|Linux||September 17, 1991|
- Wide variety of distributions available, allowing unparalleled user choice and customizability across the board.
- The quality of native ports on Linux varies. Some games might perform worse when compared to other operating systems; other might perform better.
- Many Windows games can be played by using either Steam Play or Wine.
- DistroWatch - page dedicated to Linux distributions
- ProtonDB - crowdsourced database of Proton (Steam Play) games performance
- Phoronix - website dedicated to hardware and benchmarking in Linux
- OpenBenchmarking - a list of user-made benchmarks in Linux
- FlightlessMango - a list of user-made benchmarks in Linux
- /r/linuxhardware - subreddit dedicated to Linux hardware
- /r/linuxquestions - subreddit dedicated to Linux-related questions
- Linux Journey - a beginner-friendly page about learning Linux in general
- ArchWiki - wiki intended for Arch but is useful for other distros
- ARM - info on Linux ARM distros, devices, and software support
- Gaming On Linux - a large community dedicated for gaming on Linux
- /r/linux_gaming - Linux gaming subreddit
- /r/linux4noobs - subreddit dedicated for Linux newbies
- Linux Game Cast - pod/videocast
- Back2Gaming - Gaming related news/guide page. More oriented into Linux
- 1 Distributions
- 2 Desktop environments
- 3 Kernel
- 4 Hardware
- 5 Other
- 6 Wine
- 7 Stores and clients
- 8 Improvements
- 9 Common fixes
- 10 References
There are two types of release models which distros are using, both have their pros and cons.
- Offers stable packages
- Most distros which use it are beginner friendly
- Very little maintenance
- Package versions are usually tied to the distro version, so to get the recent packages, you need to update your OS
- Stable packages don't contain the newest features. This is especially important in case of GPU drivers
- Manual intervention is required in order to add user-made repositories in some distros.
- Updating the distro to the next version doesn't require a fresh install and is easy to carry out but might take up to few hours (but usually below an hour)
- Many Debian-based distros offer "backports" and/or "testing" modes that provide newer versions of some packages than what the stable version does.
|Distribution||Based on||Desktop(s) [fr note 1]||Release cycle||Supported by[fr note 2]||Description|
|Ubuntu and Ubuntu flavours||Debian||GNOME, KDE Plasma, LXQt, Budgie, MATE, Xfce, UKUI||6 months, 2 years for LTS||Steam, GoG, many commercial developers||The most popular distribution. Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) is officially supported by Steam. If you don't know what to choose, pick this one. Ubuntu non-LTS is updated more often and contains newer packages and functions and is also a great option. Note that as of 19.10, Canonical will include some of the 32 bit packages if needed. Flavours offer different Desktop Environments, but when it comes to compatibility, they are virtually the same as Ubuntu.|
|Pop! OS||Ubuntu||GNOME||6 months||same as Ubuntu[fr note 3]||A Ubuntu based distro created and maintained by System76 which includes it's own repository. Unlike Ubuntu, it includes much more recent drivers for your graphics card and it's generally more recommended for beginners.|
|Linux Mint||Ubuntu LTS||Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE||Up to 2 years||same as Ubuntu[fr note 3]||The most popular beginner-friendly Linux distribution. LMDE 2 Edition is based on Debian. Be aware that the packages may be much older compared to Ubuntu LTS releases, but the main advantage is the built-in kernel upgrader.|
|KDE Neon||Ubuntu LTS||KDE Plasma||Up to a year||same as Ubuntu[fr note 3]||A distro created by the KDE community, compared to the Kubuntu (A KDE Plasma flavoured Ubuntu) it provides the latest version of KDE Plasma, while at the same time being able to use packages from Ubuntu.|
|openSUSE Leap||Independent||GNOME, KDE Plasma, XFCE||1 year for each new release||Leap uses source from SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE), which gives Leap a level of stability unmatched by other Linux distributions, and combines that with community developments to give users, developers and sysadmins the best stable Linux experience available. uses YAST which is a friendly GUI to install packages and serves to install Nvidia's proprietary drivers in a simple way.|
|SteamOS||Debian (Oldoldstable)||GNOME||Varies||Steam||Linux distribution made by Valve Corporation specifically for Steam Machine or for gaming from couch. It currently provides the latest stable Linux kernel along with newer drivers for GPU. Offers an option to act as a desktop system, it may be behind in terms of packages.|
- Default options are marked in bold
- look at Official Support TODO: add it
- Support is not official, but the distros are so similar, that everything that works for Ubuntu will work here.
