Remove steam and add to sync blacklist

Bug #1759715 reported by Jeremy Bicha
22
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
steam (Ubuntu)
Invalid
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Summary
-------
The steam package is too complicated to maintain well in Ubuntu. It would actually be better for our users if they would just use either the Flatpak, the Snap (not in the Snap Store yet but soon!), or even the steampowered .deb that Valve supports.

Please remove steam and add it to the sync blacklist so that it won't be automatically re-added to Ubuntu.

Details
-------
1. If a user happens to install Steam from the prominent link at
http://store.steampowered.com/

and already has distro steam packages installed, it will break as the steampowered packages ship the same files as the distro packages but without setting up the proper breaks relationships.

This is a complicated problem to solve as Steam wants to have a single .deb file and the Debian maintainer prefers to split the package into separate binary packages and doesn't care about what Steam does on their website.

2. steam is a 32-bit app only but nearly all Ubuntu 18.04 users will be 64-bit. This doesn't work well with the Ubuntu/GNOME Software app (LP: #1718453). I had to add an arch:all "installer" package (with AppStream metadata) that depends on the 32-bit package in order for Steam to be installable on Ubuntu 17.04 and 17.10 (LP: #1564570).

But the workaround has problems. The Ubuntu/GNOME Software app does not uninstall unused dependencies so uninstalling Steam won't actually uninstall Steam (LP: #1741047).

3. Apparently, appstream has gotten stricter about app icons so the steam-installer package I added will need to include its own app icons instead of relying on the icons shipped in the steam package. This is fixable, but it's a pain and no one has done it yet (LP: #1754852)

4. Steam is available via Flatpak now on Flathub.
https://beta.flathub.org/apps/details/com.valvesoftware.Steam

5. A Steam Snap is being worked on. See below.

6. As a proprietary closed-source app with strict library dependencies, arguably Snap or Flatpak are a better place for Steam anyway.

Snap Status
-----------
Currently requires --edge and --devmode so it won't show up in the Ubuntu/GNOME Software app yet. Probably won't be there in time for the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

https://github.com/solus-project/linux-steam-integration

Flatpak
-------
https://flathub.org/apps/details/com.valvesoftware.Steam

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha)
description: updated
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha)
description: updated
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in steam (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in steam (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → New
Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Or at least remove the steam-installer package that is not working anymore.

Revision history for this message
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :

I believe the steam-installer does "work". It's just not ideal (it's not an uninstaller).

description: updated
Revision history for this message
Steve Langasek (vorlon) wrote :

> Snap Status
> -----------
> Currently requires --edge and --devmode so it won't show up
> in the Ubuntu/GNOME Software app yet. Probably won't be
> there in time for the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Until this is resolved (which it hasn't been yet), I don't think it's obviously correct that we should remove the package from the Ubuntu archive. Snap is part of the default Ubuntu experience across flavors, flatpak is not. Downloading third-party .debs from upstream websites is not recommended. So although there are bugs, it is not clear that our users are better served by removal of the package.

Changed in steam (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
milestone: none → ubuntu-19.08
Revision history for this message
Steve Langasek (vorlon) wrote :

In the end, the steam package goes away because it only builds an i386 binary and we are dropping i386 as an architecture.

The source should be added to the blacklist along with all other source packages that only build for i386.

Changed in steam (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Any news here? The steam* packages are still available in the Ubuntu 20.04 repositories in an outdated form (1.0.0.54+repack-5ubuntu1 released in February 2018). Please, either update them (1.0.0.61-2 is the latest version in Debian Bullseye) or remove them completely.

By the way, is the steam-installer package needed anymore? I think that GNOME Software can now display even the 32-bit apps, but I am not 100% sure, especially when the GS version currently used in Ubuntu is based on older 3.30.6 release (but I really hope that it will get updated to more recent 3.34.2).

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

*(but I really hope that it will get updated to more recent 3.34.2 before Ubuntu 20.04 is released).

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :
Download full text (7.8 KiB)

Here is a changelog from Debian that contains all the new versions that happened after 1.0.0.54+repack-5ubuntu1:

steam (1.0.0.61-2) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Upload to unstable
  * d/control: Make Homepage more specific
  * Standards-Version: 4.4.0 (no changes required)
  * Use debhelper-compat 12

 -- Simon McVittie <email address hidden> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 08:50:02 +0100

steam (1.0.0.61-1) experimental; urgency=medium

  * New upstream release
    - Adds udev rules for NVIDIA Shield input hardware
    - d/p/udev-uinput.patch: Drop, applied upstream
    - d/p/udev-permissions.patch: Drop, mostly applied upstream.
      The only remaining differences in our package were:
      + Setting TAG+="uaccess" twice on SteamVR device nodes, which
        we can drop since it's redundant (once is enough)
      + Setting MODE="0660" on /dev/uinput, which is the default anyway

 -- Simon McVittie <email address hidden> Fri, 21 Jun 2019 13:10:31 +0100

steam (1.0.0.59-4) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Demote steam-devices to a recommendation.

