How to have every one of your installed games deleted at once.

When I built my current desktop, I had a lot of perfectly serviceable parts left from the last computer that needed something to do, so I put together a Linux server.  This was far from my first Linux system, but it’s the first one I’ve ever built that wasn’t a small form factor PC or a NUC or something, and I’ve been using it for all sorts of general PC tasks – hosting VMs, Blu-Ray ripping, light gaming thanks to Steam’s Linux initiative (It has an Nvidia GT710 in it.  I mean LIGHT gaming.)

Anyway, it’s been running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for a while, and I just noticed that 18.04.1 LTS had been released and that I could now upgrade.

To give the Canonical team their due props, upgrading went really smoothly.  It occasionally stopped and asked me if I wanted to keep changes that I’d made to system configuration files, but otherwise it was entirely automated.

Then I got a prompt of “You have 425 obsolete packages, do you want to remove them?”

…man, that’s a lot of obsolete packages.  Hmm.

Oh, well, what the hell. We’ve come this far, so we might as well.

It happily churned away and got me a bunch of disk space back and rebooted into a shiny new Unity-free Ubuntu desktop.

Hmm, all of the Steam shortcuts on the desktop look funny.  Well, let’s launch Steam.  Hmm.  Steam isn’t installed.  Must have been an obsolete package.  Let’s reinstall Steam.

Narrator Voice: He reinstalled Steam.

Steam came up, but my library was completely empty… and, come to think of it, that is RATHER a lot of free disk space.

Soooooo… short version, Steam puts itself and all installed games into a .steam directory in your home directory, and it appears that Ubuntu’s “getting rid of obsolete packages” just nukes the entire directory from orbit.

It was the only way to be sure, I guess.

So, my advice: If you’re going to be gaming on Linux, move the Steam Library install location somewhere else or face the possible consequences.

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