- Provides the latest version of the package once they're available
- No distro upgrade is required, as most distros have only one version.
- An update for the package may cause stability issues, so it is recommended to organize an update by yourself in case a revision gets a release, which fixes stability issues.
- In some cases, manual intervention is required.
- No currently listed rolling release distribution has any official support from any store, due to the distros' reliance on
.rpmbinaries instead of
- Some distros offer a semi-rolling release, meaning that the package will be tested before the release, it mostly takes less than a month, often a week depending on distro.
|Distribution||Based On||Desktop(s)[rr note 1]||Description|
|Fedora and Fedora Spins||Independent||GNOME, KDE Plasma, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQT, SUGAR||Fedora is a very stable independent rolling release distribution sponsored by Red Hat Enterprise, GNOME is its default desktop environment but it offers many alternatives, based on RPM packages and with a great community it is one of the best rolling releases at the moment. It is almost as user friendly as Ubuntu, but with the advantage of more up to date packages and better upgrade between versions. Spins offer different Desktop Environments, but when it comes to compatibility, they are virtually the same as Fedora.|
|EndeavourOS||Arch Linux||Budgie, Cinnamon, GNOME, i3, KDE Plasma, LXQt, MATE, Xfce||EndeavourOS is the successor to Antergos, and is based off Arch Linux and can utilize the Arch User Repository, offering a huge amount of packages to satisfy all types of users. It is extremely similar to Vanilla Arch apart from having an additional repo with a handful of useful scripts and utilities, and a much easier way of installing compared to Arch.|
|openSUSE Tumbleweed||Independent||GNOME, KDE Plasma, XFCE||Rolling version of openSUSE which uses automated testing to provide more stability than many other rolling releases. When used with BTRFS on the root partition, snapshots are taken before and after updating, allowing easy restores if there is an update breakage.|
|Solus||Independent||Budgie, GNOME, MATE, KDE Plasma||Despite following the rolling release model it provides stable packages and features great hardware compatibility with any GPU. Includes a special tool called Linux Steam Integration (LSI) which allows you to easily customize Steam ranging from using the libraries from your system (Native mode) or force 32-bit mode. Only stable releases of library and software are added with a very few exceptions (Such as Nvidia's Vulkan Beta Drivers)|
- Default options are marked in bold
The Linux community has created multiple variations of the desktop environment for you to choose from as by default the system uses the text mode by default, with their own basic software for common use such as file explorer, notepad, virtual terminal etc. along with their own purpose and features.
|Name||Avg. aggr. RAM use[rs note 1]||Description|
One of the oldest desktop environments which is still continuously updated. The 3rd generation of GNOME has a more tablet focused interface compared to GNOME 2 with a very large set of software combined with community-made ones as well as extensions, thankfully the GNOME Classic is included for those who do not like its theme and its compositor integrates really well with Nvidia graphics card, which does not cause any tearing at all. However, it's very limited in customization, forcing you to install GNOME Tweak to change things such as the color theme, icons etc.
For Wayland use, GNOME supports both GBM and EGLStreams APIs which makes it the only DE to support Wayland for every graphics cards that support it.
|KDE Plasma||582 MB||
The very 1st desktop environemnt which to this day is still being updated and maintained. Compared to GNOME, it uses less memory while having many of its features and software included which makes it very attractive to Windows/Mac users while being very customizeable and packed full of options for you to set up and a dedicated option to disable composition when running a software in full screen, providing a better performance in games. Nvidia users with proprietary driver must use at least 5.12.9 LTS or 5.15.9 which stabilizes the desktop for that matter.
Created by a original Solus developer and currently maintained by Solus Team. It currently serves as an alternative for GNOME 3 with a much more desktop-like interface and bear some similarities to Windows 10.
Created by Linux Mint Team, Cinnamon brings back the GNOME 2 appearance with a modern twist, while using some of the features present in GNOME 3, including its compositor's integration with Nvidia GPU. Allows you to run in Hardware (Default) and Software mode (No Composition).