 -- Michael Gilbert <email address hidden> Mon, 04 Feb 2019 02:41:50 +0000

steam (1.0.0.59-3) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Add Conflicts/Replaces on steam-launcher.
    steam-launcher is a Valve-provided package containing the same
    launcher as Debian's steam package, and the same udev rules as
    Debian's steam-devices package. They are not co-installable: please
    install the steam and steam-devices packages from Debian non-free,
    *or* the steam and steam-launcher packages from Valve, but do not
    mix the two sources.
  * steam-devices: Add Breaks/Replaces on non-matching versions of
    steam. This should prevent mixing Debian's steam and steam-devices
    with Valve's steam-launcher and steam, while allowing switching
    between the two to work. (Closes: #920600)
  * d/scripts/steam: Delete libxcb-dri3.so.0 from the Steam Runtime,
    and add a versioned dependency on a newer version for the host
    system. This library added ABI without increasing the -version-info,
    which means the Steam launcher script can't decide that Debian's
    copy is newer and use it in preference to the Steam Runtime copy.
    (Closes: #921026)
  * Version the dependencies on libgpg-error0 and libxinerama1 to make
    sure the copies on the host system are at least as new as those
    provided by the Steam Runtime.
  * d/steam.bug-control: Add more information to bug reports

 -- Simon McVittie <email address hidden> Fri, 01 Feb 2019 11:34:54 +0000

steam (1.0.0.59-2) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Revert "Adjust VCS metadata for debian/experimental branch"
  * Use DEP-14 branch name debian/master
  * Upload to unstable

 -- Simon McVittie <email address hidden> Fri, 25 Jan 2019 11:24:26 +0000

steam (1.0.0.59-1) experimental; urgency=medium

  * New upstream release
  * get-orig-source: Use chdist to download Valve's "source" package
    with secure-APT authentication
    - d/valve-steam-keyring.gpg: Add the signing key for Valve's apt
      repository
  * d/p/udev-permissions.patch: Update for new upstream udev rules
    - new HID device 28de:2102 is now included in 60-steam-vr.rules
  * d/gbp.conf: Explicitly disable pristine-...

Read more...

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Here is a ticket about updating the steam/steam-devices packages:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/steam/+bug/1796464

The outdated packages will cause problems for users (most users will probably use them instead of the official Valve package) when Ubuntu Focal is released. Please, update them before Ubuntu Focal is released or remove them completely.

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Some updates regarding points from the original Bug Description:

ad 1. This should be (partially) fixed in the updated Debian version of steam package: "Add Conflicts/Replaces on steam-launcher."

ad 2. Maybe gnome-software could be fixed to show 32-bit deb packages? 32-bit Steam rpm package from RPM Fusion is displayed without any issue on Fedora and can be installed without any issue.

Uninstalling is not an issue anymore, because PackageKit now seems to uninstall unused dependencies on Ubuntu.

ad 3. This does not seem to be a problem anymore. GNOME Software on Ubuntu shows the Steam Installer without any issue on latest Ubuntu Focal, just with a generic icon displayed instead of the Steam one (but I suspect this being caused by another issue since generic icons seem to be displayed for many apps in Focal).

ad 4. The Flathub version has its own issues, for example devices like Steam Controller or VR that require own udev rules do not work properly + some features like the new, containerised "Steam Linux Runtime" are also not working at all inside Flatpak. Also, Flatpak is not installed by-default on Ubuntu and if user do not enable the third-party Flatpak ppa, it tends to get pretty outdated and problematic, especially on LTS Ubuntu releases.

ad 5. The Solus Steam integration project development seems to be stalled (although they moved to a new repo that sees occasional activity) and their Snap on Snap Store does not seem to be updated anymore + still requires "--edge" and "--devmode".

ad 6. I fully agree, but since the Flatpak version is problematic and usable Snap version does not exist anymore, the deb version (just not the outdated package that is currently in Ubuntu) is the best and least problematic one that Ubuntu can offer to users.

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Anyway, the best solution in my opinion would be to blacklist the Debian Steam packages and work with Valve about providing their official Steam package in Ubuntu repository.

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Steam was updated in Focal and most of the mentioned issues were resolved. I think this ticket can be closed.

Revision history for this message
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Steam is outdated again since Groovy, is not automatically synced from Debian (because of Ubuntu patches/changes that were not backported to Debian) and seems to have no active maintainer in Ubuntu. I think that removing it from the Ubuntu repository and adding it to sync blacklist would be a good solution after all. It is recommended to use the official package from Valve anyway.

Revision history for this message
Andrew Hayzen (ahayzen) wrote :

I was planning on seeing if the situation could be improved in any way over the coming weeks. Lets see if we can improve the package to either by updating or in sync with debian (and then look at potential SRU/backports) over this cycle before removing from the archive. As there are currently still advantages to using the deb version from the archive over the flatpak version and not everyone wants to install debs from URLs that are not in the archive ...

I'll post if I make any progress over the coming weeks/months :-)

Revision history for this message
Andrew Hayzen (ahayzen) wrote :

For anyone following, I've reported bug 1901689 to attempt to bring Ubuntu hirsute back into sync with the current Debian sid version, I'll update that bug as progress is made. Then we can hopefully close this one if I am successful.

Revision history for this message
Andrew Hayzen (ahayzen) wrote :

So 1.0.0.67-2 has landed in hiruste (which is much closer to debian sid). I also plan to sync hirsute again before freezes and then intend to continue updating ubuntu devel to be as close as possible to debian sid - I will also investigate any SRU opportunities to fix features that are broken in older releases.

So for now lets mark this as invalid, if in the future I am not able to keep steam up to date, then this discussion/bug can be reopened.

Changed in steam (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Invalid
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