, I have to stick to Windows.

  12. Squuiid said on July 1, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Same issue with macOS. Catalina is out in late September/early October and it also drops 32bit app support entirely. Steam is the only 32bit app I use on macOS and it doesn’t look like Steam are in any hurry to release a 64bit version.

    1. AxMi-24 said on July 2, 2019 at 5:14 pm

      Apparently there is a 64bit version for MacOS but you have to install it manually. It can’t update itself.

      That is at least what I have heard. However, it fixes the steam client only not the games requiring 32bit libraries.

  13. AnorKnee Merce said on July 1, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    It is disturbing that Canonical-Ubuntu is the first and only Linux distro seeking the ultimate removal of 32bit libraries, to be replaced by containers like Ubuntu’s new Snap apps. Bear in mind that 32bit libraries for backwards compatibility on 64bit systems is quite different from 32bit ISO files.

    Is Canonical-Ubuntu trying to save on manpower costs or do less work but inconveniencing/annoying the users = hostile to users.?

    1. DG55 said on July 2, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      Wrong, pcLinuxos is the first. They recommend now to install steam as a flatpak.
      Sooner or later ubuntu is going to make a snap of Steam.
      It was stupid they tried to rush things, but like it or not, all distributions will end up to use canonical’s snaps or redhat’s flatpaks.

      1. John Fenderson said on July 3, 2019 at 5:01 pm

        @DG55: “all distributions will end up to use canonical’s snaps or redhat’s flatpaks.”

        As long as their use doesn’t become mandatory. I dislike snaps and flatpacks.

      2. AnorKnee Merce said on July 3, 2019 at 12:37 am
      3. AnorKnee Merce said on July 3, 2019 at 12:33 am

        @ DG55

        You are correct. PcLinuxOS dropped 32bit libraries in May 2016. Was it a good move.? Seems Ubuntu will be the second in Oct 2019.

        All Linux distros dropping 32bit libraries and moving to Snaps or Flatpaks will likely end with desktop Linux losing more users. …

      4. DG55 said on July 3, 2019 at 10:22 am

        @Anon, they don’t care about it. Ubuntu tried for years to get more users to linux. What they got in return? Hate and a huge debt. On the other hand Red Hat is making billions by not offering a distro for casual users directly and focus on areas that print money. Canonical last year was profitable for the time and they are going to folllow this route, focus on IoT and servers. Sooner or later linux community will have to find somebody else to hate, Canonical is leaving the desktop dream and want to focus on profits.

      5. AnorKnee Merce said on July 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm

        @ DG55

        According to your logic, Red Hat Inc should be the first one to drop support for 32bit libraries in desktop Fedora, CentOS and RHEL, and not PcLinuxOS and Canonical Inc-Ubuntu.

        Fyi, Servers used by the enterprises serve Desktops used by the employees and customers of the enterprises/companies/websites. They go hand in hand but more money is made from the enterprises, via sales of OS licenses or subscriptions for extended support or full 24/7 on-location tech support(= RHEL).

      6. DG55 said on July 3, 2019 at 2:57 pm

        @Anon, you just don’t get it.
        Red Hat Inc is a multi-billion corporation.
        They can afford to keep libraries and things that make no profit but are still needed in some areas. Like Microsoft can do the same.
        Canonical can’t afford it right now. They are in the process of becoming from a corp with debts to profitable and later go IPO.

      7. AnorKnee Merce said on July 3, 2019 at 6:04 pm

        @ DG55

        Your logic falls flat when wealthy Apple Inc has also recently dropped support for 32bit libraries/software in MacOS.
        ……. Many “evil” companies like to cut costs in order to increase profits and/or executive pay but others gonna pay for such moves as victims, eg M$ shut down her Windows Testing Division in 2014 and replaced it with gullible Windows Insiders and forced unpaid Win 10 Home beta-testers = more buggy forced auto-updates/upgrades.

        That’s also just excuses made up by Canonical Inc-Ubuntu to cut costs at the expense of good user-experience and to push users onto the closed-off Ubuntu Snap Store ala Android’s Play Store at the expense of other Linux distros.
        ……. There are tens of other less resourceful Linux distros still continuing to maintain support for 32bit libraries for the sake of important backwards compatibility, eg Suse Linux Ent/Opensuse, Debian/MX-Linux, Archlinux/Manjaro, Pop! OS, Peppermint OS, Linux Lite, Zorin OS, Puppy Linux, etc.

