If Linux is the future then the future is awful (or How To Install Linux Alongside Windows) | PCGamesN

If Linux is the future then the future is awful (or How To Install Linux Alongside Windows)

Last week Valve released Steam for Linux, the open-source, free-range operating system and liberating alternative to the increasingly walled-gardens of Windows and Macintosh. Hooray for that! To celebrate the launch, Valve are offering a free Team Fortress 2 penguin to anybody who follows them into Linux-town by installing the free OS. But Linux, I have since discovered, is a dumb operating system for jerks.

Perhaps that sounds unnecessarily mean, but installing Linux to grab a free Team Fortress 2 penguin has trampled my spirits. It's buggy, it's confusing, it crashes, it's hard work and I think it hates me. It might be writ large across Valve's future, but right now Linux is a bitter and buggy pill to swallow. Installing it is like waking up from The Matrix, but instead of meeting Trinity you're dumped into a forum full of total gobshites. I don't think I could ever be friends with anybody who chooses to use it. I hate Linux. Sorry.

So here, in just seven easy steps, is how to easily install Ubuntu in order to win a TF2 penguin and then get back out again as quickly as possible. But hold on Steve, I thought you said we were installing Linux? What's Ubuntu? Well, Ubuntu is one popular distribution (or 'distro') of Linux. Just think of a 'distro' as a lovely dress, Linux as a naked woman and your PC as an important dinner party at the ambassador's mansion. Now obviously Linux can't just turn up with no clothes on, she'd cause quite the scene. So you dress her up in her best dress, or 'distro', which I'm told is Ubuntu. Simple. Let's go.

STEP ONE: Click on the internet until it downloads a thing

Type 'Ubuntu' into Google or just click here to head straight to the download page. The easiest installer to use is the 'Wubi' installer, which carves out a cosy 30GB niche in your existing hard drive partition, to which Windows can boot after the next restart. Now, from my poking around Linux forums, I've learned that Wubi is the worst and most unstable way of experiencing Ubuntu. What you should do is create a partition or install Ubuntu to a USB drive. Only that way are you truly free of the tyranny of Microsoft (and you'll have enough space to actually install the few Linux-compatible Steam games that exist). But that method is more complicated and I am an idiot. When you restart you'll have the option to boot to Ubuntu. The taskbar will be in an unlikely position and, if you're anything like me, that will be terrifically exciting.

STEP TWO: Ignore this request to grant access to '00001124-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb' for device " (7C:C3:A1:90:29:19)

Just ignore this request to grant access to '00001124-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb' for device " (7C:C3:A1:90:29:19). It pops up when you first install Ubuntu, but if you click on either 'Reject' or 'Grant', nothing happens, and eventually it just vanishes of its own volition. Presumably device " (7C:C3:A1:90:29:19) got what it needed and quietened down. In fact, clicking anywhere on the desktop in the first three minutes after Ubuntu boots yields little to no reaction from the open-source OS. Click on multiple taskbar icons and minutes later they'll all open at once like a magician's sleeve exploding. It takes roughly four thousand years for Ubuntu to connect to wi-fi (though, to give it credit, it happily discovered and used my USB wireless dongle without any problems), it doesn't recognise my bluetooth keyboard, and for some reason it sends my PC's fans into constant overdrive. As if they are trying to blow away a bad smell. Even worse, if you right click and go into the desktop settings you'll notice that Ubuntu has no decent screensavers either. Not even scrolling marquee or the one with the 3D pipes.

STEP THREE: Everything crashes all the time and nothing works

The borders around this error window will disappear and, if you've followed the steps correctly, something called 'Compiz' will stop working. You can send an error report to help fix the problem. Alternatively you can shout an error report out of your bedroom window with much the same effect. Ubuntu comes with its own app store, and after a few moments of staring bleakly into the internet it will report three hundred updates that it would like to install. In my case there were significantly fewer crashes after complying with its request, so I suggest you take the 20 minutes or so to allow the system to update and gather its belongings. Even when fully updated however, I still had a problem installing the 64-bit version of Steam. The package claimed to have "dependency issues". Just like my ex-wife! Am I right fellas?!

STEP FOUR: Become a hacker just like Hugh Jackman in Swordfish or Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park when he shuts down the electric fences and lets the velociraptors out

To fix most things in Linux you have to open up the terminal and enter arcane commands: sudo this, sudo that, sudo the other. It's basically hacking, or magic, and I've no idea how it works because I stopped paying attention to how computers function around about the time Windows XP came out. To know what commands you're supposed to enter you could spend literal months of your life figuring out the secret language of Unix, or you could just google the problem you're trying to fix. I did, and found a helpful post on the Steam forum describing the solution in terms I'm almost able to understand. This solution should also work for you if you're having trouble installing 64-bit Steam on Ubuntu.

"For whatever reason, by default Ubuntu doesn't look for i386 (aka 32-bit) packages. Which means when "steam64" looks for the "steam" package, it doesn't find it and it defaults to the closest match... which is itself. This can fixed in a terminal window (ctrl-alt-t) with this command:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386; sudo apt-get update

Simple stuff. Sudo the hell out of that dpkg, restart the software centre and install Steam. It takes a little while to download and update, so why not poke around Ubuntu until it's ready?

