Getting Steam to run with proprietary nVidia.

According to this earlier posting, I had switched my Debian / Stretch, Debian 9 -based computer named ‘Plato’ from the open-source ‘Nouveau’ drivers, which are delivered via ‘Mesa’ packages, to the ‘proprietary nVidia drivers’, because the latter offer more power, in several ways.

But then one question which we’d want an answer to, is how to get “Steam” to run. Just from the Linux package manager, the available games are slim picking, and through a Steam membership, we can buy Linux-versions of at least some powerful games, meaning, to pay for with money.

But, when I tried to launch Steam naively, which used to launch, I only got a message-box which said, that Steam could not find the 32-bit version of ‘’ – and then Steam died. This temporary result ‘makes sense’, because I had only installed the default, 64-bit libraries, that go with the proprietary packages. Steam is a 32-bit application by default, and I have a multi-arch setup, as a prerequisite.

And so my next project became, to create a 32-bit as well as the existing, 64-bit interface to the rendering system.

The steps that I took assume, that I had previously chosen to install the ‘GLVND’ version of the GLX binaries, and unless the reader has done same, the following recipe will be incorrect. Only, the ‘GLVND’ packages which I initially installed, are not listed in the posting linked to above; they belonged to the suggested packages, which I wrote I had written down on paper, and then added to the command-line, which transformed my graphics system.

When I installed the additional, 32-bit libraries, I did get a disturbing error message, but my box still runs.

The steps which I took to add 32-bit support were, as root, to run:


apt-get install libglx-nvidia0:i386 libgl1-glvnd-nvidia-glx:i386


This works more-or-less, with one caveat:

Given an existing, 64-bit, ‘GLVND’ install, this will produce an error message about a broken link-group, belonging to ‘glx’. Loosely, this means that the packages can no longer use their ‘update-alternatives’ mechanism, to decide whether the 64-bit or the 32-bit libraries should be loaded system-wide ! And so I prayed that the post-install would leave the 64-bit library as the default, in spite of there being no more link-group.

This also rebuilds our initramfs !

Well, the next time I rebooted ‘Plato’, I got what I had prayed for, my system rebooted normally, and OpenGL works fully, both in 64-bit and in 32-bit mode.

This means that ‘Plato’ can access Steam again, which immediately downloaded some updates to itself. And one neat side-effect of all this is, that at least the game “Quern”, which I had purchased on Steam, now runs on ‘Plato’. According to this earlier posting, I had tried to get Quern to run on this machine, using the ‘Nouvaeu’ drivers, and not been able to get a real-time rendering going, for which reason that build exited me back to the desktop. What I get now, is the ability to get actual game-play started, and I also take this to mean, that lengthy play has a chance to remain stable. It was quite unstable with the ‘Nouveau’ drivers.

Hence, the old graphics card – a GTX460 – does have the minimum requirements needed to run ‘Quern’, although some of the fancier effects may need to be disabled in the game settings.



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