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I've been using PlayOnLinux to play some Steam games without any problem on Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10. I recently upgrade to the new Ubuntu 12.04, the upgrade whent without problems. I then try to launch a game. The Steam windows launch as ussual, but for some reason the games won't open. They simply don't open, no error dialogue whatsoever.

I then try opening Ubuntu with an old Kernel (3.0.0-17), this time the games work as usual. I wonder if there was a problem during the Kernel installation. Is there a way to create a "log" to know what is going on when I launch a game in the new Kernel? If there is no solution for this, how can I make the old Kernel the default option in the bootloader so I don't have to look for it everytime? Thank you.

Note: Both Kernels are generic-pae

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Try to run it manually, using wine, only then errors can be noticed. – ergoproxy May 7 '12 at 11:50
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is a problem with ptrace and WINE in Ubuntu 12.04 which affects some games, I think Steam is one of them. If this is your problem there is a workaround.

To test this you can run the following command in a terminal to reset your ptrace value to 0

echo 0|sudo tee /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope

Then try running the games again and see if it will launch. This fix will be reset the next time you start your computer so you will have to enter it everytime.

I use Codeweavers Crossover version of WINE so I will give you the link that I have saved and can find easily but I did see the same answer in a WINE forum while researching this problem.


I have to include a caveat here; the link above will also give you a way to set ptrace permanently but what I have read trying to understand this "bug" it may make your system less secure. ptrace handles interactions between programs: ptrace=0 is more permissive than ptrace=1. I'm not sure of the severity of the security risk. I stumbled across you question becasue I have been watching the site for a question about how insecure it might be and have not found any answers either here or anywhere else.

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Yes you are right, it's a problem with ptrace. Running the command solve the problem but as you say may make the system less secure. As I say in the question, look like a problem with the Kernel itself as people with other distros (but same Kernel) are having this issues too. Thank you. – Federico Navia Sep 19 '12 at 2:07

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