Linux

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Linux
Linux cover
Developers
Linux Foundation
Release dates
Linux September 17, 1991
Linux at Wikipedia

Key points

Native Linux version of Steam has been released.
The number of natively supported Linux games has dramatically increased with the introduction of the Humble Bundle.
Windows-only games can be run using Wine, but depending on the game it may be significantly more challenging than on Windows.

Resources

Phoronix - Website dedicated to hardware and benchmarking in Linux
Linux game database - resource of games and tools.
DistroWatch - page dedicated to Linux distributions
OpenBenchmarking - a list of user-made benchmarks in Linux
/r/linuxhardware - Subreddit dedicated for Linux Hardware
/r/linuxquestions - Subreddit dedicated for Linux-related questions

Communities

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.

Release Models and their distributions[edit]

There are two types of release models which linux distros are using, each one of em have their advantages and disadvantages.

Fixed Release[edit]

Offers stable packages
Most distros which use it are beginner friendly
Package versions are usually tied to the distro version, meaning that upgrading your system is a must if you want to get the recent versions which are considered stable
The release of new version of the distro, depending on the developer, may take from 6 months up to 2 or more years
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, often it all takes a simple command to perform it.
Distribution Based On Package Manager Desktop(s)1 Year(s) for the next version Description
Ubuntu and its flavours Debian DEB (Apt) Unity in case of flavours it varies Every 6 months The most well known and popular distribution created by Cannonical. It is supported by Steam and other stores. Starting from 17.10, it will use GNOME desktop instead.
Linux Mint Debian, Ubuntu DEB (Apt) MATE, XFCE, Cinnamon, KDE Plasma 5 Up to 2 years The most popular and most beginner friendly Linux distribution ever made. Due to the Ubuntu being used as a base, it is pretty much supported by most stores. LMDE 2 Edition is based on Debian itself rather than Ubuntu.
Fedora Independent RPM (Dnf) GNOME, KDE Plasma 5, LXDE/LXQt, MATE (With Compiz as composer), XFCE, Cinnamon, Soas Every year An independent distro created by the community supported Fedora Project and owned by Red Hat. Compared to the likes of Debian and Ubuntu, it provides latest but stable packages. Despite not being supported by various stores, the forum is very friendly for beginners. To get Fedora in other desktop environments, please refer to this link.
Debian Independent DEB (Apt) Almost all of them besides Unity 2+ years A distribution with a very large database of packages. By default it uses the Stable version which offers applications and libraries that are of course very stable, but very outdated. Can be changed into Testing which offers somewhat latest but a little less stable packages or into Unstable, which allows you to use bleeding edge packages, however as the name suggests, it may be unstable. The distro also supports older architectures. Note:If you consider using Debian as your Linux gaming system, consider using the Testing branch. The Stable one should be reserved for servers only.
openSUSE Independent RPM (Zypper) KDE Plasma 5, GNOME, Cinnamon, LXDE, XFCE Up to a year Project created by the community and sponsored by SUSE Linux and other companies which promotes using Linux on almost anything. It provides exclusive tools which allows you to set up your Linux environment much easier (Yast), provide packages for other Linux distributions (OBS), automated testing for "any" operating system (OpenQA) and even create your own Linux image (Kiwi). It also provides the best installation setup ever made. Not supported by stores, but the community is willing to help any newcomers.
KDE Neon Debian, Ubuntu DEB (Apt) KDE Plasma Up to a year A distro created by the KDE community, compared to the Kubuntu (A KDE flavoured Ubuntu) it provides the latest version of KDE Plasma, while at the same time being able to use packages from Ubuntu.
SteamOS Debian (Stable) DEB (Apt) GNOME Varies 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. Not recommended for the desktop use.
ZorinOS Debian, Ubuntu DEB (Apt) GNOME, LXDE Up to a year An extremely beginner friendly distro for users who wish to use Linux system who are used too much to the Windows. It provides exclusive features which allows you to set up the appearance ranging to Windows XP, Windows 7 or the Default GNOME while providing it's own futuristic theme. As the system uses Ubuntu database and it's based on it, it is pretty much supported by digital stores such as Steam, GOG etc.
Linux Lite Debian, Ubuntu DEB (Apt) XFCE A year or more A distro aimed for Windows users and low end PCs to assist users with everyday computing needs. It always uses XFCE as a default desktop environment.

