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Steam installs apps into a user's home folder. This means when a user installs an app, a different user has to install the same app again.

What's the most convenient way to share Steam apps?

My best idea is to have a one user who will have the main folder with read-write permissions for others and just have other users symlink to it. I'm not even sure if this will work. Is there a cleaner solution or one suggested by Valve?

This all hypothetical to me right now as I don't have a reason to do it (yet.)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Steam supports using multiple game library folders by default, you could just create a folder which all users can read/write to then add this folder as a library for both users. Both users will have to maintain a separate copy of the Steam client and update it, the library includes the games themselves only.
(source)

You could create a main folder in a read/write location and have a symlink at ~/.local/share/Steam to this folder, which should work hypothetically, but I haven't tried that. This will all users use the exact same Steam files.

You can also have a look at bindfs, note that it is not nearly the "most convenient way"

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For the first solution, where do you think the shared read/write directory could be placed neatly? Would you put it in "/"? Your second solution is, I think, exactly like mine. I have some reservations about it myself; it doesn't seem like clean solution. Can you think of ways this solution can go wrong? –  kelvinilla Sep 10 '13 at 17:38
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@kelvin For the first solution, you could use /data. I can't think of anyway the 2nd solution could fail, just doesn't seem right –  minerz029 Sep 10 '13 at 21:06
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