Linux

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

Key points

Wide variety of distributions available, allowing unparallelled 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.

Resources

ProtonDB - crowdsourced database of Proton (Steam Play) games performance
Phoronix - website dedicated to hardware and benchmarking in Linux
DistroWatch - page dedicated to Linux distributions
OpenBenchmarking - 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

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
Back2Gaming - Gaming related news/guide page. More oriented into Linux

Distributions[edit]

There are two types of release models which distros are using, both have their pros and cons.

Fixed Release[edit]

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)
Distribution Based On Desktop(s) [fr note 1] Release cycle Supported by[fr note 2] Description
Ubuntu Debian GNOME 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, Cannonical will include some of the 32 bit packages if needed.
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.
Ubuntu flavours Ubuntu Plasma, LXQt, Budgie, MATE, Xfce 6 months same as Ubuntu[fr note 3] Flavours offer different Desktop Environments, but when it comes to compatibility, they are vitually the same as Ubuntu. Choose if you prefer distinct workflow or art style. Newcomerfs from Windows should definetly pick Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu or Kubuntu.
Linux Mint Debian, Ubuntu 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 Debian, Ubuntu 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.
SteamOS Debian (Stable) 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.
  1. Default options are marked in bold
  2. look at Official Support TODO: add it
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Support is not official, but the distros are so similar, that everything that works for Ubuntu will work here.

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.
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 rolling release distribution has any official support from any store
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
Manjaro ArchLinux Plasma, XFCE, GNOME[rr note 2] Provides its own official repository 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.
Solus Independent Budgie, GNOME, MATE 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)
  1. Default options are marked in bold
  2. The community manages other versions with their own desktop environment

Desktop Environments[edit]

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 Min. RAM Customizable Description
GNOME 2 GB Yes, limited

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 softwares 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 1 GB Yes

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.

Budgie 256 MB Yes

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.

Cinnamon 256 MB Yes

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).

XFCE 128 MB Yes

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 128 MB Yes

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.

LXQT 64 MB Yes, limited

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.

Kernel[edit]

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.

Kernel Replacement[edit]

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.

Microcode[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki Article

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.

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 Vulkan Support
AMD/ATI Open Source AMDGPU MESA (GLX and DRI) GCN 1 to GCN 4 and newer architecture1 Yes (RadV, AMDVLK)
ATI GCN 2 and older architecture No
Proprietary AMDGPU AMDGPU Pro GCN 3 to newer architecture Yes
Catalyst Catalyst GL Library GCN 3 and older architecture No
NVIDIA Open Source Xorg 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 NV360)
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)
Xorg Modesetting

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 GPU must use the open source driver as they provide the best performance than 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 generally require you to install through text mode only like in case with NVIDIA, with AMD however they have prepared packages that can be ran for distros they support. Otherwise rely on the package manager one instead to ease up the installation.
  • 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 the 64 bit system, install the 32 bit version of the drivers if possible.

List of 3rd-party repositories[edit]

Ubuntu/Linux Mint/Zorin OS/Pop! OS/Linux Lite/KDE Neon

Use 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.

Repository Description
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.

OpenSUSE


As of 10 August 2017, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed has an official NVIDIA RPM [1], you can manually add the repository with this command

zypper ar https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed nvidia-tumbleweed
zypper inr (For installing)

Optimus Support[edit]

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 DRI_PRIME=1 command.

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. When using a sound card you must install ALSA Firmware package from your repository, while in case of using Bluetooth headphones in PulseAudio, install it's PulseAudio Bluetooth library.


When it comes to API in Linux games, there are multiple of em 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 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 and needs to be set up to work alongside with PulseAudio, but compared to Timidity, it is more up to date.

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.


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:

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 [2].

If dealing with a game that has a very limited or no controller support at all, the AntiMicro 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.

Other[edit]

Disk Partitioning[edit]

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 it's 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?[edit]

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 it's implementation for the desktop environment.

GPU Driver Buffer API
AMD Open Source GBM
Intel
NVIDIA
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=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. You can enforce newer SDL2 on games and use the command, althou 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.

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.