Starting off as a clone of a Unix-like desktop environment named CDE, it became its own DE with a much more Windows XP-like appearance and with its light use of memory is well suited for low end hardware or even for Windows veterans.
MATE was born as a spiritual successor to GNOME 2 after a controversial change in GNOME 3. The DE is well suited for common Windows users while providing its own features such as audio preview by a mouse hover.
LXDE, which stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, is a desktop environment which is lightweight and fast. It is designed to be user friendly and slim, while keeping the resource usage low. LXDE uses less RAM and less CPU while being a feature rich desktop environment. Unlike other tightly integrated desktops LXDE strives to be modular, so each component can be used independently with few dependencies. This makes porting LXDE to different distributions and platforms easier.
Starting off as LXDE and later one in combination with Razor-Qt it became LXQt. The most lightweight desktop environment ever created, despite its limited features and customization along with the lack of compositor it is perfectly suited for the lowest end hardware.
- Wikipedia page
- It is important to update your Linux kernel as new versions provide security updates, bugfixes, better performance and support for hardware. Your distributions repository contains the latest version for your OS.
There are two main releases of the official Linux kernel:
- the Long Term Support (LTS) is slightly behind in terms of hardware support and features, but offers better stability and has longer support,
- stable release (sometimes called the current release) offers the best hardware support and the newest features. It's the default choice for a gaming machine and should be avoided only if it causes some issues.
Both releases offer the same security updates.
- This section is meant for advanced users, you can easily break your OS, if you don't know what you are doing!
While both stable and LTS Linux kernel releases can be used for gaming, there are also community-made ones which add features and improvements, thus may improve your gaming experience even further. Be warned that you may have to install the DKMS version of the drivers along with the kernel headers to make your hardware useable with multiple kernels, this is not required if the kernel already includes it.
The most notable releases:
- For help with installing different kernels on distro of your choice, you should go to kernel version official website or your distros forum and wiki.
- Be sure to keep the current kernel you have in case if things go wrong.
- UKUU is an useful utility for swaping kernels, although newer versions have nonfree license.
It is very important to install the microcode for your CPU as the manufacturer provides security and stability updates.
Most distributions use either package manager or some kind of firmware/drivers manager to update your microcode.
- ArchWiki's ATI and Catalyst Article
- ArchWiki's AMDGPU/AMDGPU Pro Article
- ArchWiki's Nvidia and Nouveau Article
- ArchWiki's Intel Graphics Article
Here is a following table describing the drivers and information which Linux supports for each GPU brand.
|Brand||Driver type||Kernel driver||Library||Supported GPU||Vulkan support|
|AMD/ATI||Open Source||Radeon||Mesa (GLX and DRI)||GCN 2 and older architecture||No|
|AMDGPU||GCN and newer architecture1||Yes (RadV, AMDVLK)|
|Proprietary||AMDGPU Pro||GCN and newer architecture||Yes|
|Fglrx||Catalyst GL Library||GCN 3 and older architecture||No|
|Nvidia||Open Source||Nouveau||Mesa (GLX and DRI)||Any Nvidia GPU|
|Proprietary||Nvidia||Nvidia GLX||From Kepler based GPUs to recent||Yes|
|Nvidia 390||Nvidia 390 GLX||From Fermi based GPUs to recent|
|Nvidia 340||Nvidia 340 GLX||For Tesla based GPUs||No|
|Nvidia 304||Nvidia 304 GLX||From GeForce 6 series to Tesla based GPUs|
|Nvidia 173||Nvidia 173 GLX||GeForce 5 FX series (NV30 to NV36)|
|Nvidia 96||Nvidia 96 GLX||From GeForce 2/3/4 MX/Ti|
|Intel||Open Source||Xorg Intel2||Mesa (GLX and DRI)||Any Intel HD Graphics GPU||Yes (ANV)|
1 - GCN 1 and 2 architecture support in AMDGPU is experimental.
2 - Do not use it on Intel HD 4000 series and newer GPU.
AMD/ATI users should use the open source driver as they provide the best performance and support compared to the proprietary ones, while Nvidia users should stick to the proprietary ones. However there are some things to remember:
- Never install drivers from the respective GPU brand's website unless you are forced to, since some installers would require you to install through text mode, like in case of Nvidia. AMD however have prepared packages that can be ran for distros they support. Otherwise rely on the graphical package manager installation, to ease it up.