1 - Bold ones are default

Rolling Release[edit]

Provides the latest version of the package once it’s available
No distro upgrade is required, as most distros have only one version.
Distros following the fixed release have an option to enable this type of release. Mostly under the name of Testing or Unstable
An update for the package may cause stability issues, so it is recommended organize an update by yourself in case a revision gets a release, which fixes stability issues.
In some cases, manual intervention is required.
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 Package Manager Desktop(s)1 Description
ArchLinux Independent Pacman, AUR Text Mode, but later on you can install any desktop environment Simple and very lightweight distro. The Pacman (Package Manager) is a powerful package manager which is much more simple to use thanks to the simplified command arguments which, while the AUR (Arch User Repository) allows the user to install community-made packages without requiring to manually add additional repositories. It's documentary wiki is extremely useful for getting around the system and explain how things work, it can be used as a base for other Linux distributions. Each package from the official repository are tested and released when it is considered stable.
Manjaro ArchLinux Pacman, AUR KDE Plasma 5 and XFCE. The community manages other versions with their own desktop environment Also known as "Ubuntu for Arch", it provides it's own official repository compared to the distro it's been based on and has exclusive tools for installing various Linux kernels and managing your hardware drivers. The packages are semi-rolling meaning that it takes longer for the new version of the application to be released (Up to 2 weeks) until it's absolutely stable enough.
Antergos ArchLinux Pacman, AUR You can choose GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, OpenBox, XFCE or text mode Formerly named CinnArch. Compared to Manjaro, Antergos combines both it's own repo along with official ArchLinux ones. Be aware that the setup installer is still in beta and may have some issues.
Solus Independent EOPKG Budgie, GNOME, MATE Created and managed by one of the staff members from the Intel in 2016, despite following the rolling release model it provides stable packages and features great hardware compatibility with any GPU. Due to the fact it is a new distro, the number of packages that are available are somewhat small, but still growing.
OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Independent RPM (Zypper) KDE Plasma 5 A separate rolling release version of OpenSUSE, despite having the same exclusive features, it provides packages that are bleeding edge, updated enough where the ArchLinux won't keep up with it.
Gentoo Independent Portage Text mode, later on you can install any DE A distro aimed only for experts. Unlike other Linux distros, Gentoo's Portage compiles the application from it's source code instead, which can offer the most bleeding edge version of the software, but very unstable. Distros based on it do exist and slightly lowers the difficulty in using it. It's wiki can be used to explain in a simple detail every compilation option you can use on other distributions.
PCLinuxOS Independent RPM (APT) KDE Plasma, MATE PCLinuxOS is a semi-rolling release fork of Mandriva which provides an out-of-the-box support for many graphics and sound devices, along with other peripherals. It contains a special software dedicated to maintaining and configuring your system.
Deepin Debian (Unstable) DEB (Apt) Deepin Based on Debian (Unstable), Deepin is a rolling release distro which formely was based on Ubuntu 15 which also uses it's own desktop environment with the same name.

1 - Bold ones are default

Desktop Environments[edit]

Each desktop environment you are using or installing have an impact on your user experience and the performance on games. It is often recommended to run the game in fullscreen so the desktop compositor won’t affect the game’s performance, some DE have an option which lets you disable it such as Cinnamon or KDE Plasma (Automatic). Otherwise, XFCE,LXQT/LXDE and OpenBox are recommended to gain as much performance as possible. Due to the low or even absence of desktop compositor use. As for managing your files, despite the fact that each desktop environment has their own file managers, it is possible to download the other one as a separate application (followed with required dependencies) and use it by default, same goes for text editors and terminals as well.


The performance in the game depends not only on RAM, but also on Composer and the game itself as well. According to the benchmark generally KDE performs much better despite the RAM usage than XFCE4 which is supposedly lightweight, but there are games which the latter performs better. In general just aim at the desktop you are comfortable with while aiming at the performance as well. You can't aim for example at the i3 desktop as a beginner, despite the very low RAM usage you will have many issues with navigating it as it relies on the keyboard commands to move around more often while the mouse is your addon, which would leave you more confused. As noted in CS:GO benchmark, it looks like it has a very low FPS on GNOME and Budgie desktop, but as the author explained, it is a false alarm.


Here is a list of well known desktop environments with their default applications included, be aware that the RAM usage may vary depending on the content of the Linux distribution.

