Remove steam and add to sync blacklist

Bug #1759715 reported by Jeremy Bicha on 2018-03-28
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
steam (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

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.

1. If a user happens to install Steam from the prominent link at

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.

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.


Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2018-03-28
description: updated
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2018-03-29
description: updated
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
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

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

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :

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

description: updated
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
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
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