The first time I installed Steam for Ubuntu was during the beta phase, and I can't remember I had to do anything special. A few months later, I'm now on a fresh install of Ubuntu (13.04) and want to install it again.

First ascertainment: it seems that APT doesn't know about Steam: Searching for "steam" in Synaptic

Well, ok, perhaps because it's not a free software there is some repository to add to APT before doing anything. Let's try with the Ubuntu Software Center, which sometimes can find more than APT (no idea why, by the way). For some reason, it will find Steam !
But while it's flagged as a free software, the only option here is to click a "Buy" button:

Steam in the Ubuntu Software Center

When I click it, it sends me to some Ubuntu One login page. I never had to use Ubuntu One before; I don't even know what it is exactly (some sort of Ubuntu cloud service ?)


  • Why can I find steam in the Ubuntu Software Center but not in APT ?
  • Why the "Buy" button right next to the "Free" flag (somehow related question) ?
  • Why the Ubuntu One sign in ?
  • Is it possible to circumvent it ?

No it is not possible to circumvent it. Steam is proprietary software(which is why you have to press a "Buy" button even thought it is free)

You can make it easier buy clicking Reinstall Previous Purchases in the File menu. It should then show you Steam but you will still have to sign in to install it. In fact you should have to sign in to find your previous purchases. This method is easier because it will show you all your previous purchases(if you have any).

B.T.W. the reason APT and hence Synaptic cannot find it is that you don't have the software source enabled.

The Software Center can see the "For Purchase" software, even if you don't have the source available. The process in pressing the Buy button is:

  1. Go to the Payment page(you must sign in to get to this page), the payment is skipped if it is free but proprietary software.

  2. Add the software source to your existing sources

  3. Do a source update(same as sudo apt-get update command in terminal)

  4. Install your software from the now available software source

When installing previous purchases it just skips step on and does steps 2-4. I didn't include it as a step but just like installing any software you will have to enter your admin. password to start the process. (You have experience in installing software so it was not needed, I only mention it here in case a newbie has the same question; I would not want them to be confused if I left to vague.)

Reinstall may not show Steam if you downloaded the Beta directly from Steam and installed it locally, in which case just "Buy" Steam from the Software Center and install it fresh.

To the other part of the question. Ubuntu One is a cloud service but it is also part of the "Single Sign on" that allows you to sign in across multiple Ubuntu related sites as well as Ubuntu One's cloud service. In this case it is used to sign into the subscription record of your account so that you can reinstall the "purchased" software without buying it again. If you have never used it then just create an account via the link in the upper right of the page and then you can install Steam.

  • Excellent answer, learned a few new things. Thanks a lot ! – Anto Jul 11 '13 at 23:02
  • 1
    @Anto thank you, glad I was able to help. Please check again, I was adding a fit more info that you may need when you posted your comment. (I reread your question and realized that I missed a bit in the original answer) Btw if this answered your question please accept it by clicking the arrow so that it turns green, this will marked the answer so that others know that it is helpful. – TrailRider Jul 11 '13 at 23:10
  • This is no longer a problem. See my related answer here – Elder Geek Apr 18 '17 at 1:56

I know it's necromancy, but I'll up this post.

I was looking for a way to circumvent the Ubuntu One account creation to install Steam, and I found this.

The idea came instantly to my mind : hey why not take a look on Steam official page. Clicked on "Install" and it downloaded a .deb file, launched via Ubuntu Software Center. And voilà ! Steam installed without Ubuntu One account, without repo, without any bug.

Bye !


You can also get it directly by typing this in your terminal (tested in 14.04):

sudo apt-get install steam
  • It is also available via Synaptic Package Manager as 'steam:i386' (Ubuntu 14.04). – nobar Nov 15 '14 at 23:04
  1. Because steam repository will add to apt list only after authentication , it is not supported in synaptic or other apt frontends except usc

  2. Because this app is submitted through the my apps portal, actually it is a usability bug

  3. It is global authentication system for ubuntu services . It is for authentication and to get statitics about software installation

  4. No direct ways .


For what it's worth, I believe that you can get around the Buy button now. I can confirm that I was able to install Steam on Ubuntu 12.04 using the method here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Valve#Alternative_Installation_Methods

  • Please don't just provide a link include detail in your answer links can change. – Warren Hill Sep 16 '14 at 9:30

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