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Guide:Installing Programs

From SteamDeck Linux Wiki

Basic knowledge of the terminal is required to follow this Guide. Please read Using the Terminal.

This guide covers the installation of programs on SteamOS, outside of Steam itself.

Installing Programs using Discover[edit | edit source]

Most programs can be installed using Discover, the default software center.

Programs can be discovered through the search function, or by browsing the various software categories.

For more information on using Discover, see Guide:Using Discover.

Setting up Pacman[edit | edit source]

For programs not accessible through Discover, you will need to use pacman, the system package manager. Note: After a system upgrade, or reset, the steps below may need to be re-done.

1. Setting a Password[edit | edit source]

Installing packages with pacman requires root access to your machine. SteamOS, however, ships without a password, and you will need to set one before you can use pacman[1]. Make sure to memorize this password, as you would any other.

To set your password, run this command:

$ passwd

It will prompt you to enter your password twice. When typing your password, it will show no indication of your typing. Press enter to submit your password. If you make a mistake, either spam backspace, or make the second password entry not match the first, which will cancel the password change.

2. Disable Read-Only[edit | edit source]

By default, SteamOS uses a read-only filesystem for system files, preventing pacman from installing files. This can be disabled, and certain guides will need it to be.

To disable read-only mode:

# steamos-readonly disable

3. Populate the Signing Keys[edit | edit source]

Lastly, you will need to populate the signing keys database. This can be done with these two commands.

# pacman-key --init
# pacman-key --populate archlinux

Now you should be all ready to use pacman.

Using Pacman[edit | edit source]

This guide only covers the basics on how to get started using pacman, for more in depth information, see the Pacman article.

Installing Programs[edit | edit source]

To install a program with pacman:

# pacman -S <program>

For example, installing Firefox:

# pacman -S firefox

Multiple programs can be listed to be installed:

# pacman -S firefox konsole discover

Upgrading Installed Programs[edit | edit source]

To upgrade packages installed on your machine:

# pacman -Syu

Installing Programs from the AUR[edit | edit source]

The AUR, or Arch User Repository, is home to many packages not provided by Steam's repositories.

Oftentimes, you will need a package from here if you want to use a more obscure program, or need to interface with hardware requiring specialized drivers.

1. Installing Required Packages[edit | edit source]

To use the AUR, you will need two packages; git and base-devel.

# pacman -S git base-devel

2. Installing an AUR Helper[edit | edit source]

AUR helpers allow you to install packages from the AUR much quicker that you would normally.

However, in order to install one, you need to use the manual AUR install process.

Firstly, you use git to clone down the chosen AUR helper. In this example we will use yay.

Make a new folder in your home directory, called Programs. You can change this name as you please.

$ cd ~
$ mkdir Programs

Then cd into Programs.

$ cd Programs

Now you will need to clone down yay.

$ git clone

After it has cloned, cd into the folder yay.

$ cd yay

Then run:

$ makepkg -si

Installing other Packages[edit | edit source]

Using Yay:[edit | edit source]

Now that you have installed yay, you can use it to install other programs from the AUR. It uses the same conventions as pacman.

$ yay -S <package>

It will ask you multiple questions during the install. Majority of the time, just pressing enter to use the default option will work fine. Near the end of the install process, it will ask you for your password, which can time out if you are not monitoring it's progress. If this happens, just run the command again.

To update your AUR packages, run:

$ yay -Syu

For more information on AUR helpers, check out the Arch Wiki article.

If you want to search for available packages, use the AUR page.

From a pkg.tar.zst file:[edit | edit source]

If you have run makepkg, or have downloaded a package compiled by another person, and wish to install the package, run:

# pacman -U <package>.pkg.tar.zst

Troubleshooting[edit | edit source]

404 when downloading packages[edit | edit source]

If you receive a 404 error when trying to download a package, it is likely your package lists are outdated. A full system upgrade should fix this:

# pacman -Syu

File exists in filesystem[edit | edit source]

If you have performed a system reset recently, you may encounter this issue when trying to install packages you had installed previously.

This can be fixed by adding --overwrite="*" to the end of the install command. Example:

# pacman -S firefox --overwrite="*"

Other issues[edit | edit source]

Please refer to the Arch Wiki guide on using pacman.

References[edit | edit source]

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