Installing the Proprietary NVidia Drivers and Steam in Fedora 23 Workstation

So this process was a bit more troublesome that I expected it to be, having been in the AMD camp for the last two years and hearing of the glory that is the land of NVidia.  Unpleasantly, there seems to be an actual “trick” to installing the proprietary NVidia drivers and Steam (yes, Valve’s content distribution software): in some cases (such as mine), users have to be careful to

  1. install Steam using the nouveau driver,
  2. execute it at least once,
  3. then reboot and install the proprietary NVidia driver.

It seems weird, and it is, but when I initially built the system using my NVidia card, I installed the GPU drivers first, hoping to get the hard part out of the way and then have the easy job of installing Steam (an installation which I previously performed successfully from the negativo17 repository on my AMD system a while back..).

Unfortunately, when I tried that order of operations, I launched Steam only to watch it fail, informing me in a small console output window:

Missing 32-bit libraries: libGL.so.1

But, it seemed the relevant i686 packages were indeed installed.  However, rather than relying on local native packages in various Linux distributions, Steam makes use of Ubuntu versions of certain libraries (such as libGL.so.1) which are packaged with the Steam software.  So, some people have addressed this issue by creating soft links redirecting Steam from its prepackaged stuff to local Fedora stuff.

I did not do this, for upon further inspection, I also found in my system journal the following errors:

Dec 03 16:36:20 localhost.localdomain steam.desktop[3810]: /home/user/.local/share/Steam/steam.sh: line 756:  3929 Segmentation fault      (core dumped) $STEAM_DEBUGGER "$STEAMROOT/$STEAMEXEPATH" "$@"

So that’s great.  I first wondered if the 32 bit compatibility software I chose to install during the NVidia driver installation may have failed, but I ran across a bunch of people online with this same problem, and there were some interesting proposals for resolving the issue.  As it turned out, what appeared to fix the problem in my case was uninstalling the NVidia driver and Steam and undertaking the process described above.  I also wound up installing Steam from RPMFusion, so that’s the method described in the full steps below:

  1. Add the RPMFusion repositories to your Fedora 23 machine:
    • sudo dnf install http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm'
  2. Using the nouveau driver, install Steam and be sure to execute it; log in and set up your account on your local machine.  I launched a game, even.
    • sudo dnf install steam
  3. Get the drivers from NVidia’s very user-friendly site.
  4. Follow the good instruction set located at if-not-true-then-false.com.  There are some simplifications I’d make:
    • You don’t need to remove the xorg-x11-drv-nouveau package; simply blacklisting the nouveau driver is sufficient
      • Blacklisting nouveau with both modprobe and the kernel argument modification in GRUB is a good idea.
    • You don’t, therefore, need to remake your initframfs either.  This strikes me as more than sufficiently cautious.
  5. Enjoy!  Or:  Let me know if things don’t go well.  I’m glad to help if I can.
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