Steam is the most popular platform for PC games, and there’s more work than ever going into Linux support with the arrival of the Steam Deck. Now there’s an upgraded version of the Snap package for Steam, aiming to make desktop Linux gaming even easier.

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, partnered with Valve earlier this year to create a containerized ‘Snap’ package for Steam. The Snap package bundles Steam with all required graphics and API libraries in one easy download for any Linux distribution that supports Snap — including Ubuntu, KDE Neon, Debian, Fedora, Pop!_OS, and others.

image of Steam on Ubuntu

Canonical has now rolled out updates to the Steam Snap. The main improvement is that Steam games will use bleeding-edge versions of the Mesa graphics library, provided by the popular “Oibaf” repository. Canonical said in a blog post, “this means your games will be able to take advantage of bleeding edge Mesa libraries without impacting the stability of your system or the overhead of adding the PPA and re-enabling after upgrading.”

There are more updates for the Snap package on the way, too. Canonical is working on migrating the Mesa libraries to a content Snap, so they can be managed independently of Steam — for example, you could choose the older stable drivers if you run into problems with newer versions. The Proton compatibility layer for running Windows games will also be enabled by default at some point.

Snap packages are still controversial, since they aren’t fully an open standard (Canonical controls the only Snap ‘app store’), and can have performance and usability drawbacks. However, Steam and installed games seem like the perfect use case for container technology like Snap — games rarely need access to external files, and non-games software usually doesn’t need bleeding-edge graphics drivers.

Steam is available from Snapcraft. If you still don’t like Snap, or your Linux distro doesn’t have it installed, Steam is still available as a regular Debian package. There’s also a community-developed Flatpak version, ideal for distributions not based on Debian.

Source: Ubuntu

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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