PCI Passthrough[edit]

ArchLinux Wiki Page
/r/VFIO reddit page

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[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 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 ArchLinux (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:

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.
The precompiled scripts may even damage your system. It is recommended to use the option to install the software on your own.
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.
Lutris Free
Can also act as a client for native games and emulators.
Provides community-maintained scripts for installing games on Wine or even Steam through Wine.
Can provide different Wine version for specific games.
Can install multiple editions of Wine, including the community ones.
Can directly use Proton.
May be a little hard to install the game on Wine by yourself

Stores and Clients[edit]

Name Client available Registers Linux sales? Notes
Steam Yes Yes
  • By default, the client includes libraries required for native games to run (Runtime mode), but it is possible to make the software use libraries from your system instead (Native mode)
  • Includes Proton by default (may require manual installation from Tools tab) and any Windows game being ran on Proton counts as a Linux sale.
Humble Bundle No Yes
  • The store does not provide with information about required dependencies for the game.
GOG.com No Yes
  • Game's store page shows required dependencies to run.
  • Uses MojoSetup as an 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.

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]

Hardware[edit]

Disable Mitigation for Intel CPUs

WARNING! Be aware that disabling this kernel parameter will cause your PC to be susceptible to multiple vulnerabilities found in Intel processors such as Spectre, Meltdown, Zombieland etc. use it at your own risk! Otherwise, use AMD processors instead.
Depending on the Intel CPU, disabling the Mitigation will increase the performance up to 50% or more. The following parameter used in here is available only in 5.1.13 kernel or newer, for older see this guide.
Edit the GRUB settings[1]

Open up the grub file found in /etc/default/ with a text editor as root and in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT= add mitigations=off at the end.

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[2]

Create a config file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ as any number-custom name.conf (for example 50-mouse-acceleration.conf, keep in mind that it does not accept spaces in names) as super user/root and add the following script:

Section "InputClass"
	Identifier "My Mouse"
	Driver "libinput"
	MatchIsPointer "yes"
	Option "AccelProfile" "flat"
EndSection

Then restart the system or Xorg (In most distros it's 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.

  1. Edit as a root the system.conf file located in /etc/systemd/
  2. Find DefaultTimeoutStartSec and DefaultTimeoutStopSec, uncomment them if necessary and set the time limit in seconds.
  3. Type sudo systemctl daemon-reload

OR

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 (--scale-from) with 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.

Software[edit]

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 it's 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 ArchLinux, Fedora etc. Mostly in terms of requiring dependencies to run the game or a software.

The ldd command can be used to check which dependency does it require and if they are in your system.

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 grep command.

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, ArchLinux)

Open makepkg.conf as root and under MAKEFLAGS add -j#. Where # is the sum of (number of CPU cores you wish to use) + 1 (so if you wish to use 4 cores, ya need to put -j5 for example)

Keep in mind that some programs requires using one core for the stability sake.

Create a script which the game uses libraries from your system instead

Make a native executable for your game
This method may improve the compatibility and sometimes even improve the performance of it on your Linux system. Can be useful in older Linux games that rely on older SDL interface such as Majesty.

1. Create an empty text file and open it with any text editor.

2. Add this following script:

#!/bin/sh
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/path/to/library /path/to/executable

Replace /path/to/library with one of these paths:

  • If the game is 64-bit /usr/lib64
  • If the game is 32-bit and you are using a 64-bit system /usr/lib32
  • If the game is 32-bit /usr/lib

3. Once done, save it and make it executable using either chmod command or via Properties with your file manager.

Notes

  • You are required to learn which library does the game uses and install them if not available. Each game has it's own library folder which you may learn about it.

Common Fixes[edit]

Hardware[edit]

The NVIDIA DKMS driver won't install after updating it
If none of them won't work, you may have to downgrade your kernel and wait for the update that fixes it. Provided that you or someone else reported this issue.

Text Mode

  1. Boot up to your kernel
  2. Enter the text mode by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2-F10 and if necessary, stop the display manager.
  3. Type in as root, dkms install nvidia/<version> --all. If everything is done successfully type reboot.

LiveCD/LiveUSB

  1. Boot to the LiveCD/LiveUSB
  2. Mount your partition(s) using mount /dev/sd<disk and partition and Chroot it with chroot <root partition> (In ArchLinux system it's arch-chroot instead).
  3. Type in dkms install nvidia/<version> --all. Once it's done without any errors, you can restart the system.
Set up a primary monitor in multi-monitor setup[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.
No sound[citation needed]

Open the Terminal and type as root gpasswd -a <username> audio, if that did not work then:

  1. Open the group file as root in a text editor located in /etc folder.
  2. Find the following line
    audio:x:29:pulse
  3. Add a comma and your username ex:
    audio:x:29:pulse,tux
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
You can bind this command as a keyboard command in your DE.

Software[edit]

Screen Tearing
You may also use GNOME, Cinnamon and KDE Plasma which use their own compositor that directly communicates with the GPU without any performance loss from NVIDIA side.

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.

References

  1. Reference
  2. Reference