- If forced to use Catalyst, Nvidia 173 or Nvidia 96 drivers, you must downgrade Xorg to the version it got the last support.
- Before using the open source driver you must install LLVM and Linux Firmware.
- As always when using a 64-bit system, install the 32-bit version of the drivers if possible.
Ubuntu (and Ubuntu-derived distros such as Mint, Pop!_OS, and Neon)
sudo add-apt-repository <PPA repository> to add one. Make sure to run
sudo apt update in order to update the repository list after adding one.
|ppa:paulo-miguel-dias/pkppa||Padoka Stable Mesa. For AMD/Intel/Nouveau GPU drivers, also contains Wayland.|
|ppa:paulo-miguel-dias/mesa||Padoka Unstable Mesa. Same as the previous, however it is the developer version. Mind the issues you may encounter.|
|ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa||"Graphics Drivers" Teams' PPA. Contains the recent proprietary Nvidia drivers and the Vulkan drivers for that GPU.|
|ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/updates||Ubuntu X Team's Stable Mesa. For AMD/Intel/Nouveau GPU drivers, also contains Wayland.|
To install support for Vulkan API (will be functional only if you have a Vulkan capable GPU and driver), execute the following command
sudo dnf install vulkan-loader vulkan-loader.i686
First, update (and reboot) your system
sudo dnf update
Next, make sure the official repos are installed
sudo dnf install fedora-workstation-repositories
Enable the NVIDIA driver repo
sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled rpmfusion-nonfree-nvidia-driver
Reboot again. After the reboot, verify the addition of the repository via the following command
sudo dnf repository-packages rpmfusion-nonfree-nvidia-driver info
If several NVIDIA drivers are loaded, it was done correctly. Finally, login, connect to the internet, and open the software app. Click Add-ons > Hardware Drivers > NVIDIA Linux Graphics Driver > Install.
Please refer to the Nvidia website to determine which driver best supports your GPU. There are two Nvidia driver options available in the Nvidia repository - nvidia-glG05 and nvidia-glG04, which refers to the Nvidia 460 series driver and Nvidia 390 series driver respectively
Add the Nvidia Repository
sudo zypper addrepo --refresh 'https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/leap/$releasever' NVIDIA
Install the appropriate driver by running
sudo zypper in x11-video-nvidiaG05 or
sudo zypper in x11-video-nvidiaG04
Add the Nvidia Repository
sudo zypper addrepo --refresh https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed NVIDIA
Install the appropriate driver by running
sudo zypper in x11-video-nvidiaG05 or
sudo zypper in x11-video-nvidiaG04
- Nvidia Optimus linux guide
- To this day the Optimus support in Nvidia GPUs is still considered to be troublesome. It is recommended to use fixed release distributions for this case.
In case of laptops which contains Nvidia Optimus support it is recommended to have PRIME enabled, which can be done by installing additional package, follow the distro’s documentation to learn which one. The alternative to it can be Nvidia XRun package and Bumblebee's optirun/primusrun (Not recommended as it is no longer in development), but then the manual intervention is required (With the exception of the former). The linked guide will explain in detail the differences between them, as well as how to use them.
AMD users have a much easier time with that feature as it only requires running the game with the
Audio is mostly handled by ALSA, with or without PulseAudio. You may set up to use ALSA only, however it is mostly recommended to use with the latter, as it acts as a main central configuration point for audio itself and some games are set to use PA by default. When using a sound card you must install ALSA Firmware package from your repository, while in case of using Bluetooth headphones in PulseAudio, install its PulseAudio Bluetooth library.
When it comes to API in Linux games, there are multiple of them such as OpenAL (Otherwise known as OpenAL Soft), SDL_mixer, SteamAudio, FMOD and more. But the most popular ones are the first two APIs.
You may also encounter the OSS, also known as Open Sound System, released in 1995, it was used as a default sound manager which was added into the kernel, until it was replaced by ALSA in 2.5 version release of Linux kernel. Linux games released till 2001 were using it to play any sound. Even to this day, the OSS is still being updated but it is not much used anymore. If you ever encounter a software where it supports only this audio interface and complaing about the lack of
/dev/dsp, you have to either install the OSS itself and set the audio up (the hard way) or rely on emulation. In general, installing the OSSP package and enabling/starting its daemon process (osspd) is enough to do it as it supports both PulseAudio and ALSA, but it is not updated frequently.
