How to install Steam on Debian Wheezy 7.8 64-Bit (Nvidia)

Right now my new favourite and daily driver desktop is a minimal install of Debian Wheezy (i.e. installing the netinstall from with just Openbox and few other choice apps). I will do a guide in the future to setting up this Zen Desktop :-). As pretty much the only games I ever play are CS:GO (CounterStrike GO) & Civ 5 and both of these titles are now available on Steam for Linux, I definitely had to get Steam set-up.

The process to do so isn’t too bad at all and can be broken down into 2 stages:

Nvidia Driver Installation

To start Make sure your Debian software and distribution are up-to-date:

sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

Do not follow the below Nvidia steps instead follow this newer guide

Note you must follow all these steps, otherwise you may well end up in a situation where X won’t start. 

Firstly install the linux-headers for your kernel. These are needed to build the driver.

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Install Nvidia Kernel

sudo apt-get install nvidia-kernel-$(uname -r)

Install Nvidia Driver (accept any popups)

sudo apt-get install nvidia-kernel-dkms

Install nvidia-xconfig to create a new /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (the above removes this file so it is essential that new one is created, see below)

sudo apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

Create a new xorg.conf configuration file which will use the Nvidia Driver

sudo nvidia-xconfig

Reboot and then startx and you should now be using the Nvidia driver.

Installing and setting up Steam


Make sure ‘curl’ is installed, like I said I’m running a minimal install of Wheezy so it wasn’t.

sudo apt-get install curl

Steam requires a 32-Bit library file to run… so firstly make sure the whole Nvidia driver install is done. Then enable 32-bit packages for your system.

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Then update apt-get

sudo apt-get update

Then lastly install the 32-bit component. This should add just one or two packages to your system, if there is a lot more than this stop before installing and make sure you have followed the driver installation guide above.

sudo apt-get install libgl1-nvidia-glx:i386

This could be done after Steam is installed but it’s nice for everything to be ‘right’ when you start it for the first time and fonts will look like a dogs dinner if you don’t do this as your standard login. It will download the steam fonts so they are ready to use by Steam.

cd ~
mkdir .fonts
cd .fonts

Actually installing Steam

Firstly don’t get the Steam Installer from the Steam website. Installing this version will not be straight forward.

Instead go to which is rewrite of the Valve installer which makes installing a good bit easier. To install do the following:

cd ~
sudo dpkg -i steam-debian_1.0.0.49-7_all.deb

Follow the on-screen instructions and it should install.

Very lastly, those lovely steam game adverts in Flash won’t work if the 32-Bit version of flash is not installed so..

cd ~
cd .local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/
mkdir plugins

Download the latest 32-Bit tar.gz Flash for linux from here

As of writing the following did the trick after I downloaded the driver with Iceweasel

cp ~/Downloads/install_flash_player_11_linux.i386.tar.gz ./
tar -xzf install_flash_player_11_linux.i386.tar.gz

Done, if all is well (and it should be if you’re running Debian Wheezy 7.8 64-Bit with recent Nvidia card) you should have Steam ready to use on your minimal Debian set-up. Please comment if you have anything to add or have any issues. Hope this helps you.