Steam fails to load with “unable to load steamui.so” error in Ubuntu 16.10

posted in: Tech | 0

For reasons that are still unclear to me, a random update of Steam suddenly bricked my Steam installation. No Stardew Valley for me that evening! The error that I received when attempting to launch Steam, post-update, was a very cryptic:

failed to load steamui.so

I spent 4 days searching for answers to this. Most suggestions suggested blowing away the ~/.steam  directory, purging the package, and re-installing. All of them recommended against using the Valve-provided package and sticking with the Ubuntu universe package.

None of the solutions fixed the problem.

Finally, I found a suggestion on Valve’s message boards that indirectly led to the solution. It suggested checking which libraries steamui.so  was dependent on:

aaron@toph:~/.steam/ubuntu12_32$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PWD:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH ldd ./steamui.so | grep "not found"
libXtst.so.6 => not found
libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0 => not found
libgdk_pixbuf-2.0.so.0 => not found
aaron@toph:~/.steam/ubuntu12_32$

FINALLY.

It’s important to note that presently, Valve has only provided Linux users with a 32-bit client, so you can’t use the native packages; you have to use the i386 versions (assuming you’re using the amd64 flavor). Here were the packages I installed to remedy the issue (if you have additional packages show up in your instance, you’ll need to install those as well — the pattern is: packagename:i386)

aaron@toph:~$ sudo apt-get install libxtst6:i386
aaron@toph:~$ sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386
aaron@toph:~$ sudo apt-get install libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386

Following that, I purged and re-installed Steam one last time, for good measure.

aaron@toph:~$ sudo apt-get remove --purge steam
# stuff happens #
aaron@toph:~$ sudo apt-get install steam

And lo and behold, it works!