Taking the Linux Plunge (As a Gamer)

So… the time has come. I’ve finally become so pissed with Micro$oft and their intrusive policies that I’m going to give Linux a real, long term, serious try. Why haven’t I done this before? Because gaming is the main, software-specific thing I do with computers. Games are coded to work natively on Windows. That’s just how it is. All the small stuff (browsers, media players, etc)? That’s interchangeable. No big deal - and a lot of those things, like VLC media player, have been reworked to run on many Linux distros without aid. If I wasn’t a gamer, I’d have gone full Linux fanboy 3-4 years ago when I first tried it. But today… I’m mad. I’m just so, so mad at Windows refusing to let me turn off those damn updates that keep screwing with my settings. I don’t even have control over my damn clock, seeing as how Windows keeps turning automatic time setting on, no matter how many times I turn it off. I was actually late to work once because of it. Ridiculous… It turns out that Windows 10 Home edition was designed to force updates to be tested before rolling them out to Pro versions and beyond. No wonder my experience got even worse when I upgraded my computer, involving a fresh install of a new Windows version/key…

This thread is going to be a blog for the most part, but also a place I ask for help with specific problems on. With getting specific programs to run smoothly, I may need a more veteran user to help me make sense of it all because, as savvy as I am with hardware and desktop environments… I’m not a very good troubleshooter with software. Optimizing and stabilizing a 200-mod installation of Skyrim is about as nerdy as I’ve ever got - other than the handful of housing mods I created/modified myself.

As far as work/productivity is concerned, Krita, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro are the only big/demanding things I use, so that’s not much of an issue for Linux. Krita in particular runs natively on Linux.

My distribution of choice is OpenSUSE. I used it before and I loved how much I could customize the desktop environment. That means a lot to me, as an artist who likes everything to be just-so. If anyone thinks another might be better for my purposes because of some technical/compatibility reason, I would appreciate the suggestion before I take the time to install a new OS tonight.

For the record, my speccs are as follows in case it becomes needed info for trouble shooting:
CPU: Ryzen 2700x
GPU: Radeon RX 480
RAM: 32GBs of that 3200mhz… Nighthawk… whatever… the ridiculous LED ones.
MOBO: ASUS Rog Strix 370-F
PSU: some fancy 850w fully modular brick.
M.2 SSD for OS and utilities


With Steam’s recent release of Proton, the “Windows is for games” narrative is changing quickly.

Welcome! Jump on in, the water’s fine.


Good luck, and have fun with it. : )

I remember a few years back when I tried it when Vulkan was still pretty fresh and had a pretty decent time with it. Now there’s Proton and FreeSync is coming to Linux, which is like the first big and new syncing option we’ve had besides double buffering since probably ever.

I’ve been trying to get back into it lately (though I’m more open to dual-booting), but I’m having unique challenges due to my choice in hardware upgrades over the years. Thankfully you shouldn’t have those kinds of problems with a system like that at all.

For a year or so i’ve been thinking about doing this very thing, if i ever do it my experience is bound to be similar to yours, so i will be following this.
Good luck!

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I follow you 100% here!

Using Windows 10 is a terrible experience and I honestly think they should attach a pre-release sticker to the product as it literally classifies as one. Missing features and a plethora of bugs. Not to mention all the adware they bundle with it and all their telemetry shit. It’s like they’re becoming everything I’ve always hated about Apple.

I’ve run Linux for years on my servers (mostly VMs on ESXi) and it works like a charm. There’s never anyone to blame but myself for screwing up and the limit to how smooth the experience can be is my own competence or lack thereof. That’s how I like it. As long as I’m in control I’m perfectly happy.

For that reason I’m still on Windows 7 at home on my desktop but extended support ends in a little less than a year so it’s time to switch and say goodbye to Microsoft forever (at least at home, still forced to deal with Win10 and 2016 on a daily basis at work).

The primary reason I haven’t switched to Linux on my desktop is that I rely on the Adobe suite for work and I’ve never really bothered with running any of that under Linux, but I guess it’s time. Like you I also play a lot of games and some don’t seem to run well if at all under Linux though I haven’t checked more recently.

I’ve tried a lot of distros over the years and a few years ago decided to go full Debian across the board so I don’t have to deal with different distros. Why Debian? Not really sure. Seems to work, great support and it’s the mother of a lot of distros out there.

If I were to give you one recommendation it would be to try out Arch. Not because it’s the best suited for the job (it probably isn’t) but their wiki is excellent and you get to dig into the engine room more than in most other distros. There’s no installer, no one holding your hand. Installing Arch and using it for a couple of weeks gave me a much better understanding of Linux than I’ve previously had.

Good luck with the project! I’ll follow along and prepare myself to take this big step too!


Between the steam Proton compatibility layer and Lutris, Many games are covered for Linux.

I am 4 day in with Lutris and Proton and can play BF4, Warframe, and some older titles without a problem.

Alright, I’ve got the OS installed, most settings customized, etc. I have a few things I am ready to fix/get working. I’m still trying to learn how programs are installed and work on Linux. I’m avoiding anything that’s not a simple 1 click install.

  1. Discord is working… but notifications are not working. I don’t get the beeps and boops of people joining, leaving channels, pinging me, etc. Is there a setting in OpenSUSE I need to change to let Discord use my desktop notifications?

  2. Where do I get working drivers for my RX 480?

  3. How do I get Steam loaded? I’ve used WINE before and can again if I need to. But I’m 3+ years behind so I probably don’t know the right way of doing things. Also, my Steam installation and all games are on a secondary drive, not on my OS drive. This allowed me to not have to reinstall Steam when I upgraded my computer and did a clean install of Windows. Do I need to do something fresh for Steam to get it working on OpenSUSE?

