My experience with Linux (Nobara Steamdeck Edition) on the Lenovo Legion Go (Very Positive!)

First, a disclaimer - I have been using Linux for many many years and things that most people consider difficult or obtuse are easy for me. So any statements about Linux's ease of use should be taken with a bit of salt. Grin

So I bought my Lenovo Legion Go with the full intent to dual boot with Linux, and I couldn't be happier!

Nobara Steamdeck Edition was really easy to install (relative to other linux distros) and 90% of the device's features are working without doing anything else.

However, I'm a bit picky so I swapped out a bootloader that supported touchscreen selection (rEFind), and found a wonderful guide that brings the functionality almost to parity with Windows (and actually superior in a few ways) - https://github.com/aarron-lee/legion-go-tricks

The end result is something that feels better to use than Windows. Nobara running in "Gaming Mode" (Big Picture) uses only 1.6GB of barely breaks 2.5GB with a third party launcher running. This means that setting the UMA memory allocation (Vram allocation) to 8GB works a lot better! Even launching into "Desktop Mode" provides a better experience than Windows 11 in many places - mainly resource usage and responsiveness. 

Ultimately, I'm considering shrinking my Windows partition to be only used for Firmware and Bios updates going forward. Linux provides that good of an experience for me.

Linux still probably isn't for the non-technical quite yet, but in a year or two, it might be! In the meantime, if you like to tinker, consider this an enthusiastic recommendation to give it a shot!

Parents
  • I decided to take the plunge by partitioning my 1TB hard drive into two 512GB partitions. Instead of Nobara OS Steam Deck Edition, I decided on Bazzite Steam Deck edition, and so far I'm EXTREMELY impressed by the functionality. So much so that Bazzite my become my daily driver gamer OS.

  • I feel like I invested way too much time in getting Nobara and all my games setup that I hesitate jumping to Bazzite.

    I'm more likely to go with Arch anyways since the creator of Handheld Daemon also maintains a couple AUR packages that do the trick better than Nobara now.

    Glad that Bazzite is working for you! I hear that's a pretty User-Friendly OS and kinda hard to bork.

  • Yes Bazzite has indeed been great for me, although I'm probably going to go with Nobara on my eldest daughter's gaming laptop instead. Her laptop will not be configured dual boot for Linux and Windows. However I admit I'm sort of on the fence between Nobara on Arch Linux myself. Because in hindsight I didn't consider the actuality of the Steam Deck is essentially Arch Linux.

  • Well, it's Arch Linux, but Immutable. So it's actually kind of an oxymoron of a combination. 

    Arch being a rolling release distro, and the immutability essentially defeating the purpose of said rolling release model. 

    So imagine having packages that update every day, as the new versions come out. But then having to "snapshot" it as a single monolithic "image" (like an ISO I suppose) and _that's_ what gets distributed in SteamOS, not the individual packages. At least as far as the base OS is concerned. The "snapshot" can't be overwritten either - you might be able to install something with sudo during your session, but it'll be gone after a reboot. This is hugely advantageous for something that's a "gaming device" since it makes breaking your device really hard. The way around this is that you _do_ get access to your /home folder and that you can write to all you want - so enter flatpaks and appimages which allow you to run your program, storing everything in your home folder instead of modifying the system itself. 

    Oh, also SteamOS tends to rock a different kernel from mainline Arch with their own fixes included in it. Some have rebuilt the kernel for other distros like Nobara and Arch - and I think Chimera/Bazzite might use the same kernel. 

    Arch is definitely a different experience vs SteamOS and it's a lot easier to accidentally break. Nobara is a _bit_ better in that regard and I'd recommend going that route first. Only do full-fat Arch if the user doesn't mind fixing config files from time-to-time. Nobara's Fedora base is far more predictable and stable. 

    I say this as an Arch user on most of my devices... I personally love the tradeoff of having bleeding edge software though!

Reply
  • Well, it's Arch Linux, but Immutable. So it's actually kind of an oxymoron of a combination. 

    Arch being a rolling release distro, and the immutability essentially defeating the purpose of said rolling release model. 