Another way is to use the OSS emulator for the specific audio interface:
- PulseAudio can use the
padspcommand which can be found with the PulseAudio utility package or in some distros, already included with the main software.
- ALSA users should install the alsa-oss package and then use the
aoss, if using a 64-bit system you need to use the
-32argument if you run a 32-bit application.
Do not run
aoss if you are using PulseAudio, all you will get is a static noise mixed with the white ones at high volume!
In case of MIDI, installing Timidity is required along with either soundfonts or FreePats package. Depending on the distro, it will either set it up automatically or require manual intervention. Keep in mind that if you are using PulseAudio, all the sounds, beside the MIDI music, will be muted unless you include the -iA -Os argument for the timidity command as either an autostart or as a user-made service.
You can also use Fluidsynth, however bear in mind that it uses more CPU and needs to be set up to work alongside with PulseAudio, but compared to Timidity, it is more up to date.
- Libinput ArchWiki article
- Touchpad ArchWiki article
- Keyboard Configuration in Xorg ArchWiki article
- Touchscreen ArchWiki article
The keyboard and mouse are supported on the go, however if using XOrg you must have its input-libinput (input-evdev being the alternative) package installed as well in order to work, however by default it will support only 3 buttons for the mouse, in order to use all of them, you have to configure it manually. When using a laptop you may also need to install XOrg's Synaptic package to have access to all features of your touchpad, against the touchscreen it will either work out of the box (besides some calibration) or being very tedious, especially when it is not supported by Linux kernel.
Wayland users only requires the libinput package itself, which also supports XOrg.
If using a mouse dedicated for gaming, there is a universal configurator called Piper. Due to the fact that the software is still new, there is a limited support for some mouse devices, it does support some of the Logitech mouses. However, there are some other ones made specifically for a product from one company:
- RazerGenie - Keyboard and Mouse setup for Razer products
- RazerCommander - Ditto
- RazerCFG - A much more simplified configurator for Razer products
- Roccat Configurator - An official configurator for Roccat products
- Polychromatic - Yet another configurator for Razer products
All the controllers such as DualShock 4, DirectInput gamepads and XInput ones (Such as Xbox 360) are supported, however in case of issues regarding XInput ones, you may wish to install xboxdrv. For calibration purpose, you can install the graphical interface of JSTest package to do it.
The most interesting thing is the Steam Controller, as despite requiring Steam to make it work, it’s entirely possible to use it outside of it with the use of third-party scripts which lets you emulate it as an actual gamepad or a mouse. Even so, far to use it on Wine, if it’s set properly.
It is possible to use SDL2's binary for testing the Joystick or Gamepad to set up a non-supported controller to work with SDL2 applications .
If dealing with a game that has a very limited or no controller support at all, the AntiMicroX has you covered. It allows you to bind keyboard and mouse inputs into the controller, however it works only in Xorg environment. Fedora has the stable build already available in their repository, Debian users should use the LibreGeek's repository, especially Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based distributions which can be added with this PPA. Otherwise, you need to compile the program on your own, which luckily includes the instructions and a list of dependencies required for compiling.
By default the most common format used in Linux is EXT4 which manages the files much more efficiently than Windows' NTFS, even so far to decrease loading time in games at the cost of being case sensitive, where for example
File1 is treated differently than
file1. While NTFS is supported, it is generally not recommended to use it for running installed games from it as it may cause compatibility issues depending on the software.
The most important aspect is the swap partition with its own disk format, they generally act as a RAM replacement, the absence of it will cause any software to shut down due to low memory and it's commonly used when putting the PC under Hibernation or Sleep mode. The size of the swap disk depends on how much RAM you have.
If less than 8 GB of RAM, you must increase the swap disk. If more than 8 GB of RAM, decrease the swap disk size.
It is generally recommended to partition your disk in this particular order: / (Root) Home Swap disk
The partition order also affects the performance of your HDD/SSD as the 1st partition has a higher priority than the other ones, you can create multiple partitions for each directory with a specific disk size to use or use the entire free space on Root and leave some for swap.
Wayland or Xorg?
- Wayland is newer than Xorg and is considered to be technically superior.
- Wayland is not supported by older proprietary games.
