Vulkan is the future of graphics on Linux. It's the next generation replacement for OpenGL, and the performance improvements are immediately apparent. Vulkan was written from the ground up to be more usable for developers, which has spawned a host of great projects that take advantage of Vulkan's potential.
For most people, Vulkan means better gaming experiences, and it's already delivering on that. Games like DoTA 2 have been utilizing Vulkan for some time now, and new projects, like DXVK, are helping Linux users play their favorite games from Windows like never before.
Setting up Vulkan is fairly easy on every distribution, regardless of your graphics card.
The objective of this guide is to install and test Vulkan on Linux.
DistributionsThis guide covers current versions of Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Arch.
RequirementsA working install of one of the covered distributions with root privileges and current graphics drivers.
- # - requires given linux command to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
- $ - given linux command to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
Install VulkanObviously, the first step in taking advantage of all Vulkan has to offer is installing it.
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DebianAMD If you don't mind doing something a bit crazy and experimental, you can follow the Ubuntu procedure to get the latest versions of Mesa. Otherwise, just run the linux command below.
# apt install libvulkan1 mesa-vulkan-drivers vulkan-utilsNVIDIA Download and install the latest drivers from NVIDIA. They include Vulkan support. Also, install Debian's Vulkan utilties.
# apt install vulkan-utils
UbuntuAMD It's best to enable a PPA for the latest Mesa drivers. There is a PPA that packages and releases the latest changes straight from Mesa's Git. Add the PPA to your system and update. Then, upgrade your system. It will automatically upgrade your existing Mesa packages.
When it's done, install the Vulkan packages.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers $ sudo apt update $ sudo apt upgrade
# apt install libvulkan1 mesa-vulkan-drivers vulkan-utilsNVIDIA Ubuntu also has a great repository for the NVIDIA proprietary drivers. Add it to your system, and update Apt.
Now, install your drivers and Vulkan.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa $ sudo apt upgrade
$ sudo apt install nvidia-graphics-drivers-396 nvidia-settings vulkan vulkan-utils
FedoraAMD You should already have the latest AMD drivers installed on your computer. Install the Vulkan packages.
# dnf install vulkan vulkan-infoNVIDIA The proprietary NVIDIA drivers are available from the RPMFusion repository. Add it to your system, if you haven't already.
# dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpmThen, install the drivers with Vulkan.
# dnf install xorg-x11-drv-nvidia akmod-nvidia vulkan vulkan-tools
OpenSUSEAMD You should already have the latest available AMD drivers on your system. Install the Vulkan packages with
# zypper in vulkan libvulkan1 vulkan-utils mesa-vulkan-driversNVIDIA Head over to the the OpenSUSE documentation, and follow the procedure for your version of OpenSUSE. When you have your drivers, install the Vulkan packages.
# zypper in vulkan libvulkan1 vulkan-utils
Arch LinuxAMD You already have the latest AMD Mesa drivers. Just install Vulkan support.
# pacman -S vulkan-radeon lib32-vulkan-radeonNVIDIA Install the NVIDIA drivers. They include Vulkan support.
# pacman -S nvidia lib32-nvidia-utils
vulkaninfocommand to pull up relevant information about your system. If you get info about your graphics card, you'll know that Vulkan is working.
$ vulkaninfo | less
DoTA 2There's another more practical way to see how Vulkan performs on your system. You can install and play DoTA 2. It's one of the first Linux games to support Vulkan completely, and it's free to play. The only thing you need is a Steam account.
First, install Steam on your system. It's available on all the distributions above. When you have Steam, you can install DoTA 2 easily enough.
Closing ThoughtsYou are now running Vulkan on your Linux desktop. If you followed along through DoTA 2, you already have a working game making use of it. All the other Vulkan based tools and programs are also open to you now too, including using it with Wine and DXVK. That opens up plenty of new games to play on your system.
Vulkan support is only getting better. More games are making use of it, and other Linux utilities are stepping up too. Wine is actually even developing support for DirextX 12 with Vulkan too. Keep your system updated and enjoy the progress.