the Nobara project is a fresh twist on Fedora 35 aimed at Linux gamers and streamers. It’s very new and the site is mostly just a placeholder, but it’s already causing controversy.
Windows is the default operating system for PCs, so PC games mostly target Windows. Running your games on Linux involves a bit of extra legwork. Valve Software’s Steam runs on Linux (though not early on without some glitches), proton can help run current Windows games, and Lutris with older. If Proton isn’t quite up to date enough, a developer nicknamed “Glorious Eggroll” offers Proton GE, a state-of-the-art build with the latest patches and support.
Nobara is a new project by Glorious Eggroll, or Thomas Crider as we assume his friends call him. He works for Red Hat and also contributes to WINE, Lutris and other projects. Nobara is basically Fedora 35 plus a whole host of extensions: the latest Proton-GE and Lutris, as you might suspect, plus installers for AMD and Nvidia drivers and the RPM Fusion Enabled repo of 3rd party addons and extensions.
Another Red Hatter, Christian Schaller, is less happy about the perceived need for such specialized distributions and remixes. He argues that requiring special editions and special configurations is a weakness in distribution design that should be addressed if the core OS is good enough. A mature distro should be able to automatically configure specific hardware, find and install the right drivers itself, and make it easy to find any specific apps that a person with a specific “use case” needs.
That’s a laudable goal indeed…but then again, even Windows itself isn’t there yet, and it has more manpower and money behind it than all alternative operating systems combined. But there is a deeper question behind this: should one size fit all?
Many competing Linux distributions are basically driven by personal preference, not always technical merit. Fedora has a split personality. On the one hand, it’s a community distribution built from free software, which is why it doesn’t include some proprietary components that come with Ubuntu or Mint. But it’s also the technology test bed for future releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is why Fedora doesn’t have long-term support releases of Ubuntu.
The author gave Nobara a quick spin (Pun intended) on his trusty Thinkpad T420 testbed, and it didn’t run as smoothly as the vanilla Fedora 35. The operating system struggled to bring up the Wi-Fi interface, although it worked after several reboots. It correctly detected the machine’s Nvidia GPU and offered to install the driver – but the driver installer didn’t realize that no internet connection was available, so the installation failed.
These glitches are completely forgivable. Nobara is brand new and built with state of the art components. For some people this will be very valuable; It’s just what a Fedora player could need.
On the other hand, an Ubuntu gamer might prefer it gamebuntu.
Nobara offers a choice between GNOME or KDE, neither of which interests me. Fedora’s MATE desktop works better for me and Xfce even better. Although I used Red Hat in the 1990’s, after 18 years on Ubuntu I’m more comfortable with it now
apt package manager. But those are just my preferences, I’m not claiming that they are universal truths.
A universal distribution for everyone is impossible because not everyone wants the same thing. Some will prefer Garuda’s jewelry while discouraging others.
It says good things for the maturity of Linux that it is now possible to play on it. Gamers demand high performance over more traditional Linux virtues like reliability or security. Diversity is good. The more emerging distros push the state of the art, the better. ®