MX Linux for Gaming on GNU/Linux

Published on: November 24, 2021 | Reading Time: 4 min | Last Modified: November 24, 2021


Alright I'm a little late on this one. But here we go.

October was fun. I checked out GNU/Linux Gaming over the past two month, it seemed like it was the right time to do so. GNU/Linux as a gaming platform has been steadily maturing over the past few years. Support for more and more games are every month and we're at a point now where we have performance that's very much comparable if not as good the performance one would get on windows.

Towards the beginning of October I created a Steam account and bought an old game that I used to play and really liked. I initially tried to set things up with Pop OS and then Linux Mint. My experience was a mixed bag.

Pop OS got a lot of things right but their aesthetic was not really my thing and the way the distribution is customized is such that it's not easy bring things back to the default Gnome look and feel. Also the game performance in my experience was not that good, and the game constantly had issues like audio and video being out of sync, stuttering, random freezes and outright crashing on me. I am still just starting out with Linux gaming and I don't know enough about all the moving parts to actually pinpoint where the issue actually is. I did install the proprietary Nvidia driver for my card and run the game with the recommended version of proton for the specific game I was trying to play. So I decided to test with another distribution, Linux Mint.

I decided to play it safe and went with the Cinnamon edition and Like Pop OS it also got a lot of things right. All the things you would expect from a mature and well thought out system was there and I really liked it, at least until the honeymoon phase ended. The gaming experience was still the same from that of Pop OS and Cinnamon started showing rough edges. The system started slowing down and extensions ecosystem still leaves a lot to be desired. I was starting to loose hope. I really didn't want to get deep into Linux gaming to actually tinker with the underlying tech. I was only looking to be casual gamer and not an enthusiast. I just wanted something that's as simple as plug and play. I thought about changing base to an Arch based distro such as Manjaro that was also well reputed in the community but I didn't want to leave the 'apt ecosystem' for the lack of a better word. I thought about Elementary OS but I already have a Mac in my life and didn't need more. This is when I started looking into MX Linux which I had previously installed on my parents laptop. The more I looked the more I liked what I saw. It had a stable Debian base instead of Ubuntu and ran XFCE, a DE I was planning on revisiting. I thought why not and gave it a shot.

MX Linux underpromised and over delivered to say the least. The website is not as flashy or modern as Pop OS or Mint and that might definitely be off putting to some users but the tech was all there and was thorough this reminded me of suckless and Debian which I'm not gonna lie did bring my hopes up a little but I was still optimistic. I downloaded the MX 19 ISO (21 hadn't been released yet.) did a clean install and started using it. It gave me the kind of stability that I loved in Debian but also gave me these tools that made my life easier but unlike Ubuntu, Pop OS and Mint they weren't trying to mask the complexity but actually embracing it and making it easier to users to navigate through. I liked this approach and guess what the trend continued when it came to gaming. The game actually ran like it was suppose to. The issues I faced with Pop OS and Mint were nowhere to be scene. The performance was great too!

So yeah if you're thinking of Getting into gaming on Linux MX Linux is a solid choice.