Name Min. RAM Recomm. RAM Composer Customizeable File Manager GUI Text Editor Terminal Wayland support Notes
GNOME 512 MB 1 GB Yes (Mutter) Yes, limited Nautilus GEdit GNOME Terminal Yes (GBM and EGLStreams)
  • Includes both Xorg, Wayland and GNOME Classic session
  • Installing GNOME Tweak Tools is recommended to make any changes
KDE Plasma 512 MB 1 GB Yes (KWin) Yes Dolphin or Konqueror KWrite or Kate Konsole Yes (GBM)
  • Plasma Wayland is required to run in Wayland session
  • Star Menu types can be changed in "Switch To..." menu ranging from classic Windows one, default and full screen.
  • Since 5.10 version, the desktop icons are enabled by default.
  • Konqueror functions as both file manager and a web browser.
Unity (Official) (Community) 512 MB 1 GB Yes (Mutter) Yes, limited Nautilus Any GNOME Terminal No
  • No longer officially supported, however the community is still maintaining it.
  • Uses the modified GTK3 library made by Cannonical, creators of Ubuntu and Unity desktop
  • Support for Wayland was planned, but later dropped in favour of Mir.
Budgie 256 MB 512 MB Yes (Mutter) Yes Nautilus GEdit GNOME Terminal No
  • Depends on GNOME applications
  • It will use Qt as a graphical interface upon releasing version 11
  • GTK3 updates may break the desktop which currently depends on it.
Cinnamon 256 MB 512 MB Yes (Muffin) Yes Nemo GEdit GNOME Terminal No, but there are plans for it
  • Provides both Hardware and Software mode sessions, the only difference is that the Software mode uses CPU for composing.
GNOME Flashback 256 MB 512 MB Yes (Metacity) Yes Nautilus GEdit GNOME Terminal No
  • A lighter version of GNOME desktop, based on the GNOME 2 layout in GTK3 engine
  • Contains no 3D acceleration and is less CPU intensive
Deepin 256 MB 512 MB Yes (Deepin WM) Yes Deepin File Manager GEdit Deepin Terminal No
  • More simple and lightweight
  • Originally created for Linux Deepin
XFCE 128 MB 256 MB Yes (XF4WM) Yes Thunar Mousepad XFCE Terminal No
  • Composer's VSync is broken.
MATE 128 MB 256 MB Yes (Marco) Yes Caja Pluma MATE Terminal No, but it is planned
  • MATE Tweak is recommended for further customization and changing the composer
  • It's composer does not have a hardware VSync, unless you install Compton which allows you to use Marco (Compton GPU compositor) or Compiz to replace Marco composer entirely.
  • Audio files can be previewed by hovering the mouse into one of them and wait a few seconds to play it in Caja.
  • Due to the fact that MATE is still using GTK2, it will have a Wayland support once all the dependencies and the desktop itself switches into GTK3 [1]
LXQT and LXDE 64 MB 128 MB None, but can be added Yes, limited PCManFM (PCManFM-Qt for LXQt) Any QTerminal No
  • There are no programs for editing the Start menu. Using the external tool is required such as LXMED, Alacarte or using PCManFM itself (Version 1.20 or higher of the file manager is required). Otherwise, manually editing the *.desktop file is required.
  • LXQt/LXDE uses OpenBox as a default Window Manager, can be switched into other ones such as Metacity, KWin etc.
OpenBox 32 MB 64 MB No Yes Nemo, Thunar, PCManFM Any Any No
  • Requires using multiple components and scripts to create your own desktop.
  • Can be used as a alternative window manager for GNOME, KDE and XFCE.
i3 32 MB 64 MB Yes (i3WM) Yes Any Any Any No (See Notes)
  • You can use Sway to run in Wayland mode, be aware that it does not have Xorg mode.
  • Only for advanced users due to the reliance on the key combinations to control window size, moving around the workstations/virtual desktops performing most of the basic functions.

Kernel[edit]

Main Linux Kernel page

It is important to update your Linux kernel if updates are available as they provide security updates, bugfixes, better support for computer hardware, new modules and better performance. There are two main versions of the official Linux kernel which they differ each other. The Long Term Support (LTS) kernel versions are slightly behind in terms of hardware support and features than it’s counterpart, but offers the same security updates while being more stable with longer kernel support than other, non-LTS kernels.

Other users are free to edit the main kernel’s source code to add features, improvements, or security updates for different purposes. While both normal and LTS can be used for gaming, there are also community-made ones which may even improve it even further.

The most notable ones are (Bold ones are kernels which have additional options to enhance the performance):

Notes

  • Some repos already provide a pre-compiled kernel
  • Be sure to keep the current kernel you have in case if things go wrong.
  • It's possible to use the main kernel in Ubuntu-based distro, be aware that it does not contain any patches made by Ubuntu and they are not supported. They are used for testing purposes only, if you want to use it then consider using UKUU for easier installation.

Microcode[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki Article

It is extremely important to install the microcode for your CPU! As the manufacturer provides security and stability updates for your processor which without it, you will expect a lot of issues using your system.

AMD users only need to install the Linux Firmware package, however in case of Intel, you need the Intel Ucode package and then set up the bootloader to use it as a 1st thing to load. GRUB can automatically set it up if it’s used as your default bootloader by updating the configuration.

