Chromebook + Ubuntu = Steam

Don’t try to follow the math in the title, it’s very complex, but if you’d like to play Steam games on your Chromebook, then you’re among friends. Before you can install Steam, you’ll need to install Ubuntu via Crouton. It’s quick, painless and totally reversible, check out my articles: Linux on your Chromebook? and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on a Chromebook

From inside your Ubuntu environment, launch the terminal and enter:

sudo apt-get install steam

See, I said this was complex! Once the process completes in the terminal, go to Applications > Games > Steam and Steam will now update to the latest version and prompt you to login or register.


And that’s it! Well, not really… Unless you’ve modified you’re internal storage space, you’ll be very limited to the number of games you can have installed at one time.

External storage to the rescue, here’s how:

Format your external device to ext4, see: Format External Devices for Ubuntu

Next, create a local folder that will be used for pointing to your external drive (example /home/USERNAME/NEWFOLDER). I use the same name as the label of my external drive for the folder, so with my SD Card labeled headcrab, I create a a new folder in my /home/zombi3sci3ntist directory called headcrab.

Now, enter the following command in the terminal, adjusting the paths accordingly:

sudo mount -t ext4 -o defaults,nosuid,nodev /dev/sdb1 /home/USERNAME/NEWFOLDER

Terminal command with my path/label.

Finally, with Steam open, click Steam > Settings > Downloads > Steam Library Folders > Add Library

Navigate to the local folder you created above and select it. Now you have the option to install games to this location.

The one catch, is that each time you enter your Ubuntu environment, you have to run that last terminal command for Steam to see the games. There are three different ways to approach this, each one making the process simpler.

Option #1: Simply save that command line in an accessible text file to copy/paste into the terminal.

Option #2: Go a step further and turn that text file into a executable shell script so you can run it with one word from the terminal. The name of the file will be the command you use to run it in the terminal. Add a sha-bang at the beginning of the file. Right-click the file, select Properties, select the Permissions tab and tick the box Allow this file to run as a program.



Move the file by opening the terminal from the folder that the file is in and entering the following command:

sudo mv FILENAME /usr/local/bin/

You can now run the command in the terminal simply by typing the FILENAME you chose.

Option #3: You can add that command line to a file to be automatically executed at startup. Open the terminal and open rc.local with your choice of editor:

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Add the command line just before exit 0 but omit sudo:


Save, close and done.


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