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Tried migrating to Linux, getting cold feet

Hello everyone,

So this is my second attempt at migrating to Linux. The first time was about 2-3 years ago on Mint and it lasted about 6 months. In the end though I had too many games and applications that didn’t work and unfortunately even after 6 months with Mint it never really felt like home so I went back to Windows 7.

Fast forward to today, I’m building a new PC (3800x, 5700xt) and I have a strong dislike to Windows 10 so I figured it was time to give it another shoot, especially since I’ve read great things about Proton.

I decided to give Pop OS (19.04) a shot and it went “OK” so far, can’t say I’m a huge fan of Gnome at the moment but it’s early yet. However I can’t get it to recognise my 5700xt. From what I am reading I need to upgrade my kernel from 5.0 to 5.3 but at this point I’m out of my depth. I found this thread (Apparently can’t use links, it’s called [5700xt on popos] on this forum) which sounds like exactly my situation but there is a lot of back and forth and it looks really complex.

So here I am, wondering if I’m willing to spend the effort. For me OS are like camping. I’ve done a lot of camping in my life but I don’t enjoy it, it’s always a mean to an end, to do hiking or climbing. I get that some people like camping by itself and that’s great but I just want to do the other activities around it. In short, I’m ready to spend 1-2 days debugging my issues but not much more than that, I am definitely not enjoying it … and I know I’d be gaming right now if I had installed Windows instead.

I apologise for the long post, I’m not really looking for specific answers but more a general idea and I figured that understanding my mindset would be important. Is it a bad idea for me to try to migrate to Linux on brand new hardware? If not, have I picked the wrong distro or version? Is the whole Kernel upgrade easier than it looked when I skimmed the other post?

I really appreciate your time!

FIn

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Well since you went with PopOS and its based on ubuntu, you can use something like ukuu to upgrade your kernel.

And if you don’t like gnome, you can add extension to customise it to your liking and if that doesn’t work out, remove it and install a DE that you like. Try something like Budgie or KDE Plasma

https://extensions.gnome.org/

honestly, i find that using a major distro like debian, mint, fedora… keeps you more up to date on kernel.

also, games with anticheat won’t work on linux cause they’re super obscure about everything

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I have been working on this same issue for a couple of weeks myself. I have the 3700X and the 5700XT. There are issues with the 5700. I love mint. If I understand it though, they are long term distros and not bleeding edge rolling.
I dual boot with windows 10 right now. I ran a script from someone that stripped a lot of the garbage out of it, but I almost get ill when I have to use it, like for gaming. I only use it for that and I have some left over business stuff that I have archived, but I digress.
I use mint for everything else and to be honest, I also have pop on there to play with but don’t really care for Gnome either.
I tried a live manjaro, but it was locking up at the video card search. I am in process of using manjaro Architect and I got it to work on virtualbox, but my first attempt failed on my main computer. It is NOT for the faint of heart. I will be doing it again tomorrow on an empty hard drive. What I need os bleeding edge, you likely just need a little more time for the kinks to get worked out at AMD and the distros. Then it will be awesome. On my “old” (less than a year) computer with an Nvidea and a 2700X, Ark on steam running proton rocked and it had higher fps than in windows.

So I had similar issues for years. I first touched Linux in 2009, thought it was cool but soon realized I couldn’t game so forgot about it. Then in 2011 I gave it another shot. Got into trying to break passwords for my own devices like my wifi to really understand security. Quickly learned even decent wifi passwords can be broken in less than 48 hours.

I used it sparingly from 2011 to 2016. Slowly using it more for projects on embedded systems. SInce 2017, I have always had a system running linux. But I have also always had at least one windows system as well.
My current setup is as follows,
Desktop is dual boot Windows 10 and Arch running KDE
Laptop is Pop OS/Gnome
Work laptop is Arch running Gnome
Bunch of small and medium sized servers running a mixture of Linux distros.

The thing I learned, especially over the last 2 years.
If you want to play games, Don’t bother. Sure you can play games on Linux, but it’s more hassle and takes up too much time. Especially as you get older.
If you want to do work, depending on your work, Windows can be like screwing in a screw with a loaf of bread. It sure is like that for me.

But Linux is no better. Sure it does things much better if you work with servers or similar. But every week, nearly every day I have something break. Usually small things like my desktop can’t shut down due to KDE, or my Bluetooth mouse starts running at 10Hz due to a linux dev failing to refactor their software before a dependency was removed. But sometimes its worse. Like once I had an issue with the keyboard format after an update. Which meant when I entered my password to decrypt my drive before boot, the password was wrong every time.

The conclusion I came to, if you’re doing work that benefits from the linux environment, linux is great. Even if you have to spend an hour once a week trying to fix something that broke, it saves you so much time. If you want to game? WIndows generally just works. Games run better and you don’t have to worry. But the only way you will ever become fluent with linux is if you throw yourself at it. The time you spend trying to learn how to use your system will save you time in the future.

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That is the quintessential essence of running Linux. It doesn’t work out of the box on most configurations, you need to google, read forums, follow detailed instructions, and often even post issues on github to get it to work the way you want. If you aren’t willing to do that, don’t run Linux.