Hardware[edit]

Graphics[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki's ATI and Catalyst Article
ArchLinux Wiki's AMDGPU/AMDGPU Pro Article
ArchLinux Wiki's NVIDIA and Nouveau Article
ArchLinux Wiki's Intel Graphics Article

Here is a following table describing the drivers and informations which Linux supports for each GPU brand.

Brand Driver Type Driver Library Supported GPU Wayland Support
AMD/ATI Open Source AMDGPU MESA GCN 1 to GCN 4 and newer architecture1 Yes
ATI GCN 2 and older architecture
Proprietary AMDGPU AMDGPU Pro GCN 3 to newer architecture
Catalyst Catalyst GL Library GCN 3 and older architecture No
NVIDIA Open Source Xorg Nouveau MESA Any NVIDIA GPU Yes2
Proprietary Nvidia NVIDIA Utility From GT/GTX 300 series to recent
Nvidia 340 Nvidia 340 Utility From GeForce 8 series to GT/GTX 200 series No
Nvidia 304 Nvidia 304 Utility From GeForce 6 series to GT/GTX 200 series
Intel Open Source Xorg Intel3 MESA Any Intel HD Graphics GPU Yes
Xorg Modesetting

1 - GCN 1 and 2 architecture support in AMDGPU is experimental.

2 - The proprietary one started to support Wayland since 364.12 version, however it uses the EGLStreams API.

3 - Do not use it on Intel HD 4000 series and newer GPU.


AMD/ATI GPU must use the open source driver as they provide the best performance than the proprietary ones, while NVIDIA users should stick to the latter ones. Howerver there are some things to remember:

  • Never install drivers from the respective GPU brand's website unless you are forced to!. Installing them from the distro's repo is enough.
  • Both AMD and Intel GPUs have a support for GBM API when it comes to Wayland, NVIDIA uses only EGLStreams which limits your Wayland usage to GNOME desktop only.
  • If forced to use Catalyst driver, you must downgrade XOrg to the version it got the last support.
  • Enable early KMS once you have installed the driver.
  • As always when using the 64 bit system, install the 32 bit version of the drivers if possible.


Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based system should consider using these PPAs for latest AMD, Intel and Nouveau drivers:

Padoka Stable Mesa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:paulo-miguel-dias/pkppa
sudo apt-get update

Padoka Unstable Mesa (Also contains unstable version of Nouveau driver for NVIDIA GPU)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:paulo-miguel-dias/mesa
sudo apt-get update

For proprietary NVIDIA drivers please use "Graphics Drivers" Teams' PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt-get update

As of 10th August 2017, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed has an official NVIDIA RPM [2], you can manually add the repository with this command

zypper ar https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed nvidia-tumbleweed

and later on install it with zypper inr

Vulkan support[edit]

ArchLinux's Wiki Vulkan Article

If your graphics card supports Vulkan API, you need to install additional driver package in order to enable the support, with the exception of Nvidia ones as they are already included and then install the Vulkan ICD Loader to let your GPU to use it on an application which supports it. These drivers are:

  • Vulkan Intel for Intel HD GPUs
  • Vulkan Radeon for Open source ATI driver

NVIDIA Optimus[edit]

NVIDIA Optimus Linux Guide

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.

Xorg[edit]

Main Page

Xorg/X11 is the 1st display server released in 1986 which became a standard of creating Graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux. It received a major change during the popularity of Linux in 2000s. Despite the long support and being commonly used it has major issues which are still present today such as focus stealing, client and server separation which may lead to delays depending on the application it was made, tearing issues or even security ones which other user may capture key inputs from the keyboard. Depending on the desktop environment it also has accessibility issue for disabled users. Despite the release of it's successor, Wayland, it is still maintained by Xorg Foundation and Free-Desktop.org.

Wayland[edit]

Main Page

Wayland is a successor to the Xorg/X11 server which allows to simplify the whole graphics stack without creating a Client while using a 3rd party compositor. It is only available for GPUs which have a Kernel Mode Setting support. Intel, ATI and AMDGPU, Nouveau have KMS enabled automatically by default albeit late, however when it comes to NVIDIA you must enable it manually.


The main benefit of the Wayland is a much faster response to programs compared to Xorg/X11 due to the simple communication between APIs. Keep in mind that you may need to add a command to inform you are running in that session to avoid using XWayland, which may affect the performance even if it has a support implemented. Such as games based on SDL2 like Team Fortress 2.

Bear in mind that if you want to use XWayland on NVIDIA GPU then you may be out of luck as the NVIDIA themselves stated that they have no plans for supporting XWayland, which pretty much forces you to use Xorg/X11 as a default GUI manager. [3]


Here are the following GUI libraries with Wayland support:

  • GTK3 - Supported and enabled by default since 3.20, if not, use the GDK_BACKEND=wayland command at the beginning.
  • Qt5 - Requires the Qt5 Wayland package. After that you can run the Qt 5 application with the -platform wayland command prompt.
  • SDL2 - Added in 2.0.2 enabled by default since 2.0.4. If not, use SDL_VIDEODRIVER=wayland command before running the application.
  • 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.

