Steam on Mac, case-sensitive workaround

So, Steam for OS X just went live.


Then they announce Portal is FREE! (until May 24th, 2010 at least).


So I download the Steam .dmg to my Mac, copy Steam over to /Applications, try to run it, and promptly get:

Steam requires that be created on a case-insensitive file system, with read-write access.



(I mean, why couldn’t they have ported the thing properly and made sure the paths/file names in the code were all lower case or something?)

You know—there are people who like case-sensitive file systems because it forces them to be more careful with how they code. You know—not every file system is like, FAT32 where “readme.txt”, “README.TXT” and “ReadMe.tXt” all refer to the same file!

Anyway—while I love to rant, I also like to fix things. So here goes:

1. Create a new partition, formatted simply as Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Note—NOT case-sensitive. I made mine 10GB, and labeled it steam. Fortunately, Disk Utility lets us play around with partitions. Who needs Partition Magic?

2. Copy to the new partition

But wait, there’s more! If you try to run Steam now, it’ll complain about ~/Library/Application Support/Steam (and later, ~/Documents/Steam Content). Hang in there with me for a second.

3. Create the necessary folders on your new partition

I ended up creating /Application Support/Steam and /Documents/Steam Content on the steam volume.

4. Create symbolic links to these new folders from where Steam looks for them

First make sure that the folders ~/Library/Application Support/Steam and ~/Documents/Steam Content don’t exist yet (the Steam app will try to create these for you). If they do, just delete them.

Time for some Terminal magic. Run Terminal, and go

cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/
ln -ns /Volumes/steam/Application\ Support/Steam/ Steam
cd ~/Documents
ln -ns /Volumes/steam/Documents/Steam\ Content/ "Steam Content"
sudo ln -s /Volumes/ /volumes

The last line will require you to enter your administrator password. I just added that in courtesy of Josh Anderson’s own post. Without that other symbolic link, it seems Steam will have trouble finding the content/games it’s already downloaded.

5. Run Steam.

6. Download Portal

7. …

8. Profit!

You’re welcome.

Added: Also, here’s another workaround by Josh Anderson that doesn’t require you to create a new partition, but uses a case-insensitive disk image instead.