While hanging around the Linux community you have most likely heard about the Wayland, which is meant to replace the decades old XOrg display server raising the question if you should consider switching to it or stay.
The main advantage of Wayland are:
- Passive compositioning when fetching pixel data from the client, which removes any kind of latency.
- Isolating I/O of every window and provide smaller access to root for running the code, improving the security.
- Acts as both display server and as a compositor. Whereas XOrg only acts as a former but a 3rd party compositor is required.
- Backwards compatibility with softwares that rely on XOrg through XWayland.
This all however depends on the driver which your GPU uses as there are two buffer APIs which Wayland makes use of, as well as its implementation for the desktop environment.
|Proprietary (From 364.12+)||EGLStreams|
Both GNOME 3 and KDE Plasma supports Wayland for all APIs (With Plasma's case, EGLStreams support began with 5.16). Nvidia proprietary driver however are way behind in terms of supporting it as it lacks most of the key extensions such as Vulkan support under it along with low performance on XWayland, forcing you to use Xorg instead.
AMD and Intel users however, contains all the required extensions for a full experience.
Certain APIs used for software would require a specific package or an environment variable to run in Wayland mode:
- GTK3 - Supported and enabled by default since 3.20, if not, use the
GDK_BACKEND=waylandcommand at the beginning.
- Qt5 - Requires the Qt5 Wayland package. After that you can either set the environment variable
QT_QPA_PLATFORM=waylandor run the Qt 5 application with the
-platform waylandcommand-line argument.
- SDL2 - Added in 2.0.2 enabled by default since 2.0.4. If not, use
SDL_VIDEODRIVER=waylandcommand before running the application. You can enforce newer SDL2 on games and use the command, although there may be a risk of graphical glitches to appear.
- GLFW - Install the Wayland version package of GLFW instead of X11, support added in 3.2.
- EFL - Enabled by default.
- Clutter - Included with clutter package
- FreeGLUT - Has initial support.
Warning: these environment variables can break many commercial games! Wayland support is still relatively new, and proprietary Linux games often rely on older versions of libraries which do not have support for Wayland.
The best option is to use Wayland by default for your typical workflow, but force older games to run under X.org:
- GTK3 - Set
- Qt5 - Set
- SDL2 - Set
Alternatively, you may try to force the game to use system libraries as opposed to its own runtime (see Store:Steam#Use_Native_Steam_runtime_mode)
It is entirely possible to benchmark native Linux games in this system by using the Phoronix Test Suite. While it is not in GUI form, it's actually very easy to use. You will need to download any game you wish to benchmark through this program and later on run it. The biggest advantage is that once it's completed, it will save the information as a webpage which the program automatically generates, creating a separate result is not required, as the program can also include it to the existing ones, making a comparison between the hardware you have used or settings much easier.
If decided to benchmark on your own, whether the game has a built-in benchmark or not, using Gallium HUD is recommended. Due to the option of displaying the FPS, CPU or even the GPU load graph while running the software and can be customized to your need and it is available when the Mesa package (version 13 or newer) has been installed. This option is only available for AMD, Intel HD and Nouveau.
Another much simpler and available for every kind of GPU is the glxosd which requires installing the package with the same name and just like Gallium HUD, you need to type
glxosd before launching a game. The settings can be changed in the glxosd_config.lua file located in
/etc/glxosd/. It is recommended to change the refresh rate of displaying the information as by default it will show the current info after 3 seconds (In config file it's 3000).
Steam users can use Valve's voglpref which only works for Steam. It will display both information in the Terminal and at the custom website which can be accessed privately, from there you perform any task you want, although you need to know the SteamID of the game you wish to benchmark.
Since Linux 3.9 and recent QEmu version, it is possible to passthrough a graphics card, motherboard or even other hardwares into the virtual machine. The main advantage of it is having a native GPU working on Windows 7/8/10 in virtual machine such as the KVM or QEmu, which allows you to play Windows games on it without even using the dual-boot or relying on Wine to do so! However, there are some disadvantages:
- Your CPU must support hardware virtualization and IOMMU
- Your motherboard must also support IOMMU
- Your GPU must support UEFI
- You need a 2nd hardware for PCI passthrough
- It takes some time to set up and the whole process may be a little tough for beginners
The following links and the subreddit can be used to learn about the process. Keep in mind that it is not possible to perform a PCI passthrough from Windows. This can be done only in Linux itself!
WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is a compatibility layer which allows you to run Windows programs in Unix/Linux environment, its main advantage is a wide support of Windows versions ranging from 3.11 to Windows 10 and supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of their systems (32 bit only if you have a 32 bit version of Wine). Besides that some games may even work better than on native Windows such as games which use OpenGL or Vulkan rendering. However a manual intervention may be required if there are issues and checking the WineHQ’s App Database to see if it’s compatible and how to make it work. There are multiple versions of this program each with their own differences:
- Staging - Provides additional features such as CSMT which may or may not improve the performance of the game and contains community-made patches which improves the compatibility.
- Gallium Nine - Uses Gallium3D State Tracker, which dramatically improves the performance for games using DirectX 9, as it won’t translate Direct3D calls into OpenGL.
- Proton - A fork of Wine created by Valve and CodeWeavers which includes special patches and additional addons such as DXVK, FAudio, ESync etc. mainly dedicated for gaming and is integrated with Steam, but it is possible to use without it.
- Proton-GE - A fork of Proton by GloriousEggroll that has FFmpeg enabled for FAudio by default, and all of Proton's patches ported over to be applied to WINE, as well as Wine-staging and VKD3D. Proton-GE will work better with some games and some games only work on GE, this is a case by case basis so refer to ProtonDB.
- tkg - Considered to be a "Wine to rule them all!" it contains a large set of patches and features from other community project to provide the best performance and compatibility for games and can be easily customized to your preference, however it was mainly made for Arch Linux (and distros based on it), but it is possible to use it in other distributions. A Protonified version uses Proton as a base instead.
So far only AMD and Nvidia graphics cards which rely on open source drivers have a support for Gallium 3D Nine which greatly benefits the compatibility and performance with DirectX 9-based games.
If WINE itself is hard to use there are also front-ends which may improve your experience with it:
Stores and clients
|Name||Client available||Registers Linux sales?||Notes|
|Game Jolt||Yes (Optional)||Unknown|
|Snap Store||Yes (Optional)||No|
- There are no best distros, it all depends on your need. You may be switching between it until you find a perfect one, commonly called “distro hopping”.
- Always ask the forum or refer to the documentation of the distro in case you have a problem. Arch Linux one can be used regardless the distro you are using.
- In some distros, such as Arch Linux, you may want to check the main page before updating, sometimes a manual intervention is required, but will always provide instructions what to do. Not required for fixed release type distros.
- You don’t have to keep making an update if a new version is released in a rolling release distro, you can always do it later. It’s actually recommended to do it after some time to avoid any stability issue.
- Always use virtual machines such as VirtualBox to learn about the distro you want to use. Some distros have a LiveCD or LiveUSB which allows you to check the distro out before installing or even use it for the maintenance. Make sure to install any utilities related to VirtualBox at the Linux distro you are emulating such as graphics drivers.
- Some keys on your keyboard are labeled differently on Linux. Meta4/Super key is actually the Windows key, while "^X" in text mode is actually Ctrl+X.
- Almost all of the desktop environments have their own Terminal, you can install a 3rd-party one which generally are more feature rich.
- If you are confused with using the package manager in Terminal for each distro, this page will help you.
- Having a second workstation is extremely useful in case if the game hangs out or freezes without any option to minimize it back to the desktop. Mostly happens to the Xorg/X11 server display.
- Files and folders can be hidden by adding "." at the beginning of the name.
- If using a 64-bit version of the distro. Always make sure to install the 32-bit package counterpart for the compatibility!
- Configuration files for games and applications are stored in your Home directory which are mostly hidden. Either at the
- If someone tells you to use this command
sudo rm -Rf /, don't do it unless you want to have a bad time, since it deletes your entire OS installation.
Disable mitigations for transient execution CPU vulnerabilities
- Be aware that disabling these will cause your PC to be susceptible to multiple vulnerabilities such as Spectre, Meltdown, Zombieland etc. Use it with discretion.
- Outside of specific microbenchmarks, disabling the default mitigations should result into an average performance increase of 5-10%. The following parameter used in here is available only in 5.1.13 kernel or newer (or backports to 3.16.68, 4.4.180, 4.9.176, 4.14.119 and 4.19.43), for others see this parameters string.
|Edit the GRUB settings|
Open up the
Re-generate the grub.cfg using one of these commands as root:
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg update-grub # Used by Ubuntu based distros, easy version of the 1st one.
