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Can I share Lutris games across several distros on the same PC?

Hi! I’m planning to install four or five different distros on one PC. One partition for each distro and one shared home folder for all of them. But can I share my Lutris games across those distros to run my Lutris games on all of them? Or do I have to install the games separately on each partition?

Thanks in advance.

Interesting idea. Be informed that sharing a complete home directory shares the complete home directory. Take a look at ~/.config, a directory containing all configuration files. There are many of those directories. Please read the following post on unix.stackexchange.com.

If the goal is to share the game directory then I would put those on a separate partition and mount this partition to the home directory as ~/games. This way there can’t be any clashes between different configuration files for the same programs etcetera.

I’ve done the above for my games, which are stored on a m.2 ssd. I’ve also got a large HDD for file storage. I’ve symlinked the steam and lutris config/share directories to that drive to save space on my home directory. Also, when re-installing, those files are preserved and I only need to run a script to re-enable those symlinks again.

# Move to HDD platter and symlinked the lutris directory to ~/_data/_lutris_config/
/home/[username]/.config/lutris/

# Move to HDD platter and symlinked the lutris directory to ~/_data/_lutris_share/
/home/[username]/.local/share/lutris/

# Move to HDD platter and symlinked the Steam directory to ~/_data/_steam_local_share/
/home/[username]/.local/share/Steam/

# Symlink to m.2 drive
/home/[username]/_games/

# Symlink to HDD platter
/home/[username]/_data/
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I’m not sure I get this. Why can’t there be any clashes between configuration files if they’re located in a games partition as opposed to if they were in a home directory?

No, not the config files. This section came after the scenario when you only want to share your games between different distributions.

What I was saying about the home directory and different distributions was that when you just couple your single home directory to all distributions then all config files are shared too.

That’s the first question you need to answer for yourself:

Is your goal to just share the games / lutris data / steam data?

Or

Do you need to share the complete home directory?

If the second is the case, then you need to know that different distributions use different versions of programs. What happens when a program version 1.0 saves a config file to ~/.config/program/config.json and in another distribution the same program but then version 1.2 does the same and this program uses different settings which version 1.0 doesn’t know about?

Another thing to keep in mind is permissions. On every system a user gets a unique ID. Who will own the home directory? The stackoverflow post addresses this issue too.

TL;DR: its much easier to let every distribution have its own home directory and pick the items you want to share. You keep the systems as they were designed for and you have control over the shared parts.

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Huh, yeah okay, that makes sense. I was planning to make one home directory for all the distros. That sounded easier, but I guess it comes with some challenges. It’s not as easy as sharing a Steam library, it seems.

No but you can come a long way by beginning with a good plan. When I read your feedback then I think you just want to share the games and not everything else? Then a set-up can be rather quickly be drawn out.

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Well, the plan is to have the different distros installed so I can easily switch between them and use either for daily routine on my desktop. Most of my daily routine on that specific setup is gaming, so that’s why Lutris and Steam is top priority. But it would be nice to have as much shared between them as possible.

OK. Do you have a plan for the installation of the different distributions? Partition set-up?

This is a nice article for multi distribution install:

Note the bios boot partition for Fedora is not needed in my opinion.

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That is the exact article that convinced me it was doable in the first place :slight_smile: I’m just not doing a Windows-partition. At least not initially.

You shouldn’t do a Windows partition. That’s just an example. I always advice against using Windows partitions. Unless you want to run a Windows installation. Many problems occur because a NTFS partition is used.

Anyhow, you know of this article so you have a basic idea how to do step one. Step two would be creating a partition (or use a separate drive) for games and mounting it to your home directory. A thing to think about here is making sure the user accounts on the different installations are the same or setting read/write rights for everyone. But that sets the partition open for everyone. Not really a problem when you are the only one using the system.

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If I end up installing Windows down the line, I will be doing it on a completely separate drive. But I thought no I’ll keep it on an old laptop, really.

Thanks for pointing out the thing about user accounts. That’s something I would probably not have have remembered :slight_smile:

Lutris have Lutris runtime. I think: if game use Lutris runtime libs only, there chance to ran in many distros, but you should have the same version of Lutris runtime on each distro. I do the same with my game repo, but use flatpak. My game repo is a web site + app running under linux a web browser. I select one extra installation dir for flatpak installed on each distribution and install repo access app there. I now have same libraries on each system, because usage of flatpak and the same version of my repo access app.

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Can use flatpack but can also just have Lutris git as well on the drive with the games (or could do both). Since there’s no building of Lutris its the one thing that doesn’t make as much sense vs flatpack.

The only real difference with flatpack is that will have all the libraries of its own vs the distro provided ones. That can cut both ways at times.

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