Audio[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki Page

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.


There are also other things to know, if your sound card has issues with playing the sound, make sure you have ALSA Firmware package installed, as for bluetooth headsets, check if PulseAudio Bluetooth package is installed and your output is set to A2D in the Sound settings.


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 it's 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 padsp command 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 -32 argument 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, doesn't work with PulseAudio but ALSA only and it requires a soundfont to play.


Input Devices[edit]

Libinput ArchLinux article
Touchpad ArchLinux Article
Keyboard Configuration in Xorg ArchLinux article
Touchscreen ArchLinux article

The keyboard and mouse are supported on the go, however if using XOrg you must have it's 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.

Disk Partitioning[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki Guide
Partition/File System Types

Partitioning your disk storage for using Linux is the most commonly controversial topic as most users have their own partition set for some folders or just use the whole Root folder, the storage device is commonly labeled as /dev/sd*# where * repesents the letter from a to z, while the # is represents the partition of it. The biggest talk when it comes to making a partition is the Swap disk which have their preffered disk size changed. The swap disk is mainly used when you do not have enough RAM to store and have to rely on the HDD/SDD itself which is slower in terms of speed compared to RAM, but can get the job done. The most common partition for using the Swap disk for normal use goes like this

Amount of RAM Swap Disk Size
Less than 2 GB 2x the amount of RAM
2 GB - 4 GB The same amount of RAM or less
Higher than 4 GB Do not make a swap disk

When it comes to partitioning your folders. You have to keep in mind the maximum size of it and plan your use of it. Most suggested one on the main root folder (/) is 15GB-20GB while the rest of it goes on to /home (Mind the RAM to know if you need to make Swap disk or not). The main advantage of it is that you won't lose any files stored in your Home directory when the system breaks.

You can also make a separate /boot partition as well, but when it comes to the size bear in mind how many kernels you are going to install and use. UEFI users must create a /boot partition with EFI System Partition while marking it as a Bootable disk, keep in mind that you can't use more than 2TB on it otherwise, there may be some issues. If dual-booting with Windows, don't reformat the existing one as Windows stores the .EFI file there, instead just mount it and use the existing one instead. The installers for most distros have an option to automatically set the disk for you if you wish and in some cases dependin on your choice, install the distro while keeping Windows intact.


There is a lot of the file system/partition types used in Linux for managing your files, but the most common one and used by default in many Linux distros is Ext4 introduced in 2008 as it includes new features which reduces the file fragmentation, improves flash memory life through delayed allocation, allowing larger volumes/files and mounting Ext2 or Ext3 disks as Ext4. There are other file systems which can be used with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Here are the following examples of how the partitioning looks like:


Single 250 GB HDD /dev/sda on a 4 GB of RAM BIOS system

Partition Folder Disk Format Size Bootable
/dev/sda1 / Ext4 25 GB Yes (GPT/MBR)
/dev/sda2 None Swap 2 GB No
/dev/sda3 /home Ext4 223 GB No


128 SSD /dev/sda and 500 GB HDD /dev/sdb on a 8 GB of RAM UEFI system

Partition Folder Disk Format Size Bootable
/dev/sda1 /boot Ext4 2 GB Yes (EFI)
/dev/sda2 / BTRFS 126 GB No
/dev/sdb1 /home Ext4 500 GB No

It all depends on how much space and which available storage device you want to use on folders and which disk format you want to use.


For more detailed information please refer to the guides linked above.

Controller Support[edit]

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 [4].

Benchmarking[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki Article
Gallium HUD Guide

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, whenether 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 informations 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.

Wine[edit]

Main Page
/r/wine_gaming
Application Database

WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is a compatibility layer which allows you to run Windows programs in Unix/Linux environment, it’s main advantage is a wide support of Windows versions ranging from 3.11 to Windows 7 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:

  • Normal
  • 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.

AMD and Intel GPU benefits a lot from Gallium Nine version, due to the fact that Gallium3D is a part of MESA, which both of these cards rely on. NVIDIA is not affected by this, as it uses it’s own driver for performing 3D acceleration in it’s own utility package, unless you are on nouveau.

