Trying The SteamVR Beta On Linux Feels More Like An Early Alpha

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 26 February 2017. Page 5 of 8. 23 Comments

My planned test system was an Ubuntu 16.10 box with Core i7 7700K and GeForce GTX 1080, to ensure I had good first impressions of VR on Linux. Ubuntu 16.10 had all available updates, was running the NVIDIA 375.27.10 graphics driver, and the proper Steam/SteamVR betas... This Ubuntu 16.10 x86_64 installation was just a week or two old and didn't have any funky configurations or really much more than a stock environment with just using it for conducting gaming/graphics benchmarks.

The first problem encountered was "SteamVR failed to initialized for unknown reasons. (Error: Shared IPC Compositor Connect Failed (306))." I wasn't able to figure out an easy workaround until seeing that it's an open bug. The solution is starting Steam with STEAM_RUNTIME_PREFER_HOST_LIBRARIES=0.

Next I was hitting a segmentation fault when starting SteamVR... Frustrating. Though I found again another bug report about the same issue. There doesn't appear to be a solid solution for that yet and no comment from Valve as of writing. So I ended up nuking my entire ~/.steam/ directory and starting over from scratch with all of the Steam setup procedures. That worked, but this issue comes back again after launching SteamVR once. So after every time of launching SteamVR once, nuking Steam and starting over was my workaround. Simply uninstalling SteamVR and re-installing SteamVR wasn't making a difference.

But even after that, the SteamVR Room Setup didn't seem to work with failing to get the controllers and headset connected.

Then I discovered there is a Firmware Update area within SteamVR on Linux. So I figured I would give that a try. According to the UI, the controllers had their firmwares update successfully but the firmware updates for the base stations and headset consistently failed for unknown reasons. But later reading revealed that it may have not updated any of the firmware at all, but may be another bug.

Trying to bypass SteamVR and just launching a VR app, there would still be the SteamVR errors and go back to this shared IPC compositor problem.

So in the end I wasn't able to get SteamVR working properly on this relatively fresh Ubuntu 16.10 box running the beta of Steam and beta of SteamVR as of this past Friday.

The error messages certainly aren't helpful, especially for anyone more used to Windows and not accustomed to searching for bug reports, etc.

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