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Looking to change distros. What has your expeirance been in getting Windows games to run for vairous Distros?
George Chappell
George Chappell Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 5
Posted 2014-03-15 15:08
Currently I am running Ubuntu 13.10 64b. Before that Mint (don't ask why I switched). Before Mint, Ubuntu. while I had toyed with various Linux distros as toys, it wasn't until 8 years ago that I started using Linux (Ubuntu initially) seriously. Now I loathe using the computers at the office as they have Windows 7, which while arguably the best Windows OS to day, its still a mess. Still, Ubuntu and its derivatives aren't perfect. Increasingly I feel as if I'm working a black box system with poor documentation.

Last fall I tried some others, Debian first. Unfortunately, its documentation isn't much better, which I would need if I am to move to a less out-of-the-box distro. I tried Arch in a VM, but decided I'll have to wait a while before taking that beast on. I've had both CentOS and OpenSUSE recommended to me, but I want some more opinions. In particular, how much effort will I have to go to in order to get my Windows games to run in CrossOver Linux. Currently it isn't too bad, however I've run into a few weird bugs that I can't seem to work around.

I have the week off and am hoping to use this time to get a new Distro up and running in that time.

tl;dr: I've been an Ubuntu/Mint n00b for 8 years now and am getting tired on the increasinly "black box" feel. I want a new distro with decent documentation, but not all the head ache of Arch. Additionally I want to make sure I can Wine my games in it. CentOS and OpenSUSE have been suggested already, please comment on these suggestions and make others.

[edit] To clear up some things after reading the first reply:

I don't feel that Arch is going to be troublesome to maintain, but rather to set up. With that in mind, I would suspect that Antergos would be a good Distro to try as the hardest part should be taken care of (or so I hopel i certainly will see).

Also, I'm worried about in respects to CX is getting all the drivers and what not to make things run.
J-P Simard
J-P Simard Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 4
Posted 2014-03-15 15:42
Well, first I would like to address you comment about Arch being a head ache. I am on Arch, and I have had the best, most trouble free experience I have had on any distro I have tried. There is simply no distro out there that has been as simple to maintain. Absolutly no bugs that I had to really wait on the devs to figure out either. In other words, there is no black box in Arch. Believe me, after close to 4 years of use, my computer has been as headache free as a computer can be. I have had trouble, but it was all easy to take care of. That being said, I can understand if you feel the move to Arch as daunting, but that is usually because you aren't motivated enough. A cursory look at Arch will always leave you dubious at first, but Arch is well worth the effort. More specifically, I have had only one python related "trouble" with Crossover since I switched to Arch. But it has been at least two years since Crossover gave me any serious trouble under Arch.

Lastly, on the subject of Arch, you should look at Manjaro and Antergos, which are both Arch based with much of it's "complexity" removed. Antergos is to closest to being pure Arch from my understanding.

As for OpenSuse, it is one of my favorites but for installing Crossover, which requires some extra manipulations. I don't have the exact page, but the info is on the forum somewhere. I don't hear too much complaint from the Fedora users, so I guess you would be fine with anything related to Redhat. Do keep in mind that RedHat, and therefore CentOs, tend to be slower on adopting the newest libraries. I'm not sure you necessarely want that, so Fedora is perhaps a better choice.

You might also consider SolydXK (solydxk.com). That is semi-rolling distro based on Debian, and I have had some pretty good results in a VM. So with this one, you will have the "luxury" of just downloading a deb package to install Crossover.

In all, I don't think any distro is any better at running windows games than another. I would think most choices would do just fine, as all distro pretty much sport the same underlying technology.

But I will leave you with this:

1) Perhaps your biggest concern is the package manager. You should try to stay with either a deb or rpm package management if you really want the easiest possible installation.

2) Choose a multi-arch ready distro: Older Ubuntu version are having a lot of trouble with this. Recent Crossover packages are multi-arch, but not every version of Ubuntu is, so installing is temporarely a mess. Things will be cleared up rather soon, but it could be something to watch out for.

