The Linux Experiment: Conclusion

A few months back now I have written about how I was trying to use Linux as my main operating system. I will not reiterate my motives here. If you are interested feel free to read the initial story back from March. In my one-month-later story I was already having some doubts, but continued to stick with it.

It has been a long time since and as of now there is a conclusion to the experiment. Unfortunately, I must report that the experiment has failed. In the end it all comes down to gaming. I have installed Ubuntu 20.04 some time later and by not removing the Windows SSD from the computer like I usually do I also solved the Grub issue that I had where I did not manage to manually add Windows to it after the fact. Ubuntu luckily did the smart thing and detected and added Windows to Grub and did not install it on the Windows SSD but the SSD where the Linux installation was. I have seen differently before which is why I usually only connect one drive when I install an operating system.

So, as good as Linux gaming has become, I was still running into issues. Now, I was prepared that not everything would be nice and easy, and I would have to boot into Windows from time to time. My first attempt this time around was Divinity: Original Sin 2, one of the best RPGs lately that also supports online coop. Unlike its predecessor, Divinity 2 does not have a native Linux port. It did not matter though because it worked fine with Steam’s Proton. I must say though, although my computer managed 60 FPS comfortably, it did not feel 100% smooth. I might be imagining things, so take that with a grain of salt. It did play nicely overall.

Next up was Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, another game I was playing at that time. For that I had to download a newer Proton version and make that available in Steam. Nice and easy. Although the game uses EA’s Origin and that application did a lot of complaining, the game started and ran… well… badly. Apparently, Origin is writing a ton crap of… crap to the drive and that thrashes the performance. This command saved the day:

sudo chmod -R 555 <Steam folder in your home 

dir>/SteamLibrary/steamapps/compdata/1172380/pfx/drive_c/users/steamus er/Application Data/Origin

Now the game mostly ran fine. But only until you open the menu because you want to access the databank or upgrade your skills. After returning to the game from the menus the performance was atrocious. At that point I did not want to fiddle around anymore and gave up on it. Lastly, I tried Shadow of Mordor, a game that has a native Linux port according to Steam. I bought it because I was close to be done with Star Wars and I needed something new and because it was said to run on Linux – and it is supposedly a good game. Imagine my disappointment when the game launched but did not manage to display anything. And that was the point where I gave up. Two out of three did not work. It also did not help that my Xbox controller button layout was weird. I must note though, that it worked using Bluetooth! I was rather impressed by that.

However, that alone could not convince me to stay on Linux. You need to keep in mind that Microsoft has done a lot for developers and brought a very capable Linux shell to Windows. So, from the point of a developer there is not much need to use Linux. There are certainly some use cases, no doubt. For me though, it is more logical, more convenient to use Windows. It lets me do all I want to do without having to jump through countless hoops. It is not a bad OS per se. It has worked well for me for many, many years. It is because of the recent quality issues that I wanted to make the switch. They had not affected me so far, but I am sure it is only a matter of time.

Anyway, I am running Windows again full time. I will continue to follow the Linux world to keep up with its development. Once I am up for a new work laptop it will most likely receive a Linux installation that time around. For today, computers and virtual machines are capable enough to easily enjoy a virtualized Linux installation for testing and maybe some development too, e.g. to port cross platform applications – maybe I even get back to my little application at some point 🙄

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