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It is admirable to note that gaming on Linux has improved a lot in the last few years. There are more native Linux games available for users, even though some people may not consider them to be in the same league as games such as Watchdog.
The distribution should be resource-friendly. Ubuntu is the easy (or ultimate) choice for computer gaming on a Linux desktop (which is a great pick). But, depending on the hardware, you might have to try something else.
Our Top 3 Picks for Best Linux OS For Gaming
Optimized Linux OS For Gaming
Pop!_OS by System76 is based on Ubuntu and you only get GNOME as the desktop environment. It feels more polished than Ubuntu itself and you can get most of the important tools like Lutris, GameHub, and others right from the Pop!_Store (app store for Pop!_OS). In addition to this, you also get separate ISO files for NVIDIA and AMD systems.
System76 is a hardware company. It configures machines to ship with Linux pre-installed. This means its entire business model centers around delivering a quality desktop Linux experience. As a result, the company pours more attention onto the desktop.
It can fix visual issues and may be able to provide a smoother overall experience than you would have to install a different version of Linux on your machine yourself. Providing Pop!_OS empowers System76 to make certain fixes for users directly rather than having to coordinate with Canonical or the broader Ubuntu community.
Depending on the GPU onboard, you can decide to install Pop!_OS using the correct ISO file which should make your system ready to go out-of-the-box. Not just limited to that, just because it is an operating system developed by a PC/Laptop manufacturer, you can expect it to be ready for the latest and greatest hardware.
In a nutshell, Pop!_OS is easy to use, perfectly suitable for beginners, and compatible with the latest hardware. Feel free to try out the latest LTS (Long-Term Support) version of Pop!_OS.
If you’re a fan of flat desktop interfaces reminiscent of Material design on Android, you’ll like the theme that comes as a default in Pop! OS. The Desktop and title bars all use a bright turquoise theme that makes the interface feel happy and borderline retro-chic.
Pros and Cons
- User-friendly installer
- Made by a hardware seller
- Optimized for modern hardware
- 64-bit processor only.
- Doesn’t use grub
Lightweight Linux OS For Gaming
Ubuntu GamePack comes from Ukrainian developers UALinux and is very similar to Drauger OS. Both distros are based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, though Ubuntu GamePack uses a customized Gnome desktop environment.
Furthermore, in addition to proprietary codecs and drivers, Ubuntu GamePack provides multiple gaming platforms and tools including Steam, Lutris, play in Linux, and more.
However, with Ubuntu GamePack you get a time-limited trial version of CrossOver, which is a proprietary compatibility app based on WINE that you can use to run Windows games (and apps). The distro includes the DOSBox emulator to run DOS games as well as ScummVM to run classic adventure and role-playing games.
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight OS
- Wide support from the community
- Best monolithic kernel for programming
- Updates between LTS versions could be better
- Newcomers may find the learning curve a bit steep
Gaming Supported Linux OS For Gaming
Your favorite place for killer PC game sales, SteamOS is specially made for the Steam Machine. The Steam Machine aims to bridge the gap between PC gaming and console gaming.
The primary way to do this? By connecting your PC to TV for seamless gaming integration. Overall, many games experience better performance when utilizing the OpenGL framework. Interestingly, like Steam itself, this platform is entirely free.
This is easily one of the best Linux gaming OS to try, as it works like a dream. With Steam’s excellent user interface, it’s one of the best clients optimized for gaming.
It also has a smooth user interface. This Linux OS includes more Linux-friendly games which of course allows for more gameplay. Each year, popular games are being released for Linux, Windows, and macOS. Steam OS is free and super good, so if you are on a budget you should consider it.
Pros and Cons
- Free of charge.
- Run games well.
- More Linux-friendly games.
- SteamOS may spread resources too thin.
- It could give Valve a monopoly.
Pop_OS! doesn’t do much by way of innovation, still, it makes an impact in the way its designers maintain convenient defaults. For gamers, this includes easy access to Steam, Proton, WINE, game emulators, PlayOnLinux, automatic game controller recognition and configuration, and more.
Now, several companies port Windows games to Linux and you can get games such as Tomb Raiders on Linux after a short period of delay. The biggest improvement to Linux gaming has come from Steam’s Proton project.
With this new project, you can play many of the Windows-only games on a Linux desktop. The best thing is that you can use Steam on any Linux distribution.
There are hundreds of Linux distributions. And the gaming is okay as long as a mainstream distribution like Ubuntu or Fedora with Steam Play is installed on it. Primarily, your system resources matter for the game to perform well. So, technically, you may prefer a distribution that is fast and resource-friendly. For instance, you may opt for Pop! OS instead of Ubuntu Gamepack.
Overall, you should keep note of the following things when going for a Linux OS for gaming: The distribution should user-friendly. The software tools that you need to get started should be readily available and easy to install.
The highlight of the Ubuntu game pack is a set of optimizations known as GameMode that tweaks the installation to make it more suitable for gaming. The distro also includes a whole set of regular desktop productivity apps to pitch itself as a very capable desktop distro for gamers.
It also scores over Drauger for using a customized instance of the intuitive Ubuntu Ubiquity installer. Ubuntu game pack is best for its lightweight operating system and monolithic kernel for programming.