    So imagine having packages that update every day, as the new versions come out. But then having to "snapshot" it as a single monolithic "image" (like an ISO I suppose) and _that's_ what gets distributed in SteamOS, not the individual packages. At least as far as the base OS is concerned. The "snapshot" can't be overwritten either - you might be able to install something with sudo during your session, but it'll be gone after a reboot. This is hugely advantageous for something that's a "gaming device" since it makes breaking your device really hard. The way around this is that you _do_ get access to your /home folder and that you can write to all you want - so enter flatpaks and appimages which allow you to run your program, storing everything in your home folder instead of modifying the system itself. 

    Oh, also SteamOS tends to rock a different kernel from mainline Arch with their own fixes included in it. Some have rebuilt the kernel for other distros like Nobara and Arch - and I think Chimera/Bazzite might use the same kernel. 

    Arch is definitely a different experience vs SteamOS and it's a lot easier to accidentally break. Nobara is a _bit_ better in that regard and I'd recommend going that route first. Only do full-fat Arch if the user doesn't mind fixing config files from time-to-time. Nobara's Fedora base is far more predictable and stable. 

    I say this as an Arch user on most of my devices... I personally love the tradeoff of having bleeding edge software though!

Children
  • Hi  and  ,

    I was really trying to follow this thread from the beginning until now, but beeing a real Linux beginner couldn't fully (have a lot of Windows experience, but not with Linux at all Sweat smile).

    For a beginner wanting to;

    - Install Linux via usb stick or SD-Card first to just try it out

    - Install possibly a Linux Distro with the best gaming performance

    - Having the best possible driver support (less driver installation fixing)

    - Learning more about Linux, but having an easier to use distro, maybe adapting/changing a few configurations/things now and then, just to get accustomed to Linux.


    ->> Which of the mentioned distros would you recommend?

    Nobara, somehow was mentioned by both of you positively / or would it be Arch Linux, or Bazzite?

    And the Kernel is the main core of the system running in the background? How does it work that you can install a certain Linux distro, but switch the Kernel?
    -> Which Kernel would you be recommending then for my objectives?

  • - Appologies for the late reply.

    The standard recommendation right now is Bazzite. It's a little more difficult to install, but is VERY hard to break. I'd consider it the most "newbie friendly". It's definitely not _perfect_ and has it's own flaws, but for a newbie its a good starting point.



    As for the Kernel - generally speaking these gaming distros use something called an "fsync" kernel. Nobara, Bazzite, and ChimeraOS use it out of the box.


    It's only Arch Linux (or other non-gaming distros) that basically require you to install a different kernel for 100% functionality.


    TL;DR - Bazzite has all you need, no need to worry about kernel.

  • Hi  thanks a lot for your answer! SmileyOk handThumbsup 

    Sincerely I didn't think you guys would answer anymore, but better late then never WinkThumbsup 

    In the meanwhile I had a longer discussion with  and I decided to install a proper Linux for learning to handle it on one USB-Stick, and a gaming one (preliminary chose Nobara, as it's description sounded great) on another.

    Now that you are recommending Bazzite I will have a closer look at it too, and at the other two also, trying to compare their pros and cons before choosing one of them. Maybe if you  know any good resource to compare them, this resource would be very welcome. Otherwise no worries, I will just search for it myself WinkThumbsup.

    Just need to find the time for starting this dive into Linux properly, as I want to properly look into it and learn, and not just only install a game and play directly. What I will definetly also do soon, as I'm just curious, how it performs and how good I can actually get the drivers I need to run and so on.

    -----

    -> I had my first experience with Handheld companion in Windows about 2 to 4 weeks after the Go was realeased (got it at release) and need to say that I didn't like it really, because so many things didn't work yet with the Go, and the performance using it instead of LegionSpace was really way worse...

    -> I heard it was further optimized for the go, but I'm still sceptical... I will try it out anyway, but is there also a good alternative to it on Linux? I used another of those "settings helper software" on Windows, but I don't recall it's name anymore...

  • I decided to install a proper Linux for learning to handle it on one USB-Stick, and a gaming one (preliminary chose Nobara, as it's description sounded great) on another.

    Nice,  !