Disable mouse acceleration in Xorg
- Some desktop environments offer an option to set up the mouse acceleration directly from the settings menu (Such as KDE Plasma, GNOME and later on MATE)
|Create a new Xorg rule|
Create a config file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ as
Section "InputClass" Identifier "My Mouse" Driver "libinput" MatchIsPointer "yes" Option "AccelProfile" "flat" EndSection
Then restart the system or Xorg (In most distros its Ctrl+Alt+Backspace ←)
Improve shutdown time in systemd
|Edit the system.conf|
In some desktop environments such as LXQt, the system shutdown or restart process may take longer due to Systemd having the time to stop the session set to 1 minute 30 seconds by default.
Install watchdog package and enable/run the watchdog service.
Resolution scaling with xrandr
It is entirely possible to scale the resolution through multiplications (
--scale) or by resolution (
xrandr command. Provided that you input the monitor name and your current resolution, which can be learned by using
xrandr -q command (It will also list available resolutions).
Here are some examples:
xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1024x768 --scale 0.5x0.5- this will downscale the resolution by 0.5 while using 1024x768 resolution in VGA1 monitor.
xrandr --output VGA3 --mode 1920x1080 --scale-from 1440x900- This command will imitate the 1440x900 resolution under 1080p in your VGA3 monitor.
Use Feral Game Mode to improve the performance
- Most distros includes the software in their repository, it is recommended to install both 64 and 32 bit versions to apply in every game, if not, the source code can be found in the GitHub page.
- Supports custom scripts
- Developers can use it to implement in their games.
Feral Game Mode is used by Feral Interactive to provide optimization in their games (From Rise Of The Tomb Raider) when being ran, it provides changes to these following processes:
- CPU governor
- Input/Output priority
- Process niceness
- Kernel scheduler
- Screensaver inhibiting
- GPU performance mode (Nvidia and AMD), GPU overclocking (Nvidia)
Once the package is installed, you can activate it when running other games with
gamemoderun *game executable/launcher*, on Steam add
gamemoderun %command% into Launch Options.
Enable 32-bit support for your distro
|Enable 32-bit library support in Ubuntu/Debian based distros|
As Ubuntu/Debian 64-bit distros have 32-bit libraries disabled by default, this can cause compatibility issues with the software (Especially with upgrading Wine). To enable it you must use these following commands:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386 sudo apt update
List missing dependencies
|List the missing dependencies|
As GOG, Steam and other stores mostly support Ubuntu due to its popularity in both making another distribution (Such as Linux Mint) or wide use, there can be a limited support for the other distros such as Arch Linux, Fedora, etc. Mostly in terms of requiring dependencies to run the game or a software.
ldd <binary file>
After running the command, it'll list all the *.so files the software uses, if there is a "Not found" somewhere, this is the moment to learn which package does it contain the file.
The missing dependency checkup can be even easier with the inclusion of the
ldd <binary_file> | grep "Not found"
This will only look for the lines related to "Not found" only, if nothing shows up then you have everything you need.
|Improve compiling speed in AUR (Manjaro, Antergos, Arch Linux)|
Open makepkg.conf as root and under MAKEFLAGS add
Create a script which the game uses libraries from your system instead
|Make a native executable for your game|
#!/bin/sh LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/path/to/library /path/to/executable
4. Once done, save it and make it executable using either
|The Nvidia DKMS driver won't install after updating it|
|Set up a primary monitor in multi-monitor setup|
|No sound|
Open the Terminal and type as root
|Crackling sound/audio delay in PulseAudio|
Type in terminal this command to stop and then start PulseAudio at the same time:
pulseaudio -k && pulseaudio --start
Nvidia users can fix the screen tearing by enabling Force Composition Pipeline in Nvidia Settings, if it persists, enable Force Full Composition (Keep in mind that it reduces the performance in games even more).
AMD and Intel HD users do not have to do anything as DRI3 handles the refresh rate by default without compromising the performance, provided the compositor contains the Present extension.
If it persists, chances are you may be required to install and use a 3rd party compositor such as Compiz, Compton etc.
- Debian releases - last accessed on 2021-06-26