Install Distrobox on the Steamdeck

To install Distrobox on the steamdeck, we can install both podman and distrobox inside the $HOME so that containers will survive updates.

Install Podman

To install podman, refer to the install guide:

And podman is ready to use!

Alternative Install Lilipod

To install lilipod, refer to the install guide:

And lilipod is ready to use!

Install Distrobox

Installing distrobox in HOME is quite straightforward:

Setup ~/.distroboxrc

We need to add some tweaks to our ~/.distroboxrc to have GUI and Audio working correctly in SteamOS

Ensure your ~/.distroboxrc has this content:

xhost +si:localuser:$USER
export PIPEWIRE_RUNTIME_DIR=/dev/null
export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/.local/bin

This will force the use of pulseaudio inside the container, right now pipewire is not working correctly inside the container, and it’s a SteamOS specific issue.

xhost is needed to ensure the graphical apps can talk to the Xwayland session.

PATH is needed to ensure distrobox can find the podman binary we previously downloaded.

Start using it

You can now start using distrobox on the deck, open the terminal and go:

distrobox create && distrobox enter

Refer to the quickstart guide and to the usage docs And don’t forget the useful tips!