Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fix steam error libGL error: failed to load driver: swrast in debian

If you have steam client installed on debian sid, once a while, operating system is upgraded and then the upgraded break steam client. An example output of such error encountered.
user@localhost:~$ steam
Running Steam on debian 8 64-bit
STEAM_RUNTIME is enabled automatically
Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1421694684)
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: driver pointer missing
libGL error: failed to load driver: r600
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: failed to load driver: swrast

So steam client fail to launch and this look like 3d graphic driver unable to load or not install. Don't bother to even install the package libgl1-mesa-swx11 that provide the file swrast because at this point of time, installation of this package will not work as conflict is clearly indicated. Conflicts: libgl1, libgl1-mesa-swrast, mesag3, mesag3+ggi, mesag3-glide, mesag3-glide2, nvidia-glx. Installation of this package will render debian gui not usable, had that path :( So don't do that.

So I have google and found a good solution and below is what I have taken. I hope it works for you too.
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu$ mv
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu$ ls*
lrwxrwxrwx 1 user user 19 Jul 19 2014 ->
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 901K Jul 19 2014
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu$ rm
rm: remove symbolic link ‘’? y
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu$ pwd

user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ pwd
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ mv
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ rm
rm: remove symbolic link ‘’? y
user@localhost:~/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu$ pwd

As you can see above, the example shown two symbolic links in two different directory, i386 and amd64 were removed. Then again for the file that symlink pointed to is moved to another name and so it can be revert if something goes wrong after.

After these were removed, start again the steam client and steam will redownload the file and it should work again! :-)


  1. Thanks for the post. I have long suffered from this. Constantly reinstalled Steam until I has replaced a system dll files I followed your advice. Now more than a month, everything works like clockwork. Good luck.

    1. well, you are welcome, i hope this solved you pain forever. :)