3) The supported / tested distros are Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. So the further you stray, the more you are on your own.
George Chappell
George Chappell Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 5
Posted 2014-03-15 16:31
I have no doubt that Arch runs fine once its set up, and I've read and agree with the "Arch Way", but I have niether the time nor the leve lof familiarity to deal with getting Arch assembled. I have Spring break to install and test a new ditro as well as gatch up on my Thesis (I'm a grad student). Perhaps in which ever summer semester I'm not teaching I'll try Arch again.

I'm understand that once set up Windows program should would about as well in one distro as in another. However, I'm also aware that finding and setting up the appropriet libraries may be harder then nessisary.

In regard to those three points, Yeah, thats one of the reasons I've been so found of Ubuntu so far. Debs are just nicer it seems. My understanding is, though, that Arch and its derivatives are very good for those who want to install via source. Is there a list of mutli-arch ready distros? In regards to that last point, about straying from tested distros, will the support staff still be able to help me? Even though I'm entitles to free software, I'm also a paying customer and have found the support helpful so far, though this current audio bug is really driving me up the wall (its what actually is driving me away from Ubuntu -- not being able to really fix it).

Thank you Simard for your response. It was quite helpful.

[edit] One thing I forgot to ask. How is SolydXK's documentation. You mention that its Debian-based, and one of my complaints with the Debian tree is poor documentation, one of the reasons I'm willing to try CentOS and Arch-based.
J-P Simard
J-P Simard Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 4
Posted 2014-03-15 17:16
Staff will try to help you, so long as they have some experience with your given distro and software. If too much time would be necessary to investigate your problem, there is a chance they could refuse support for an unsupported distro. They have limited resources, so if you're too far off track, there is only so much they can do. Strange thing is, I know for a fact that some on the staff run Arch, although they won't admit it officially because it isn't a supported distro.

Whatever you choose, you won't be alone, as most people on this forum are at least willing to help. There is also a bunch of very experienced advocates who will definitly try to figure out any problem you could run into, no matter your distro.

As for SolydXK, I haven't looked up their docs. It installed without a hitch in a VM, so I didn't have any motive to look them up. A cusory look would indicate that documentation is minimal. The distro appears somewhat "young", so I would think that it might get better in the future. The sad thing is, it is my experience that the most technical distros, like Arch and Gentoo, are those with the most complete and up-to-date documentation. Prior to my jumping in Arch, I never found a distro with a documentation that was truly satisfactory. Even Ubuntu has some horribly out of date or outright missing documentation, which is a pity. Too many distros are satisfied with limited installation and / or troubleshooting documentation, with little else past that.

About your audio bug, I have had some trouble with Arch and glitchy sound, but that has resolved itself with somewhat recent updates. Also, I have found that the trouble only affected my internal audio card, as my USB headset was immune. I would seem that this is partly a driver issue as not all hardware is subjected to the problem. The other part was PulseAudio, which still has trouble with Wine, or is it the other way around. Anyway, disabling or removing PulseAudio can remove most sound glitches while using Wine / Crossover... go figure.

Just one last correction, Arch is not "source" based as Gentoo would be. Arch mainly operates with pre-compiled packages, although the AUR is more "from source", but that is only because the packages aren't "official".
Silviu Cojocaru
Silviu Cojocaru Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 8
Posted 2014-03-15 17:20
I have tried Manjaro and OpenSuSE 13.1 recently. When I say *tried* I actually tried to use them full-time, instead of my Ubuntu 12.04 install.

Manjaro was a fun, wild ride. I tried to be as conservative as possible and not abuse the AUR. Even with all of this at some point something broke and I simply could not be arsed to track it down. Some obscure bug that broke some wine apps while some still worked.

