How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

Steam is a video game cross-platform that Valve created. It was launched as a standalone software client in September 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates for their games and expanded to include games from third-party publishers and now boasts a library filled with thousands if not tens of thousands of games across all gaming consoles.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Steam Launcher on your Debian 11 Bullseye desktop using the command line terminal and APT package manager utilizing importing the official steam repository, which you can then install the stable branch, or for users that want to see the next version release of Steam’s launcher, you can install the beta branch.

Update Debian

Before you begin, run a quick system update to ensure all packages are up-to-date to avoid any conflicts during the installation of Steam.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Install Required Packages

The following packages must be installed to assist in installing the software.

sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget -y

If you are unsure, run the command; it will not harm you.

These are the most common software packages found on nearly all Linux distributions.

Enable 32-bit Support

Use the following command for users who wish to have 32-bit and 64-bit support to play the many games of Steams library that require this.

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Most users should enable this for lower-end systems that can only play lower-end games that come in 32bit format more often than not, and high-powered systems will not notice any impact having the packages installed.

Install Steam – Steam Repository Method

The best method of installing Steam, which utilizes the APT package manager, is to import the official steam repository. This method is perhaps the best solution; however, it is just a little bit longer to set up, but the benefits of grabbing the packages directly from Steam mean you will always be up-to-date.

First, import the GPG key required to verify the authenticity of the Steam package installer.

wget -O- | sudo gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/steam.gpg

When installing Steam from their official repository, you get the option of installing the stable branch that most users should use first and foremost, or for users who want to have the beta releases and live on the edge.


Import Steam Launcher Stable (Recommended)

echo deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/steam.gpg] stable steam | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list

Import Steam Launcher Beta

echo deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/steam.gpg] beta steam | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list

Now, run an APT update to reflect the new packages that have been imported.

sudo apt update

Now install the Steam Launcher as follows.

sudo apt-get install \
  libgl1-mesa-dri:amd64 \
  libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 \
  libgl1-mesa-glx:amd64 \
  libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 \

During the installation, you may be prompted to replace your sources.list with that from the original package maintainer.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type N as you want to keep the original source you imported and press the ENTER KEY to proceed. If you press yes, then you will encounter issues with APT key depreciation notices, and you will need to remove the source and re-import it as the previous step.

How to the Launch Steam Client

With the installation complete from either method, you can run Steam in a few different ways.

First, while you are in your terminal, you can use the following command to launch Steam:


However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your desktop.

Activities > Show Applications > Steam

Alternatively, if you cannot find it, use the search function in the Show Applications menu if you have many applications installed.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

The first time you launch Steam, you will see a notification of the installation wizard in a terminal window informing you that the launcher needs to download additional packages and what those packages are.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

Press return (enter key) to proceed with the installation. Note that you will be prompted to enter your password.

Next, you will likely see a second terminal window advising you to press return (enter key), do this to proceed, and complete the required package installation setup.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

Once done, you will see a series of automatic popups of Steam performing downloading and updating. For now, sit back and wait until it is done. For most users, this takes only a few minutes.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

Once complete, you will finally arrive at the Steam launcher login window.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

From here, log in or create an account. At this moment, you have successfully installed Steam.


How to Install Steam on Debian 11 Bullseye

How to Update/Upgrade Steam Launcher

For the most part, Steam can self update itself, but desktop users should see notifications of upgrades due to all methods using the APT package manager if set up correctly in your system settings. However, I recommend using the terminal command to check for updates, even once in a while, to ensure you are grabbing all available updates, as the command will never fail.

sudo apt update

If any Steam updates are available, use the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade

How to Remove (Uninstall) Steam Launcher

To remove the Steam software from your system, run the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt autoremove steam*

Note for full removals, and you can add –purge flag to the end of the command that removes all data created with Steam.

Next, remove the repository using the following command for users who installed the Steam APT repositories.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam*

Lastly, for users who that maybe switching between the Steam APT repository beta and stable, do not use the command below. Users who remove Steam completely use the following command to remove the imported GPG.

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/steam*

Comments and Conclusion

If you’re a Linux gamer, there are plenty of great games to keep you busy. But if you’re looking for something new to try, check out the library on Steam—it’s massive! And with Linux gaming gathering steam, it’s only a matter of time before there are just as many options for gaming on Linux as there are on Windows. So get in on the ground floor and start enjoying those sweet, smooth framerates today!


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