  4. I need a replacement for MusicBee, since it doesn’t work on Linux without using WINE… and I don’t want to use WINE for a freaking MP3 player.

  5. I also need a replacement for Rainmeter + MSI afterburner hardware monitors. I need to see RAM and CPU usage, CPU and GPU temperatures.

  6. I can’t get Flash to work. I can’t watch videos in Discord or on Facebook. I’m using Chromium.

Thank you to anyone who drops me solutions :smiley:

I tried Debian once. It seemed rock solid. Everything worked well and was easier to use than OpenSUSE when I tried it. Thing is though… If I’m going to do this, I’m going to learn to make it work. And OpenSUSE seems to have the best high-end-goal usage for me. Now that I have it working again, I remember how long I had spent just on customizing the desktop the last time I tried this. It’s… ridiculous, really, how specific I can make everything. Even changing cursor icons is a trip in Linux. I can have a skeleton hand as a cursor that wiggles its fingers when something is loading if I wanted to. Anyway, that’s beside the point. Once I learn what I’m doing, OpenSUSE should allow me to do everything I need.

The only concern I have with using OpenSUSE is that I worry that some packages won’t be as compatible as they would be under something like Ubuntu (which I don’t like).

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Well… shit. Something broke.

Had a random system freeze while accessing admin powers to install something. Had to restart computer. Couldn’t log back in. Every time I tried to log in, the screen would spazz out and then go right back to the log in screen. Didn’t matter what I did, it wouldn’t budge. Something seriously broke and I haven’t the slightest idea what it could be.

I’m WAY too tired to try to work on this any more tonight. It’s frustrating because i was already drained from today as is, but… it made me think about something.

Ubuntu does have a KDE desktop environment. And Ubuntu is the go-to, most commonly used platform for what I am trying to do… and it’s also the one directly supported by Steam.

I might should try Ubuntu KDE until I know what I’m doing. I dunno. Let me know what you guys think.

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If you’re going to use Linux you want to do as much as possible from the CLI, such as managing packages. This will later on help you unf*ck yourself when you’re stuck. For OpenSUSE default package manager seems to be zypper.

For Steam see this https://en.opensuse.org/Steam
You don’t use WINE here, you install Steam under Linux, you don’t “emulate” Steam for Windows.

EDIT: Maybe try something like https://linuxmint.com/ ? Pretty solid out of the box experience.

What are your thoughts on using Ubuntu?

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“Where do I get working drivers for my RX 480?”

Afaik, the drivers should be in the Linux kernel itself. I’m pretty sure the driver for that GPU should be “amdgpu”. Obviously this means that kernel updates are a little more interesting for you than they would be for many users unless I’m somehow incorrect about this.

I feel others could be more useful about your other questions than my slightly noobish self, but if they somehow go unanswered, I can try.

(P.S. if there really is software for Linux that can cover even a fraction of the feature set of MSI Afterburner+Rivatuner Statistics Server, I’m all ears.)

@_Simon Don’t you have to install the Windows Steam client if you want to play Windows versions of games? Or have things developed to the point that it’s no longer necessary to do so? (I’ve only tried running native lately).

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True, that won’t work just by installing Steam natively, but you’ll want to do that anyway as there’s no reason to not run supported games natively. For all the Windows-only titles you will need some sort of workaround.

Oops, I meant Windows-only. Yeah, if there’s a native port obviously run native.

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Go for ubuntu, it’ll make your life easier if you’re not seasoned with linux.

Also put your home partition on a separate partition if possible when installibg, so you can reinstall ubuntu or any other distro if needed in the future without wiping all your personal data and stuff.

Steam is iirc in the software center, or just as easy as ‘apt install steam’

For other proprietary applications snap packages works really well too, and the packages are confined by Apparmor on ubuntu so that’s a nice security feature to have, whereas on other distros the apps access controls aren’t enforced, maybe you don’t care but a point anyway.

It’s the next after a 1-click install, just type in ‘snap install spotify’ or the like and you’re done.
I haven’t used the software center but the apps are prolly available via that as well, but make yourself a favor and install them via the terminal, life is so much easier when you see what’s going on, and it’s little effort.


Go for Ubuntu (or everything that is ubuntu based in general works the same way). At this point it is a good choice for a gaming machine if you are not a more seasoned user. Most (if not all) things you need are either one-click installs through the software center or 2-3 CLI commands.

And for the 480 updated drivers you can use this repository: https://launchpad.net/~paulo-miguel-dias/+archive/ubuntu/pkppa/

Since you started with Suse and mentioned how you like the customizability of the desktop. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you likely were using KDE. in which case I strongly recommend using Kubuntu instead. and even if you were not using KDE in suse, I would still recommend using kubuntu. :smiley:

Yeah, I was using KDE. I saw Kubuntu and thought it might be good. It’ll work with Steam’s Ptoton or whatever, right?

I’m pretty sure if you can get Steam installed on a distro, then you should be able to use (or at least attempt to use) Proton. Results will probably vary from different distros, however.

(And in the case of Ubuntu, Steam is integrated right into the package manager, which is also true for many other popular distros these days.)

I too am going through with the 30 year challenge. I am currently using linux mint. Having a great time, especially with this forum. So many knowledgeable people with ideas and advice seemingly off the top of their heads! If I may, I would like to do another post about the many things us PC (windows) gamers should do to prep our newly installed linux distro, then bookmark it. (I have two computers) Im sure as time moves forward it would evolve and almost become a “wiki” on it’s own.