There were a few relatively easy options open to me in trying my hand at installing Steam. One was to use the pre-packaged rpm recommended by the Valve Developer Community that can be found here. Another was to use yum along with this steam.repo. These both were labelled “Beta”. Finally, I could take the official .deb for Ubuntu and use alien to convert it into an rpm.
The advantage to using the yum repository was that all the necessary dependencies would be loaded at the same time. Because the package is compiled with the i686 architecture this turned out to be a significant plus (my system is x86_64, and so most of the packages needed were not there in their i686 version).
After trying out the yum install method, I removed the steam package (but not its dependencies) and instead installed an rpm converted from the .deb using alien (very good instructions on getting alien on Fedora 17 can be found here). The main difference I noticed in the package converted from .deb was that the version installed was newer.
One annoyance with all these packages is that they assume all users can sudo as root, which is frowned upon by some sysadmins (like me) that think it makes systems less secure. The better answer is to design installers so they invoke a system service to perform operations that require root not requiring average users to have perpetual root privileges.
I was able to use one of the Steam accounts created for my kids to log in and snoop around a bit, confirming the software was working. What kind of gaming experience my basic business workstation will deliver is still a big question mark. Right now the shipping Intel 2500 integrated video is fine for real life computer work, but I’m thinking it may not cut it for many graphically intensive games.
At this writing there still aren’t many games that Steam will allow you to install onto a Linux system, for example the classic version of Rome Total War is a no-go. It will be interesting to see what becomes available as time goes on.