Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

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Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Railboy » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:51 am

I'm putting together a Linux box for testing. I only have the budget for one system. Looking for recommendations for the most vanilla testing setup possible.
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by SignpostMarv » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:21 am

Why not get a system that you can run virtual box on and have many flavours to play with ?
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Railboy » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:07 pm

I thought of that, but this is a chance to get a mid-range graphics setup as well. My only testing options at the moment are 'beastly' and 'piss-poor.'
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by SignpostMarv » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:05 pm

Try and get your hands on a steambox? :D
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Railboy » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:28 pm

Ha! Would be a good excuse to try!
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Unaccounted4 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:41 pm

Well, if SteamOS was available for download already it'd be a no brainer.

Currently and since you probably don't have a lot of experience with Linux, Linux Mint 15 XFCE, KDE or Cinnamon (preferably in that order, until you find one you're comfortable with).

Last resort, the new version of ubuntu and family is out so Xubuntu 13.10 would be my suggestion.

EDIT: I currently have an old desktop machine with NVidia graphics running Xubuntu 13.10 32bit.
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Faw » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:12 pm

Basically, anything you can get your hands on. It doesn't have to be a beast if you only want to see if stuff works at all.

Most gaming/porting issues are in my experience caused by software (not having the correct version of a dependency). For this you probably want to stick with the Ubuntu releases targeted by Steam for Linux. Ubuntu should also be the easiest to get going with if you're new to linux.

The second largest problem area is graphics drivers/hardware. What you want probably depends on your budget and time.

The most vanilla I can come up with is any CPU and motherboard and an intel graphics card/chipset, like something with an HD4000. The intel chipsets are widely used in low and medium end laptops and the intel driver seems to currently be more or less the best in terms of quality and features, and definitely the most hassle-free.

Or you can buy cheap not-highend graphics cards from both AMD and Nvidia, maybe some which are aimed at media PCs. Then you can swap and try all the different drivers and check whether things run at all and maybe optimize, depending on how much work you're willing to do/what you choose to support. Keep in mind you don't even have to think about the open source nvidia driver (nouveau) since it's basically not fit for any serious 3D use.

Most developers don't support/test with anything but the official drivers for AMD and Nvidia.

Don't forget to let us know if you need help testing anything in particular. :)
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Railboy » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:35 pm

Faw wrote:Basically, anything you can get your hands on. It doesn't have to be a beast if you only want to see if stuff works at all.


I just got ubuntu up and running so I can at least test builds before they go out. That ought to keep debacles like this from happening again while I wait for some actual hardware .

Unaccounted4 wrote:Linux Mint 15 XFCE, KDE or Cinnamon (preferably in that order, until you find one you're comfortable with).

Last resort, the new version of ubuntu and family is out so Xubuntu 13.10 would be my suggestion.

EDIT: I currently have an old desktop machine with NVidia graphics running Xubuntu 13.10 32bit.


Thanks for the suggestions, these are helpful. I have some experience but I'm really, really rusty - I used Linux for a few years in college but I can barely use a command line any more. And I haven't kept up with the latest and greatest at all.
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by matthewfarmery » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:56 pm

just a small detail, you linked a forum that for the most people don't have access too, I assume that is for the alpha testing lot, I admit I not been around much, been knee deep in helping the Crate team with Grim Dawn, but good luck with the alpha test.
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Deremon » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:00 pm

SteamOS is based on ubuntu so I think *buntu or Mint with a motherboard with an integrated Intel graphic and a pair of low/mid-end graphic card (Nvidia & ATI/AMD) would be a good starting point.
With that, you can test all type of graphic drivers if you need :mrgreen:
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Niriel » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:21 pm

Testing the game on Linux is going to be fun. One thing to do is to have an OpenGL implementation to render stuff on the screen.

