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When we talk about an operating system to play games, the first that comes to mind is Windows. Virtually all PC games are available for this operating system, and it is one of the reasons why it is the most widely used system in the world. It has always been said that Linux is not for gaming , and that there are no games for this operating system. Far from being true, Linux is as good (or better) an operating system than Windows to play games with. And these distributions are a clear example of it.
Linux has native games specially compiled for it, but the truth is that most of them are not. This leads us to have to resort to additional tools, such as Wine , SteamPlay or PlayOnLinux to make these games work.
In this article we are going to see which are the best prepared distros to cover both scenarios and get the most out of this operating system.
Ubuntu, the most used distro for everything
Ubuntu is the quintessential Linux distro. This Linux, based on Debian , is the best known and used throughout the world. It is an excellent gateway for users who are just starting out on this system, and a distro powerful enough to meet the needs of more advanced users. It is, literally, the distro that is worth to everyone, and the one that we have all tried at some time.
Ubuntu is not a distro specially designed to play games, but being the most used, we can have in it the latest versions of the drivers (especially the GPU), the possibility of installing Steam and everything necessary to be able to run Windows games on Linux, either through Steam Play or through libraries like those offered by Wine.
We can download Ubuntu from this page . We recommend betting on Ubuntu LTS, since this way we can forget about support and updates for at least 5 years.
POP! _OS, the official Linux from System76
POP! _OS is a distro, based on Ubuntu, but much more specialized in games. Why? Because this distro is created and maintained by System76 , a well known hardware manufacturer. This gives us extra reliability by being sure that the system, and all updates, have been properly tested and everything works perfectly. Above all, if we use one of this manufacturer’s computers, or our PC has similar hardware.
Being based on Ubuntu, we can do the same as with Canonical’s operating system. The same programs work and we have the same software available in the same repositories. But, if we are one of those who do not like Canonical, POP! _OS becomes an excellent alternative.
We can download POP! _OS Linux from its website . We recommend downloading the LTS version, as it guarantees support for 5 years.
SteamOS, Valve’s official distro for Steam games
Valve is one of the few companies that has been devoted to the game for Linux. This distro was created especially for Steam Machines (computers with Linux to play), but, after the failure of these computers, it began to be distributed as a totally independent distro. This distro is based on Debian and has a frontend so that, as soon as we start up, we have in our hands the Steam Big Picture mode from which to launch our games.
Valve has been heavily involved in other Linux game projects. For example, Steam Play Proton , an ACO shader compiler for AMD, a container system, and Gamescope, among many other projects. But the truth is that it has been demotivated with SteamOS , and this distro has now been discontinued.
If we don’t mind that Valve has put it aside a bit, we can download it and use it without problems. Also, there are rumors that Valve could continue with it in the not too distant future, radically changing its strategy (and leaving Debian aside). If we want to, we can download SteamOS from this link .
GamerOS, turn your PC into a Linux console
The concept of SteamOS is interesting. Unfortunately, Valve was unable to shape it properly; There were many bad decisions along the way, mainly due to the Steam Machines and their business plans. However, if you are looking for a similar concept, but better carried out, then you should try GamerOS.
Despite its name, this distro is just what any gamer is looking for to turn their PC into a complete gaming machine. A very simple system to install, minimal (to make better use of resources), always updated, designed to be used with a remote control and that as soon as you open the program this startup in Steam’s Big Picture mode. Just choose the game, hit play and start playing.
We can download GamerOS from its website .
Drauger OS, a Linux focused 100% on gaming
Drauger OS radically breaks with previous systems. While others, like Steam or POP! _OS allow us to do a bit of everything, this distro is clear: it is only to play . It is not a distro that we are going to use on a daily basis, but it is the system that we either install on our gaming PC, or configure it in a dual-boot for when we are going to play. No work, no browsing, no video, nothing. Just play.
This distro does not come standard with the pre-installed programs that usually come in most of the distros. We will not find an office suite, or a video player or similar programs. What we will find will be everything related to games, such as PlayOnLinux, Wine, Lutris, Steam, and DXVK , among many other packages. It will allow us to run both Windows and Linux games without problems.
This system is based on Ubuntu, but it bets on a low latency kernel, which allows to significantly improve performance when using multimedia applications or playing games. In addition, it comes standard with graphics controllers and support for use with any controller, such as the Xbox one.
We can download the latest version of Drauger OS from this page .