If WINE itself is hard to use there are also front-ends which may improve your experience with it:

Name Release Notes
PlayOnLinux Free
Beginner friendly
Includes precompiled scripts for automatic installation
Very slow development
The precompiled installation scripts are outdated, along with third-party libraries.
Crossover Commercial
Superior in terms of compatibility than PlayOnLinux
Provides patches and improvements which are later on added to Wine Staging
Buying the product will also provide support for Wine development
Q4Wine Free
Moderately easy to use
Implemented Winetricks, providing latest version of third-party libraries (Manual update is required)
Implemented AppDB for checking the software compatibility on the go.
Manual compiling/installing other Wine versions is required for more than one.

Stores and Clients[edit]

Name Client available Registers Linux sales? Notes
Steam Yes Yes
  • By default, the client includes libraries from Ubuntu 12.04, also known as Runtime version.
  • It's possible to make the client use libraries from your system, known as Native mode.
Humble Bundle No Yes
  • The store does not provide with information about required dependencies for the game.
GOG.com In Development Yes
  • Game's store page shows required dependencies to run.
  • Uses MojoSetup as a installer.
  • Running the start.sh script may cause issues, run the binary executable if that happens instead.
Itch.io Yes (Optional) Yes None
Feral Store No Yes
  • Sells only Mac and Linux ports they have made.
Lutris Yes No
  • It does not sell games, instead it provides scripts for running Windows games in Wine
  • An open source client for managing your games in your system.
  • Supports native ports, Steam, Wine and emulators.
  • Can provide different Wine version for specific games. For example Wine-Overwatch for Overwatch.

Other[edit]

The Bash Shell and Terminal[edit]

The Unix Shell "bash" and Terminal are available on most Linux-distributions by default is a very useful tool for doing system tasks. If you use Linux as your main operating system, it may be unnecessary to use, but it is recommended to learn some of the important commands and terminal hotkeys to make your job easier such as creating a script binary to perform simple tasks or even create aliases to turn complicated commands into a much simple version. Each desktop environment includes their own terminal and can be changed anytime you want, especially the third-party ones such as Terminator,XTerm/UXTerm or Tilix (Recommended).


All user-made settings are always saved in .bashrc file in your Home directory.


The LinuxCommand.org site is the best place to learn the basic and commonly used commands and it is recommended to learn the commands related to file manipulation, text editing, finding specific words and hardware-related stuff.

Folder Structure Reference[edit]

Detailed explanation

/ is called the Root folder - This is where all the folders and files are stored. You must not remove any content in it! Here are the contents of it.

/boot Static files of the boot loader
/home User Home directories. The current Home directory user is simplified into ~/ instead of /home/<username>/.
/lib Essential shared libraries and kernel modules.
/sbin System Binaries/Executables
/dev Device Files
/etc System Configurations. Will check the Home directory 1st for user-made ones that are generally hidden,

if not found, it will check this one instead.

/media Mount point for removable media such as CD/DVD, Pendrive etc.
/bin Essential user command binaries such as cat, tar etc.
/mnt Mount point for temporarily mounted filesystems.Mainly used for mounting the HDD/SDD

in order to install the system or perform a maintenance from the LiveCD/LiveUSB.

/opt Addon application packages such as Java, OSS etc.
/proc Virtual file system for documenting kernel and process status as text files.

Distros using SELinux for security use /selinux, which is similar to /proc

/tmp Temporary files. Has it's own space size set which can be changed.
/var Variable files such as log files, downloaded packages etc.
/lost+found Contains files that can be recovered which may be broken during the unexpected shutdown.

Only appears when installing Linux.

/root Home directory for Root cannot be accessed by User or the Superuser (Sudo/Su).
/srv Data for services provided by this system

There is also the /usr aka User folder, which stores files which were installed only by the user and has it's own folder structure:

/bin Applications installed
/sbin System Administrations
/local User compiled applications. Default installation path when compiling the program.
/share Folder for storing architecture-independent files such as graphics, themes etc.
/lib Library files installed by the user. Used for compiling.
/include .c files are stored that are included for compiling.
/src Folder for storing source codes. Mainly for Linux kernel.

Compiling from source code[edit]

Every Ubuntu-based Linux distributions label libraries used for compiling a program with -dev at the end in their repositories. Some other distros already include them in one package along with the dependency.

The general rule of thumb when compiling a program goes in 2 steps

make
sudo make install

This happens only when you are in a directory which contains the Makefile and it is done via Terminal when you have required libraries and GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) installed. The make install is varied, as by default the compiled program will move into /usr/local/ directory, hence why the sudo command is present. It is possible to change the location where you want to install, but for this simple process you might as well move the compiled binary file which is often located at the same directory as Makefile, sometimes in case of ioquake3 source port it will create a separate folder. However there are other source codes which were made to be compiled in different ways:


Autogen/Automake and/or Configure


If either Autogen.sh or Configure script file is present, you must run at least one of them. Autogen's job is to simplify the process of programs that contains large ammount of repetitious text and upon running it will create the Configure script which it's job is to scan if you have required libraries, check what kind of system you are using and prepare the files for it while creating Makefile, using the -h or -help argument will reveal available options, most source codes have their own specific option which can be set. Using the --prefix=<location> argument lets you change the directory where you want to install with make install. In this case it would go on like this:

./autogen.sh
./configure
make
sudo make install

If autogen.sh is not present, just follow the configuration procedure.


CMake


CMake is a cross compiling program which allows a much more simple configuration process and reading the compiling progress, while allowing to prepare the required scripts in a separate directory as long as you appoint where the CMakeList.txt is located. There are two commands for preparing and configuring files for compiling if CMake is used:

  • cmake <directory location of CMakeList.txt>
  • ccmake <directory location of CMakeList.txt>

The only difference is that the ccmake command uses the Text User Interface for easier configuration. The most common way of compiling in this compiler goes like this in a main folder of the source code:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
make

Once the compiling process is done, it will be putted in a separate folder for easier navigation. You do not have to use the make install to install it to your /usr/local directory.


QMake


This happens only on applications which uses Qt as a main graphical interface, it only requires using qmake on the main folder to configure and check what Qt version you are using and later on set up the Makefile for compiling. After that you can just use make command to compile a program. So basically it goes like this:

qmake
make
sudo make install # Optional

List of other make options


Here is a list of few other make commands:

Command description
make install Move the compiled files into the directory specified in prefix
make uninstall Remove the compiled files from the directory specified in prefix
make clean Remove the files that are normally created by building the program.
make distclean Remove both files created by building the program and from configure.
make check Perform a compiling test
make dist Create a distribution .tar file.

For more commands and detailed information, check out this page.


Getting the source code

There are two types of source codes which you can get. The stable ones are generally packed in a .tar.gz archive file along with the software that is labeled stable as a separate download in case if your distro either does not support the package file or it is in distro's repository, but it is outdated and wish to upgrade.


Then there is the developer ones which can be found in the main master git or SVN page. Those can be downloaded either through the web browser or through the Git/Subversion program. These programs are constantly updated and may be unstable. The best way is to use the Git/Subversion program for this situation as they contain commands which can update the scripts if any changes are made.


The most popular places for downloading both stable and unstable source codes are generally GitHub and SourceForge. The former one will mostly show the master directory which is where the developer ones are shown with a separate download link while the stable one is downloadable through the release page, the SourceForge will always check what kind of Linux distro or the base of it you are using and link the download to the supported one, if not, it will link to the stable source code. The developer version is always stored in either SVN, CVS or Git page separately.


Newcomers to the Linux should stick to the stable ones, if required, it is best to learn some options in using the git or subversion command when required. Other than that, if there are instructions how to compile and what dependencies are required, always stick to it.

Notes[edit]

  • 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. ArchLinux one can be used regardless the distro you are using.
  • In some distros, such as ArchLinux, 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 in Linux world. Meta4/Super key are actually 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 ones 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 ~/.config, ~/.local/share or the ~/.<application/developer name> directory.
  • If someone tells you to use this command sudo rm -Rf /, don't do it unless you want to have a bad time.

Improvements[edit]

Enabling threading optimizations for NVIDIA drivers
  1. Add __GL_THREADED_OPTIMIZATIONS=1 before the command of the game. For example in Steam, define the command launch paramteres as:
__GL_THREADED_OPTIMIZATIONS=1 %command%

Notes

For some games, threading optimizations cause a huge improvement to the frame rate of the game.
  • Not needed with nvidia driver 378 ¨Enabled OpenGL threaded optimizations by default in the driver. Refer to the "Threaded Optimizations" section in the "Specifying OpenGL Environment Variable Settings" chapter of the README for details. These optimizations will self-disable when they are degrading performance. As a result, performance should be unchanged for many applications, and increased for those that benefit from threaded optimizations and were not already forcing them enabled.¨
Disable NVIDIA Logo display when running X server

Add Option "NoLogo" "true" under the NVidia Corporation VendorName in it's Xorg configuration file. Example:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Nvidia Card"
    Driver "nvidia"
    VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
    Option "NoLogo" "true"
EndSection
Optimize the program to your CPU when compiling
Improves the performance of the program after it's compiled.
May not work on other system but yours.

In Makefile remove any -march and -mtune arguments from the CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS and add -march=native at the beginning.

Notes

  • On ArchLinux-based distro you can edit the makepkg.conf to use it by default when using AUR.
  • The default option for -march is generic, in case if there are issues.
  • Please refer to the GCC Optimization Guide and Safe CFLAGS from the Gentoo Wiki
Use more cores to improve compilation time

Add -j#+1 after the make command. Where # is number of cores. So if you want to use 2 cores of your CPU, use make -j3, in case of 4 cores usemake -j5 etc.

