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How to run/manage Steam quickly and easily, even under a secondary user. The code for st34m is freely available on Psi, our Git repository.


We assume you've already installed Steam. If you plan on running Steam under its own user account, create it first . This document will assume you created a user named "stmuser". Make sure your primary user can do sudo commands as the secondary user and root, of the form of:

sudo -u stmuser -- *
sudo chown root: /tmp/dumps
sudo chmod 700 /tmp/dumps
sudo rm -rf /tmp/dumps

This isn't required as you can run the st34m script in a single-user setup , but this script is vastly overkill for that.

If you're using PulseAudio you may need to allow multiple users to use it at the same time.


First you'll need to download the st34m script. It's a bash script that handles half of the logic for maintaining a Steam install, which can download the secondary script under the account of your choosing. I recommend installing large untrusted applications under their own user accounts, so if something goes horribly wrong in the app itself it's easy to kill the whole stack. It also has security benefits as the application can be denied access to your other user's files.

As an aside, you should never just download and run scripts. For the love of $DEITY at least glance through the code before blindly running it. The latest versions of both can be found here.

Download st34m scripts

wget -O ./
chmod 700 ./
./ -u stmuser -i

Running Steam

Just launch Steam

./ -u stmuser

Hide to tray (for startup)

./ -u stmuser -t

Running games

To launch a game after you've installed Steam and aforementioned game, run the following command:

./ -u stmuser -g test

Substituting "test" for the game of you choice (unless you like glxgears). See -g for the game selections.

So for example, Civilization VI would be:

./ -u stmuser -g 289070


If you must...

Download and install

wget -O ./
chmod 700 ./
./ -i

Run Steam


Launch Steam to tray

./ -t

Launch a game

See -g for the game selections.

./ -g 289070

Script options

Usage: ./ -g (game) -u (user) -dvknptchi


Launches the game of your choice. Test will launch glxgears. Some examples are provided in the script, but others can be added. Without modifying the script it will assume you've provided it a Steam app id (which can be found in the store, all apps are of the format:

./ -g 289070
Game List
Game -g (game) names
glxgears test
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation 507490 ashes
Civilization VI 289070 civ6
Civilization: Beyond Earth 65980 civbe
Dynasty Warriors 8 278080 dw8
Elite Dangerous 359320 elite
Fallout 4 377160 fo4
Homeworld Remastered 244160 hw
MechWarrior Online 342200 mwo
Sins of a Solar Empire 204880 sins


Runs Steam as the user that is specified.

./ -u stmuser


Turns the debug messages on. This also turns on the verbose messages. Debug is the most verbose setting, offering the slowest performance but the most diagnostic output. Unlike verbose, debug also turns on the debug output of Wine/wineboot/Setup/DXVK upgrades.

./ -d


Turns on verbose messages. This option is redundant if debug is also selected. Shows more script output and also gives the messaging for protontricks.

./ -v


Kill all processes for a user (if it isn't the current user or root). Comes in very handy if something's going wrong and you're running Steam as suggested under a secondary user account. Instead of being stuck at a frozen whatever, murder it all.

./ -u stmuser -k


Protontricks mode. Runs protontricks under the requested game's prefix. The game must be specified first or protontricks won't know what to select.

./ -g 507490 -p


Attempts to hide Steam to the system tray on launch. Specifically for auto-start launches. This is the default action when selecting "Launch Steam minimized to the system tray" in Steam Settings under Windows upon login.

./ -t


No BS mode. Forcibly doesn't launch an application. Will not launch Steam and will ignore any games selected (even test). Useful for the paranoid when running protontricks/console/et al (in fact, st34m-run will auto-set this when some modes are selected). Often superfluous.

./ -n


Launch a console session as the specified user. This session is dbus connected and setup via xhost, so it's completely capable of launching games and other GUI applications as the specified user.

./ -u stmuser -c


Displays the help message. Basically a less verbose version of this page.

./ -h


Install the secondary script, st34m-run. The first script you download basically handles when to clean up extra processes and sanitize input for st34m-run. The -i option will download and configure the st34m-run script automatically. By default, st34m will download this to /home/${runas_user}/.script/

./ -i