      8. DG55 said on July 3, 2019 at 9:56 pm

        They are dropping all costly projects unrelated with servers and IoT.
        They started with Unity, Ubuntu phones and they are going to do the same to 32-bit and everything else not related with their income.
        They are preparing to go IPO, they need to maximize as much as possible their income.
        They are in a very different position than Red Hat, Suse, Apple, Microsoft etc.
        Nobody of them is in preparation to go IPO.
        About your comment about play store, are you complaining about elementary/pop’s os store too which is exactly the same and locked on their distros?
        The way to install the elementary apps in other distros is with flatpaks, they don’t offer debs or rpms.
        At least Canonical has released Snapception which gives you a way to install any snap in any distro you want without needing their ubuntu/gnome store.
        Also you should make a research about snaps, I mean if actually snaps need a store in the first place.
        They don’t even need a store, you can download a snap and install it.
        Like exe files in Windows or app in MacOS.
        Now about 32-bit, Linux Mint announced some hours ago that they drop 32-bit. And I really doubt if Pop and Zorin have the resourses to maintain anything, there is a difference to say that I am capable to do something in future and actually do it myself when the time comes to do it.

      9. AnorKnee Merce said on July 4, 2019 at 5:52 pm

        @ DG55

        Upstart and Unity were dropped by Canonical-Ubuntu because they were unpopular and causing her to lose users. Ubuntu Touch phones was a failed and money-losing project that could not compete against Google-Android phones, Play Store and Google’s imposition of the Anti-Fragmentation policy on her OEM partners.

        If Canonical’s Snap apps gain ascendancy, the Ubuntu Snap Store, like the Google Play Store, will have to be preinstalled by other Linux distros because Snap apps are distro-agnostic, like RHEL’s Flatpak and AppImage. This will drive desktop Linux users towards Ubuntu, instead of other Linux distros; like how phone-users were driven to Android, instead of Ubuntu Touch, Mozilla Firefox OS, Cyanogenmod, Sailfish OS, etc.

        Fyi, Linux Mint did not recently announced the dropping of 32bit library support ala Canonical Inc-Ubuntu. LM recently announced that she will be dropping 32bit ISO files for LM 20 next year.

        Fyi, Pop! OS is backed by System76, a Linux OEM.

      10. Anonymous said on July 5, 2019 at 2:49 am

        Unity was dropped because they gave up on desktop/mobile “unity” dreams. Because they don’t want to keep making debts, they want to become profitable. This has nothing to do with “losing users” in desktop. If that was the reason they would have dropped it years ago.
        Nobody has to install canonical’s store. Again before making such claims read unbiased sites about what snaps can and cannot do.
        Every distro can make their own store with their own snaps, they don’t have to use Canonical’s repos, who told you that they can’t use their own repos?
        Like Mint does for debs instead of using canonical’s repos. Other distros like elementary use canonical’s repos.
        Now about Mint, what they really announced by dropping 32-bit isos is that they can’t keep maintaining anything without ubuntu’s back. Sad but true, unless they become an Arch or Fedora based distro. Debian is not really an option, too old packages.
        About System76, you are overestimating them. I do get that there are people who think they matter because they sell linux laptops, but they are a small company that is even incapable to sell with physical stores outside North America. Anyway most System76 hardware is actually rebranded models from Clevo.

      11. nice said on July 3, 2019 at 12:30 am

        Nice, had no idea. The best part no one made a fuzz about it which shows how much Ubuntu is used even though it is disliked, as well its parent company, every time they try to make “changes” to make things better.

        Last time i tried PClinuxOS i considered it better than Ubuntu and Mint, back when “Full monty” was still a thing.

        Sad part is i dislike Flatpaks and Snaps with a passion.

  14. John Fenderson said on July 1, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    “Have you tried Steam on Linux? What is your take?”

    I had tried it when it was first supported, but I stopped using Steam entirely after that. At the time, it seemed fine as far as Steam goes.

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