Gaming on Linux, 2023

On a whim I installed Debian 12 on a spare hard drive today, went through the graphical installer, and had a working system in about 20 minutes. I didn’t have a primary goal in mind but I was curious if I could “de-Windows” my computer at some point; I chose Debian because I’ve been using it a lot as a server OS this year and I’m familiar with apt as a package manager.

Since I had the system installed so quickly, and because the quasi-goal was to back off Windows when possible, I decided I needed to try Steam. I probably last tried this around 2013 when Steam Big Picture mode was launched, and there was a lot of hype around Steam Machines and Steam on Linux. Admittedly, it felt a bit clunky back then, but I was blown away at the simplicity of getting up and running today. A few commands from the Debian wiki, pulled the latest Steam-install package, and I was up and running.

Even more impressive is that sound and controller support are working right out of the box. I have always struggled with sound on Linux over the years, but things must have come a long way since the last time I tried it (I usually resigned myself to not using my Linux installs for things like video watching or anything that would use sound). Controller support was amazing; my Steam controller was setup on Windows a while back, and it picked right up where it left off when I launched Steam on Debian.

My Linux-compatible library is of course a bit smaller than it is on Windows, but all the staples I’ve been playing recently are there (Rimworld, Starfield!). Another step towards making this a daily driver.

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