Stylized Steam logo

Do you use Steam on Ubuntu? You may have to switch to a new Linux distro in the future. A Valve developer announced that Steam won’t officially support Ubuntu 19.10 or future releases. Ubuntu-based Linux distributions are also affected.

Update: In response to “the huge amount of feedback this weekend,” Canonical announced plans to continue building 32-bit compatibility packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. Valve now says Steam will “likely” support Ubuntu 19.10.

This is all because Canonical announced plans to drop 32-bit packages and libraries from Ubuntu 19.10. These packages enable 32-bit software to run on 64-bit versions of Ubuntu.

While most Linux applications will get along just fine, this is a huge blow to Valve’s Steam. Many Linux games on Steam are only available in 32-bit form—they work on 64-bit Linux distributions, but only with the 32-bit libraries. As Phoronix recently pointed out, this also affects the Wine compatibility layer that allows running Windows software on Linux—Wine won’t be able to run 32-bit Windows software anymore. Steam’s compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux would also not work for 32-bit games.

After Canonical’s announcement, Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais tweeted that Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases “will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users.” Valve will officially support and recommend a different Linux distribution in the future.

The good news is that your existing Ubuntu installation—whether it’s Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”—will continue running Steam and its Linux games for years to come.

The bad news is that Linux gamers who enjoy Ubuntu will likely have to switch to a different Linux distribution in the future—unless Canonical or Valve change course.

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6 and Chicago's WGN-TV, and his work has been covered by news outlets like The New York Times and the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »