It's Been Five Years That Ubuntu Has Tried To Improve For Linux Gaming

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 14 October 2017 at 10:53 AM EDT. 67 Comments
Next month will mark five years that Steam has been available for Linux and it's been about the same length of time that Ubuntu has tried to improve itself as a gaming platform, but has it worked?

It was this time five years ago when during the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS Copenhagen) they began plotting how to push Ubuntu as a gaming platform.

Among their agenda items at that time for Ubuntu 13.04 were to enhance the Linux gaming outlook were improvements to audio, better binary/ABI handling, graphics driver improvements, input device improvements, better Unity desktop performance, and reducing audio latency.

Over the past five years there have been improvements in many of these areas including PulseAudio getting into much better shape (and the new PipeWire initiative around the corner), amazing Mesa driver progress especially in recent years, libinput offering better input handling, projects like libratbag improving gaming peripheral support, first-rate Steam Controller support on Linux, lowering the desktop/compositor/WM overhead, and more.

This is while the Linux marketshare reported by Valve is still consistently well under 1%.

Google Trends around Ubuntu/Linux gaming has been largely the same the past few years.

While searches around SteamOS and Steam Machines is waning.

Along similar lines, this week I was on the Destination Linux podcast for those interested in more rambling about the state of Linux gaming / drivers / hardware, etc.

So five years on, do you think Ubuntu is serving well as a Linux gaming platform? Or Linux more broadly as being suitable for Steam gaming? What do you think Ubuntu needs to improve upon to become a more compelling gaming platform?
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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