Notes

  • On ArchLinux-based distro you can edit the MAKEFLAGS from makepkg.conf. To apply it as default when using AUR.
  • Keep in mind that some programs requires using one core for the stability sake. So if you are on ArchLinux and using AUR, don't be surprised it uses only 1 core.
  • By default it uses one core when compiling.


Running Games on a Separate x Server

Running games on a different X server from ones main desktop can dramatically improve performance and generally reduces the amount of problems within a game especially when using an advanced compositing window manager like Compiz. To launch a separate X server with a game create a new .sh file and paste in the following code:

#! /bin/bash
DISPLAY=:1.0
xinit $cd '/YOURGAMEPATH' $* -- :1

Save and allow the file to be executable. Running this script in the terminal will make it much easier end the server when you are finished with it. Alternatively you can set the path to a terminal emulator like Xterm /usr/bin/uxterm and launch the game from a terminal in the new server. You could even launch a file browser like nautilus /usr/bin/nautilus Press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to return to the main desktop and Ctrl+Alt+F8 to go back to the newly created one.

Enable BFQ scheduler
Enabling BFQ scheduler provides better interactivity and throughput for your system.

Linux CK or Linux Zen version 4.11 and less

  1. Add elevator=bfq to the kernel parameter of your bootloader.
  2. Reboot to the kernel which supports BFQ scheduling.

Any kernel based on official Linux 4.12 version or higher

As of 4.12 version of the official Linux kernel, the BFQ feature has been added, but it is not enabled by default.
  1. Go to /etc/udev/rules.d/ and type in Terminal sudo nano **-bfq. Replace ** with any number.
  2. Type in this script and save the file:
ACTION=="add|change", KERNEL=="sd[a-z]", ATTR{queue/scheduler}="bfq"
  1. Add scsi_mod.use_blk_mq=y dm_mod.use_blk_mq=y to the kernel parameter of your bootloader to enable Multi-Queue Block IO Queuing Mechanism.
  2. Reboot to the kernel which supports scheduling.

Notes

  • Enabling Multi-Queue Block IO Queuing Mechanism without creating a udev rule for enabling BFQ will have a negative impact on your hard disk, solid state disk is not affected!
  • Using the former method on the kernel based on 4.12 version of the main one will cause the system to get stuck at the bootup screen after choosing the kernel!

Common Fixes[edit]

Screen Tearing in NVIDIA driver

Enable Force Full Composition Pipeline

Open up the NVIDIA Settings and in X Server Display Configuration press Advanced button and check in "Force Full Composition Pipeline" and accept the settings.

To make it permament, press Save to X Configuration File, save it anywhere and move it to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ while renaming it to 20-nvidia.conf.

If using KWin as a desktop composer, add export KWIN_TRIPLE_BUFFER=1 in /etc/profile.d/kwin.sh and then enable Triple Buffering, make sure you are using OpenGL 2.0 or higher as a rendering backend.

You must enable Triple Buffering and Allow Indirect GLX Protocol should be disabled.
If using a multi-monitor setup, you must set it up for each monitor.
Does not work on 340.xx and lower version.
XRandr[citation needed]
  1. Install xrandr using your linux distribution's package manager.
  2. Run xrandr from a terminal emulator and find the name of the monitor you want to set as the primary (i.e. "HDMI-0").
  3. Run xrandr --output <name> --primary.

Notes

To automate this when the system starts, prepend the command to your ~/.xinitrc-file, or your desktop environment's equivalent.


X server Permission error Debian/Ubuntu[citation needed]
  1. run
    # dpkg-reconfigure x11-common
  2. Set: Move down and select "Anybody"
X server Permission error Any[citation needed]
  1. open
    /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config
  2. Set
    allowed_users=root or console
    to
    allowed_users=anybody
No sound[citation needed]
  1. Open the following file as root in a text editor
    /etc/group
  2. Find the following line
    audio:x:29:pulse
  3. Add a comma and your username ex:
    audio:x:29:pulse,linus

OR

  1. Open the Terminal and type as root
    gpasswd -a <username> audio

Fullscreen problems/cursor won't disappear

Fullscreen problems/cursor won't disappear[citation needed]

Running a very light window manager may fix some problems with fullscreen games not going fullscreen and will make the mouse courser hide when in front of a full screen window. Openbox is a very light manager that is available for many distributions.

  1. Install openbox "sudo apt-get install openbox" or the equivalent for your distribution
  2. change
    $cd '/YOURGAMEPATH'
    to
    $cd 'openbox'

References