Steam For Linux Beta Adds Experimental Namespaces/Containers Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 10 November 2019 at 05:53 PM EST. 61 Comments
VALVE --
Longtime Linux game developer Timothee Besset has outlined the support introduced by Valve this week in their latest Steam Linux client beta for supporting Linux namespaces / containers. This experimental functionality may in the end provide better support for 32-bit compatibility as more Linux distributions focus solely on x86_64 packages, reducing some of the fragmentation/library conflicts between some Linux distributions and Steam, and other headaches currently plaguing the Steam Linux space.

The experimental feature is opt-in currently from the latest client beta and works with native Linux games. Besides allowing better support for newer (x86_64 focused) Linux distributions, better compatibility across distributions, and other distribution benefits, there is also the security aspect in better isolating running Linux games from the host system.

It's an interesting concept and in the long-run should be great for improving the Linux gaming ecosystem. At the moment there are some known early bugs as well as some games not currently working with this containerization approach. Additionally, the Flatpak version of Steam will not currently work with the containers and some driver configurations may have issues.

More details on running Linux games under containers with Steam via this afternoon's Steam Community announcement.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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