As far as I understand my Ubuntu machine, I can choose between three OpenGL implementations.
  1. Mesa. It's a software renderer. It is designed to be correct, but since it uses the CPU only (no GPU) this is not an option for running any post-Elizabethan game. Plus it looks like it has not evolved since OpenGL 3.1, so I would not even use it to test if shaders compile.
  2. Open source drivers. These will talk to the GPU but are not written by AMD/ATI or NVIDIA. Here are instructions for AMD/ATI cards: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RadeonDriver. My own card is not supported so I need to use a proprietary driver instead.
  3. Proprietary drivers, also called binary drivers. These are drivers written by AMD and NVIDIA themselves. They are closed-source, only distributed as binary. Because they are closed-source, Ubuntu does not install them by default but allows you do it yourself. Ubuntu has an "additional drivers" menu somewhere, which will let you install a proprietary driver for your card. However, this will not give you the most recent driver. You get the latest drivers on the websites of AMD or NVIDIA; more instructions there: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/.
It's complicated and I am still confused, so I probably made some mistakes in this post. I welcome any correction!

I can say that installing my ATI proprietary driver from the command line was MUCH easier than I expected. Sure the ATI website is ugly, and you have to type commands, but it's just a matter of reading a README file and following the instructions. It just worked, and I am not scared of doing it again.

Last year, AMD announced that they would officially support Linux. I do not know if NVIDIA followed. I do not know what it entails anyway.

Good luck!
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by Valkor » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:29 am

As a Linux gamer, I might have something to contribute to this thread.

It boils down to two things, and you probably don't need a separate box to do this stuff on.

Distribution
Ubuntu for whatever asinine reason is now the 'standard' for Linux gaming. If you are going to target a single distro, target this one with library dependencies, and offer both tarballs and deb downloads for us. This is what Steam targets, and moral choices aside, it is actually a fine decision to make. Personally I run Debian Unstable on my gaming rig and have no issues with library version mismatches.

Video Card
As mentioned above there are both proprietary and open source drivers for both AMD and NVidia cards. Literally nobody that games on Linux will be using the open source drivers as the frame rate hit just isn't worth it (or you run in to annoying crap like dual heads not working as you'd expect). To this end, I humbly suggest only bothering to test/target the proprietary drivers, however it is required that both vendors be tested. Further, due to how X works, you can't easily run both vendor's drivers at once. Speaking from experience, it can be done, but it's a massive pain. It's best to either blacklist the modules on boot for the card you don't want to test, or physically swap the cards.

My Humble Suggestion
Grab a video card by whatever manufacturer you don't have. Slap it in to your test PC. Grab literally any spare hard drive you have laying around and get it all dual booting to Ubuntu or Debian. Configure the boot loader to have menu entries for blacklisting the appropriate driver modules on boot so you can test each card individually. I suggest hooking your (multiple input) monitor up to both cards so you don't have to fiddle with cables.

But Really...
Just dual boot your current box and test using what you currently have. Any problem that isn't directly game related is a library issue and is effectively out of your hands. A fine example of this is text not rendering for AMD but fine for Nvidia. This last happened to me with a game called Factorio. With just a little bit of debugging it was determined quickly that it was a problem the upstream library folks had to fix and that the game was doing everything correctly.

Thank you for even thinking about Linux support. Over the past year I've been able to completely ditch Windows for gaming thanks to fine folks such as yourself!
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Re: Recommendations for a 'generic' Linux setup

PostPosted by blitzfisch » Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:19 am

Valkor wrote:Ubuntu for whatever asinine reason is now the 'standard' for Linux gaming. If you are going to target a single distro, target this one with library dependencies, and offer both tarballs and deb downloads for us. This is what Steam targets, and moral choices aside, it is actually a fine decision to make. Personally I run Debian Unstable on my gaming rig and have no issues with library version mismatches.

Completely agree. To avoid issues that you need X to run Y it's good to standardize on one Linux distribution for gaming, and it currently looks like the gold standard is Ubuntu.
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