STEP FOUR: Consider purchasing trousers

You can type the names of applications into Ubuntu's equivalent of a Start Menu to search for and launch various applications. For some curious reason, Ubuntu also returns results from Amazon.co.uk in this window. In the image above, I'd typed 'scree' to find the screenshot application and came across some Marmot Men's Scree Short Softshell Pants for £85. These trousers appear every time I take a screenshot, so I began to wonder if they were any good. Well the Amazon reviews for the trousers are largely positive, with one happy customer reporting:

"I finally got my husband out of the ratty elastic waist pants he wore everywhere. He loves these pants and now has 3 pair. They look good enough to wear to almost anything and will last forever."

Useful feature, and quality trousers.

STEP FIVE: Play some Mines

Features just as many mines as the leading brand.

STEP SIX: Install and play the original Half-Life because you neglected to create a Wubi installation big enough to install Team Fortress 2

I hope you selected a 30GB installation size way back in step one, otherwise you'll only have a piddling few gigabytes in which to store your downloaded Steam games. If you haven't left enough room for Team Fortress 2, you'll come out of this ordeal penguinless and forlorn. Unless I'm mistaken (which, let's face it, is very likely) this is the biggest limitation of a Wubi installation, so if you're planning on starting a dedicated Linux setup for Steam you should opt for a "proper" installation to a USB stick. Or face playing the original Half-Life again, which isn't all that terrible a prospect.

STEP SEVEN: Restart your PC, boot to Windows, uninstall Ubuntu, leap into the air and click your heels together

And let's never speak of this again, now that we're safely re-ensconced in the cosy, coddled, dumbed-down, streamlined, bloated safety net of Windows. Phew.

(BONUS STEP EIGHT: Realise you could've done a better job of installing Linux and try again)

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aaron987 avatarSusto avataro0splitpaw0o avatarUnaccounted4 avatarnancih avatarGibber avatar+1
Gibber Avatar
3 Years ago

Lol! Brilliant!

I have to use Linux every day at work and your experience is just like my own. I hate it, it doesn't work, it is horrible to use, it is almost impossible to get support that makes any sense because the people who use it are too busy trying to prove how clever and 'right' they are to be of any help.

I love how the fanboys say that if you think Linux is hard to use, it can never be Linux's fault, it can only be that you are lazy and incompetent. Or it's your fault for choosing the wrong version. You should have known. This is the linux mentality in a nutshell.

Richard Stallman Avatar
2 Years ago

I'd just like to interject for moment. What you're refering to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called Linux, and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called Linux distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux!

aaron987 Avatar
5 Years ago

To the author: This article says nothing about Linux. It only says that you are mentally lazy and too incompetent to use Google to find solutions to problems.

To everyone else: The author clearly knows nothing about Linux and did not take the time to look up instructions. He simply tried it once without finding out how to do it, and concluded that it was too hard and gave up. But I should remind you that you did not learn Windows on your first try. The only reason Windows knowledge is so commonplace is because Microsoft pushes their product in schools so that when kids learn about computers, they learn it from a Windows perspective. Then they grow up and buy Windows by default because, like Steve here, they are too lazy to attempt to learn something new.

Is there a learning curve with Linux? Yes, I will admit that. But learning my way around Linux was one of the most educational experiences I can think of in my life. I learned a lot about computers and found that I love Linux. I actually dread using Windows now because it feels so boring and restricted. I enjoy the freedom to customize, modify, and upgrade Linux the way I want.

In conclusion, if you want to be lazy, I encourage you to stay in your walled garden and pretend that life is easier by obeying the wishes of Microsoft or Apple. But if you want to learn something new, broaden your horizons, and experience the freedom to do what you want with your own computer, please give Linux a try. You can run it off a CD without installing it. If you like it, great. If not, that's fine too. But at least you took the chance to learn something.

Susto Avatar
5 Years ago


It worked for me.. I did'nt see those bugs... I'll stay with it..

But I think Valve launched linux client too early. It's still very buggy

Btw author, nice job igniting a flame war..

o0splitpaw0o Avatar
5 Years ago

So, if you hate Linux so much... wht does you site run on it?

Site Site Report First seen Netblock OS

1. www.pcgamesn.com Site Report april 2012 host routes ip space linux

2. images1.pcgamesn.com Site Report october 2012 cloud loadbalancing as a service-lbaas (lon) ip space linux


I think the real issue is, out of element - out of enviroment = You got stressed out. I read what you did. but that Shopping cart icon. You just had to click on it> searhc for steam> click install. start it, it would of told you to install a sugested driver. You would of clicked "OK" and then be prompted.. as mentioned on the link to select the driver they recommended. Rebooted.

Unaccounted4 Avatar
5 Years ago

First off: What aaron987 is actually very accurate.

Second, it's your fault for going with Ubuntu but Valve has their share of it. If you want to try Linux without dealing with Canonical's bs and still want the target platform for which they developed Steam, use Mint (preferably the cinnamon edition).

Although looking through this website for the second time since you followed me on Twitter I've come to realise it might have been nothing than a desperate reach for views through bad publicity... If it was, congratulations...

nancih Avatar
5 Years ago

As I read your commentary, I shake my head. I know that most users don't read the instructions that they are given. I am an instructional designer! But for heavens sake, you make it sound like downloading something from the Internet and installing it is "way harder" than plugging a CD into a drive, providing a magic number, waiting for it to install, then seeking out updates on the Internet. Maybe your system for magic number management is way better than mine, but I don't think so. So to compare the Ubuntu/Linux install to a Win install is a little weak. Enough drama already.