For many years it’s been possible to run Linux games on FreeBSD along with other Linux applications thanks to FreeBSD’s “Linuxulator” Linux binary compatibility layer. With that more recently it’s becoming possible to run even more recent games thanks to improvements to FreeBSD’s graphics drivers, the Linux binary compatibility code, and other FreeBSD improvements — Steam is even working out for more titles.
FreeBSD and KDE packager/developer Adriaan de Groot wrote a blog post on Tuesday outlining the current steps for getting Valve’s Steam Linux build running on FreeBSD. FreeBSD offers a “linux-steam-utils” package that makes it much easier to get going than far back when many of the Linux components needed to be installed manually. There are also a number of Linux compatibility kernel modules that need to be loaded and mounting the necessary file-system support. Additionally, the Linux compatibility shared memory “SHM” device needs to be made writable. After running steam-install.
If all went well, FreeBSD gamers can then just run steam and enjoy Steam on FreeBSD thanks to the Linux compatibility support. Though so far this method has only been tested for Linux-native games and trying to get Steam Play / Proton working on FreeBSD will likely be an extra can of worms.
In any case for those wanting to toy with Steam on Linux on FreeBSD can see Adriaan’s blog post for the current steps involved.