OpenSuSE was next. I liked the partitioning tool a lot. There simply isn't something better in the linux world. I also went with btrfs. Problems:
1) no nvidia drivers at the time  the OS was released. I guess the devs did not think this was important enough to delay the release date. It was for me and it delayed my testing
2) CrossOver will install just fine from the rpm package but you'll still need to install additional packages and create some symlinks. This is covered in the CX wiki
3) native Steam games will generally run fine but there may be bumps. For example, Metro : Last light did not have sound.
4) for some weird reason CX would run programs just fine from their shortcuts but not from the command line
5) sound issues that basically did not allow me to have a native linux program and a wine program seamlessly share the sound system. Basically one or the other  would block access to the sound output device until it was closed.

If you want to *use* linux, stick with the popular, big user-base distros like Ubuntu. If you want to learn how things work on linux, Arch is good. They have a proper wiki to get you going. There is nothing stopping you from dual-booting and having both on there. Learn do to stuff on Arch but if you're in a hurry to meet a deadline, you still have the other distro that you're familiar with. When you get comfy with Arch and if you like it, then there's nothing stopping you from sticking with it.
J-P Simard
J-P Simard Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 4
Posted 2014-03-15 19:44
I second Silviu.

The only exception, I would say an experienced Arch user requires no more time to set up an Arch box than an Ubuntu user would need. So I "use" Linux just fine with Arch, in particular when you consider there's never a reinstall. There hasn't been a deadline I couldn't meet yet!  😋
George Chappell
George Chappell Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 5
Posted 2014-03-16 16:51
Well, I dd'ed the wrong the wrong drive (more on that here) and so won't be spending much time with AntergOS. Instead I get to try to recover as much data as i can. Joy!
J-P Simard
J-P Simard Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 4
Posted 2014-03-16 19:16
dd = data destroyer!

Jeez, sorry to hear about your drive. I always get real scare whenever I just type "dd", nevermind what come after.

So, I guess you don't have automated backups to a NAS or external drive? That is the main use of my raspberry pi, to serve as a low power NAS that just takes the backup each week, setup as a cron job. Such a setup would have limited the damage and doesn't cost that much.

Still, good luck with your data recovery.
George Chappell
George Chappell Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 5
Posted 2014-03-16 21:00
Luckily, the drive that got dd'ed WAS my back up drive. However, because I was preparing do some serious rearranging of my data, not everything on it was redundent, but most still is. As it turns out the only thing that really got nuked was my windows partition. I found everything of importance via TestDisk. While I'm not fond of Best Buy, its the fastest way to get an external drive to copy over the files on the parition, and will making the trip to the mall tomorrow. I also have another copy of Ubuntu running right now, though its mostly vanilla, which I hate. Still, it has most of what I need (scipy, numpy, texmaker, and geany). I need to get Thunderbird working with my universities mail server again, but thats just a matter of digging out old emails.

It could have been a lot worse. Even if my Linux partition did get nuked, I found old grade books that still had test grades in it. That was the scary part. If I lost those, I'd be in serious trouble. As it turns out, even the new ones just need recovery. It just means I need to put up with Ubuntu for a little longer.
J-P Simard
J-P Simard Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 4
Posted 2014-03-17 06:09
Not too bad then.

That does tell me a NAS procures a level of isolation against dd mishaps. My Pi powered NAS drive doesn't receive a "/dev/sdx" designation, so dd couldn't do anything to it directly at all. dd could write a file there, but nothing more. I never really gave a thought about that before your accident, but now, it appears a simple backpup drive might not be enough.

I would thank you for making me think about this, but I'm not sure how you would feel about that!  😋
Silviu Cojocaru
Silviu Cojocaru Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 8
Posted 2014-03-17 06:37
My really important stuff resides on gdrive and dropbox. I don't bother to backup music and photos. Mainly because I really don't care about photos and music I can always re-download from where I bought it in the first place. To seamlessly integrate google drive with nautilus I use insync.

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