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I would like to run Steam in a standalone mode so I don't have to load a desktop and then run Steam. I just want 100% of my resources dedicated to the game.

Ideally it would just be a Steam session that I can log into from the login screen. Is this possible?

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4 Answers 4

Perhaps this story might be sufficient which uses steam-login which uses xfwm4 under the covers to provide a lightweight desktop with Steam on top.

Here's the information from the README:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thor27-gmail/steam-desktop 
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install steam-login

Then logout and back in to get a Steam session. See also:

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The same view is available in the Windows version as a Full screen view. –  Alvar May 31 '13 at 17:17
Alvar, yes however, this logs you in using the xfwm4 session, and does not use resources to draw the desktop only steam. –  Dustin May 31 '13 at 17:51

For what it's worth, I don't think it is necessary to install anything. Or to have any desktop at all, lightweight or otherwise.

I'm assuming Steam is a game that requires graphics and hence x. You don't have to have a desktop to start x. You'll have to look a little to find the equivalent in whatever 'buntu you are using but in Lubuntu 13.04 to have an x session with no desktop you delete the line beginning "@pcmanfm . . ." from the file /etc/xdg/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart. This is what I do all the time now.

A desktop always seemed pointless to me. You could keep a copy of the regular version of the file with the suffix -regular added to the filename and a copy of the edited version with the suffix -steam. Then just copy whichever and rename it to remove the suffix. So find your autostart file and delete the line referring to your file manager.

If you also don't want your panels just start a terminal or use alt-f2 and killall whatever-the-name-of-your-panel-is. Then use alt-f2 to start your game. If you have the disk space it might be more convenient to do this on a seperate installation on another partition. Then you wouldn't need to be renaming config files between the regular version and the steam-only version and you wouldn't need to even have panels or anything else extraneous installed. And of course no un-needed services. On the other hand if you wanted to use the same partition it probably wouldn't be too hard to write a script to rename config files and reboot in order to switch between the regular and the steam-only modes.

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  • Just copy the steam.desktop file from /usr/share/applications/steam.desktop to /usr/share/xsessions.

  • Then edit it and change the Exec option to

    Exec=steam steam://open/bigpicture

    or just create you own:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Exec=steam steam://open/bigpicture
    TryExec=steam steam://open/bigpicture
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I have found that the best way to do this is to use SteamOS's own packages for this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mdeslaur/steamos
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install steamos-compositor steamos-modeswitch-inhibitor steamos-xpad-dkms plymouth-themes-steamos

The plymouth-themes-steamos installs the splash screen if you're building a dedicated gaming console, and the steamos-xpad-dkms brings in the controller fixes if you're using an XBox or Playstation controller.

You might want to turn on auto-login if you want a console-like experience:

See also:

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