How To Use Linux On Steam Deck

Steam Deck, Valve’s handheld gaming device, has already created a buzz in the gaming world. One of its key features includes its flexibility and openness as it runs on a Linux-based operating system, namely SteamOS. In this blog post, we will guide you on how to use Linux on your Steam Deck.

Understanding Steam Deck’s OS

Steam Deck runs on SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system. Valve has worked to make the majority of its Steam library playable on this Linux-based system. However, if you’re a tinkerer who loves to get your hands dirty, Steam Deck allows you to install other game stores or software, and even allows you to install other operating systems.

Accessing the Linux Desktop

Although Steam Deck is designed for gaming, it doesn’t stop you from using it as a Linux PC. You can access the full Linux desktop by navigating to the ‘Power’ option in the system settings and selecting ‘Switch to Desktop.’ After this, you’ll be taken to a more conventional Linux desktop interface, where you can run other apps and tools.

Installing Linux Software

You can install Linux software on your Steam Deck by using the Linux terminal. The terminal is a powerful tool that allows you to control your computer using command lines. To access the terminal, look for it in the ‘Applications’ menu of the Linux desktop, or press Ctrl + Alt + T.

Let’s say you want to install GIMP, an open-source graphics editor. You would input the following command into the terminal:

sudo apt-get install gimp

Make sure you have a steady internet connection, as the terminal will have to download the necessary files.

Installing Other Linux Distributions

If you want, you can even install other Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Fedora. However, keep in mind that this might limit your access to some Steam Deck features built specifically for SteamOS. Before you decide to install another Linux distribution, it would be wise to create a recovery drive for your SteamOS.


With its flexibility and openness, Steam Deck is not just a gaming device but also a full-fledged Linux PC in your hands. Whether you want to play games, run Linux apps, or experiment with other Linux distributions, Steam Deck lets you do it all.