Even researching and purchasing fully supported hardware won’t really do it, there are common pain points like configuring multi-button mice that are trivial on Windows and MacOS but a pain in the butt on Linux. Not a huge pain in the butt if you’re technically sophisticated, but it doesn’t “just work”.

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I can’t really relate to full migration to a single OS. I run windows, Macintosh, Linux and Unix in my house and at work, all for differing reasons. I’ve seen these threads and every time I read them I wonder how much hardware people have or what situation they are in.

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Personal opinion: Ubuntu is a miserable desktop distro experience.

They used to be the best but they’ve focused less and less on the desktop over the years, while others have dramatically improved.

It is precisely the mismatch in video firmware, Mesa, and the display drivers that make me think so. A casual user should never need to lift out a major system component to make their system work with mass-market hardware.

Not only is that a frequent requirement with Ubuntu, it’s done using their crappy PPA system, and the community documentation is frequently incorrect due to multiple common ways to work around Ubuntu’s shortcomings.

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Wait a week, then try Kubuntu 19.10.

that’s kinda why windows is king. most of the stuff just works. linux needs some stupid levels of monkeying around to do things that… in wondows… require a quick install of drivers and that’s it.

That really depends on the hardware you buy. I don’t need to install or wait for auto installs at all.

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Well yeah i think that if gaming is trully one of the main workloads a certain user cares about.
Then Linux is simply not the platform to be on.
Yeah sure more and more games get linux ports.
However Linux gaming is still really on the low end of the spectrum.
And as long as the chicken and egg problem pre exists on Linux,
i don´t see this really going anywhere very soon.

To get linux gaming more up to par with windows.
We simply need better third party imput and support,
which being support from hardware manufacturers.
And we need a decent api, like Vulkan.
However it got pretty quiet around the development progress of Vulkan i think.
And given the nature stance that the foss community has against propritary code.
i doubt that this chicken and egg problem is ever going to get out of the way.

So yeah linux and gaming, although it works for a very select group of games.
It simply is not a suitable platforms for gamers to be on.
So yeah no matter which distro you are using.
Your feet will get cold again regardless.
Because Linux is just Linux…

I don´t say that OP shouldn’t try Linux gaming.
Because it think it would be a very nice learning curve.
And actually being an interesting field to be in.
However yeah don´t expect anything mindblowing compared to windows gaming.

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Also in my honnest opinion if you build a new nice semi highend gaming system.
Then installing Linux on it, doesn´t really do it much justice.
Because no matter how we look at it and like i pointed out above,
current open source drivers still aren´t capable to sqeeze the max performance out of our cards in gaming oriented workloads that is.
If this is generally an issue with the lack of driver optimizations,
or the lack of a decent api, that is a discussion for another topic.
However yeah…

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We are getting there :slight_smile:
Also for me it is still, “choose hardware for the software not the other way around”.
Even I know Nvidia graphics have better $/performance, their linux drivers are neglected thus I buy AMD graphics :slight_smile:

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From what I gather about current Linux compatibility;

3700X - Works without a hitch on 5.0+ kernels
RX 5700XT - Requires kernel 5.3 and mesa 19.2

See, the graphics stack in Linux is divided in two parts, the kernel part which handles all low level communication with the hardware, and the mesa part which handles all communication with the userspace applications. For new hardware platforms (such as RDNA), the internal plumbing needs to be rewired to hook everything up properly.

Many inexperienced users make the mistake to only upgrade one of the two, you need both to get things running. The ideas behind make sense but unfortunately,

Since you are using Pop!_OS which is based on Ubuntu, I’d say the following should work for you, but I can give no guarantees.

Easy option:

  • Install Pop!_OS 18.04 and download / install the amdgpu drivers from the AMD website.

Slightly harder option:

Install Pop!_OS 19.04 and get the appropriate PPAs for them:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Edit /etc/apt/preferences.d/pop-default-settings to override mesa settings:

echo "Package: *" >> /etc/apt/preferences.d/pop-default-settings
echo "Pin: release o=LP-PPA-oibaf-graphics-drivers" >> /etc/apt/preferences.d/pop-default-settings
echo "Pin-Priority: 1002" >> /etc/apt/preferences.d/pop-default-settings

Do a dist-upgrade and Install and run ukuu:

sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt -y install ukuu
ukuu-gtk

In the dialog, choose the appropriate kernel (5.3), install it and reboot. Now it should work! I can give no guarantees though since I lack the proper hardware to test it on.

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Thank you all for the replies.

I knew coming in that it would not be 100% perfect but I was hoping to get at least a working foundation. I knew I would need to research solutions for some specific applications/games and worst case then I could look at VFIO or perhaps dual booting to get around the last issues. I was not expecting to hit a wall so early.

I’ll give it another shot today, I’ll follow some of the suggestion in this thread and see if I can get things working.

Thanks again!

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Just. Wait. A couple. Days.

19.10 is right around the corner.
Or if you wanna just play around for a day, grab the beta.

I did not know this.

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And precisely why I stay away from it. Proprietary drivers from the website, bundled kernel drivers, mesa, AMD GPU, AMD GPU PRO and probably another 3 I am forgetting. I simply don’t know where to start so I don’t try.

Can you use the new PC for gaming and the old PC for when you want to mess with alternate OS’s?