Linux Support in Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds

Have you joined the Discord yet? You’re invited to be a part of the first ever cross-worlds discussion group, with over 300 people participating from every social VR platform and virtual world! More details here

I have been home sick yesterday and today, venturing out today only for a doctor’s appointment, and yesterday to go vote in Canada’s federal election. (Well, I got what I wanted: a Liberal minority government with the NDP holding the balance of power, and Maxime Bernier’s ass handed to him on a platter. It’s certainly going to be an interesting next few years in federal politics!)

There has been a fascinating discussion taking place on the Discord server about Linux support in various social VR/virtual worlds. Here’s some of what I learned (please note that these are only based on what people have said on my Discord, and that you should always refer to the companies’ websites to get the authoritative final word on Linux support):

  • While Palmer Luckey originally pledged to support Linux for the Oculus VR headsets, the company later abandoned that idea. However, Vive/Valve does have some Linux support (you can Google for the necessary information).
  • The Sansar client only runs on Windows, and a couple of people who have tried to run it on Linux through Steam Play (an emulator from Valve that allows you to play Windows games on Linux), reported that it didn’t work.
  • VRChat is, however, reported to work on Linux via Steam Play, with a few issues, according to the ProtonDB compatibility website.
  • Although High Fidelity technically supports Linux, in actual fact there is no Linux client available to download from their website. (You can, of course, host your own HiFi world server using Linux.) But you do have to build the Linux client application from HiFi’s code base yourself (here’s their Linux Build Guide), and according to various reports on their user forums, some people have had problems doing so. High Fidelity admitted that their in-house Linux support has deteriorated as far back as 2016, so basically you’re on your own. Given their recent pivot towards remote teams use for the enterprise, future support for Linux looks even more unlikely. However, the software is open source, so perhaps some enterprising volunteers will get it to work.
  • Sinespace has a Linux client, as well as a web browser client that will work in Linux. They have a guide for Linux users.
  • Second Life and its OpenSim variants do have Linux clients. The most popular Linux client is probably Firestorm.
  • One person reported being able to run Active Worlds and with WINE (a Windows emulator for Windows).
  • Mozilla Hubs, being web browser based, works on Linux.
  • JanusVR works with Linux, both in browser and via their downloadable client.

And that’s a summary of all the information I have right now. Please feel free to post a comment with any updates, corrections, or additional information, thanks!

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