Non-Windows Gaming OS One Day?

I have wondered why nobody ever made a dedicated gaming OS, for PC…
In ten years every gamer would be like ”Mike Rowesoft? Never heard of the guy”.

Valve tried with SteamOS (which was basically their take on Linux), but it failed for various reasons. One of the biggest surely being that AAA titles are seldom portable to Linux.

I think it’s just historically grown to be that way, plus Microsoft actively trying to lock the PC game market into Windows (Vulcan acceptance is good as it seems, so at least that is starting to change). In the long term, the Windows kernel is going to die out. I’m quite certain that at some point, Windows is going to be nothing more than a fancy Window manager for Linux.


Counterpoint: XBox OS code base is now off of Windows 10 (ie: Windows 10 for XBox). A gaming OS, really, would just strip out some of the extra services that are running but most of them, outside all the extra crap that gets installed when you buy a PC from a vendor (adware, ‘helper’ apps) are somewhat required.

I am not sure I see that happening. Microsoft is moving more into a Cloud/Amazon/Google competitor mode but I don’t see Windows moving. I mean I really love my Linux Subsystem for Windows but when you are talking OS core, I don’t feel that Microsoft is going to abandon any of that.


The question is, what is their benefit of maintaining their own kernel? Windows Server/NT/whatever is dead in the water. Desktop, according to them, is a dying breed. What’s the long game here for them?

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Ok? Didn’t know that. So let us install that on a PC, if it would run all our games?
Guessing it isn’t that easy, but it would be nice to see a slimmed Windows OS that’s just for gaming.

True. I am not disagreeing. I would love to have a more gaming focused OS.

But. The information I have right now is that Microsoft has at least 10 versions of Windows 10 right now including: Windows 10 (consumer, XBoxOne, Mobile, etc), Windows Server 2019 )and Windows Server 2016) and other ‘cloud’ versions. In addition they are also supporting Windows 8.1 (Server 2012 R2, Windows 8 (RT, Server 2012), Windows 7 (and Windows server 2008 R2). Don’t forget x86/x64/ARMx64 support for those.

I know that there is a navy somewhere in NATO that just recently paid for 10 years of Windows 7 support. So… wow. Yeah.

All of that makes my brain melt because it is, in essence, 1 code base with many branches. If you thing that ED has issues managing their code base, just imaging what Microsoft has to go through with theirs. They have dedicated teams that deal with nothing but branching, merging and build systems.

I am pretty sure that the XBoxOne UI is available in Windows 10 now. And it is pretty fast and usable. The XBox hardware is quite a far way behind the PC in terms of capabilities. When it comes to FS2020, it’s best performance will be on a PC and it should easily beat an XBoxOne.

The benefit is not having to rely on Linus to add his stuff to a different kernel. They control theirs, which suits their needs and requirements. There are a lot of issues that the kernel has to deal with that might not be obvious to us in consumer land.

And the Windows kernel has gotten a lot better over the past few years. It is a ton more stable than it was in Windows 7 and 8/8.1. The number of useless processes have come down and gotten faster because the kernel support them better than it did in the past. Yeah, there are a few features that get in the way (drive/data indexing, Cortana search, etc) but, in all honesty, that is becoming a small fraction of your CPU use.

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I just wanted to add the Windows 10 fall update for this year (version 1909, just released last week) added some CPU load balancing adjustments and I have already noticed improvements for HPN (my gaming rig’s 9900k doesn’t care what I throw at it, but the i3-4160 non-turbo 3.6ghz 2C4T of HPN certainly does!) which can now open up other threads without DCS going bonkers. DCS always gets run on core 3 (#0 to #3, Windows decides the affinity) and Windows 10 loved opening new threads on that busy core and/or doing those indexes, defender scans or Windows Updates across all cores - even the busy one. Last night it did much better with an active DCS session. MS’ improvements are paying off.


Xbox doesn’t allow modding of games… Unless it’s paid DLC.

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I think that’s because Gamers are a picky bunch - everything must flow with a nice UI and be customizable.

Apples with Mac OS-X is very “our way is right” even down to hardware now with soldered on RAM etc…great for less tech-savvy basic users (or if you like a very simple reliable system). Not going to fly for gamers.

Linux (I’ve used CentOS 7 and the Fedora WSL) is amazingly stable, and very customizable - so much to the point that basically you have to customize things just to use it. The average gamer doesn’t have the depth of knowledge to work with Linux.

Windows is a pre-configured desktop system that you can just set-up and go, AND customize at the “user level” without needing a OS manual (but likely a program manual for whatever app that you on working on).

I also don’t see the kinds of programmers that like to make games wanting to build kernels, file systems and the like, or vice versa.

MS took the reigns, even if they just fell in their lap - and as far as everyone is concerned - if the relationship ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


I’m not picky. I just want things made properly that run well and look nice. :slightly_smiling_face:


IMHO modern Linux distros are better pre-configured than their MS counterpart, at least for day to day office work. And just because some people use the command line to configure their Linux doesn’t mean that you can’t also have a UI for that. Different window managers do cover different settings with UIs.


I used the CentOS 7 desktop (Gnome 3) for a bit on my home VM (which in on HPN via Hyper-V) but since I was spending time on CLI mostly I just re-rolled it without Gnome to save overhead (which was quite a bit since I don’t allocate it much resources).

That’s like the requirements for brake pads: long life, effective stopping power, low dust, no noise. Pick three.

You can’t have them all - so your case, pick two. :sweat_smile:

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This is why I stick to DOS 5.0! :crazy_face:


Interesting times as Microsoft have been on the Linux Foundation pretty much helping pay Linus Torvalds salary for a number of years. The new version of Edge is Chrome based and MS do have a Linux based OS for Azure…forget what that is called but Linux is very popular on Azure.

Bit early to say whether they will ditch their OS (Like Apple did) and go Linux or Unix.

For the Desktop Linux is where it always has been for me (and everyone else looking at the usage stats) - in a VM on Windows.
Windows is still a much easier OS to live with IME and runs older apps very well.

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Container. :wink: Docker for Windows is pretty good.

The new WSL 2 as mentioned by @sobek is very usable as well. Worth a look, as it brings together all the old compatibility for games in Windows of old, but a nice workable *nix based kernel (without bad IO seen on VMs). I think WSL 2 goes live for all middle 2020, but not sure.


Alright that is pretty cool!