Guide to Install Moonlight on Linux

How To Install Moonlight On Linux

Modern games are fun, immersive, and entertaining but require powerful hardware. You can’t always have powerful hardware everywhere. And that’s where applications like Moonlight can help.

Moonlight Game Streaming allows you to run graphic-intensive games from a powerful host system on lower-powered client devices, like laptops and mobiles. Available for various platforms including Linux, it utilizes NVIDIA’s GameStream technology and offers features such as 4K HDR support, low-latency modes, and customizable streaming settings. This guide walks you through the prerequisites and methods for installing Moonlight on Linux.

Key Features of Moonlight

  • Moonlight streams your games in high quality. It has HDR 4K support which was added in 2022.
  • A connection to your host and client systems. It can be the LAN or in the same network.
  • It supports a wide range of platforms including Android, Raspberry Pi, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and many more.
  • For a smooth gaming experience, there’s support for 120fps gaming as well. It supports hardware acceleration which reduces the load on your host machine.
  • You can customise the streaming quality characteristics like frame rate, resolution, rendering technology, bit rate, etc.
  • For low latency, it has a dedicated Low latency mode. The mode reduces latency for snappy input and output. You can also turn off Vsync for low latency.
  • It supports multiplayer gaming for some games as well. You can play with your friends from a single host.

Prerequisites for Installing Moonlight on Linux

Some of the prerequisites before installing Moonlight on Linux are:-

  • Moonlight uses NVIDIA’s GameStream technology for streaming. It only works on NVIDIA graphics cards. So make sure the host computer has an NVIDIA GPU.
  • Update your NVIDIA graphic drivers to the latest. You can download it from your package manager’s repositories. But we recommend downloading it from the official NVIDIA site.
  • The minimum GPU requirements for the host system are NVIDIA GeForce GTX/RTX 600+ series GPU, or NVIDIA Quadro GPU (Kepler series or later)
  • If the host PC has a Geforce GPU, it should have NVIDIA GeForce Experience (GFE) 2.1.1 or higher installed. And similarly, if the system has Quadro GPU then the system should have NVIDIA Quadro Experience.
  • Check if Moonlight supports your Linux distro. 
  • Update your package manager’s repositories and system as well.
  • A fast and stable optic fibre internet (20 Mbps or higher upload speed recommended). Streaming needs fast internet with low latency.

Step-by-Step Guide to Install Moonlight on Linux

There are various ways to install Moonlight on Linux. You can install Moonlight through snap or flatpak package manager, or AppImage file. The steps to do so are listed below.

Installing Moonlight on Linux via its AppImage file

The AppImage is available on the official GitHub of Moonlight. The steps to download and install Moonlight are:-

  • Download the AppImage file from the official GitHub page of Moonlight.
  • Open the terminal in the directory where AppImage is downloaded.
  • Then make the AppImage executable by the following command:-
chmod u+x <AppImage File>
Moonlight Executable AppImage
  • Then you can run the Moonlight application.

While this method works, using package managers like snap or flatpak is often recommended for easier management

Installing Moonlight via snap 

The Moonlight package is available on the snap package manager’s repository. If snap is installed in your system then you can use the following command to install Moonlight on your system:-

sudo snap install moonlight
Moonlight Snap Installation

Installing Moonlight via flatpak

The Moonlight package is available on the flatpak package manager’s repository. If flatpak is installed in your system then you can use the following command to install Moonlight on your system:-

flatpak install flathub com.moonlight_stream.Moonlight

To run Moonlight use the following command:-

flatpak run com.moonlight_stream.Moonlight

How to Configure and Run Moonlight on Linux

After you’ve installed Moonlight, open the application and allow Moonlight to scan your network.

Moonlight Search For Host

The scan will show the available Windows host you can connect to. The window would be similar to as shown below:-

Moonlight Available Host PCs

You can also connect via the host IP address.

Moonlight Host By IP

There are a number of settings you can configure like the resolution, frame rate, display mode, input, audio, gamepad and host settings. You can also change how the UI looks.

Moonlight Settings

After configuring settings based on your preferences and hardware capabilities, connect to the host to start gaming. Then you can enjoy your favorite games.

Conclusion

With Moonlight, you can enjoy high-end gaming on any device, regardless of its native capabilities. It is a third-party client for Nvidia Shield streaming. It is free and open source. A large community of developers is constantly adding and improving the functionality of Moonlight. 

Before installing Moonlight, we highly recommend checking out the prerequisite section. You should have a host to connect to. Moonlight will work on Windows and have an NVIDIA GPU along with the latest Geforce Experience. Then you can move to the installation section.

The installation process is easy when you use the snap or flatpak package manager. After installation, you can connect to the host computer and play your favorite games. Have you ever considered what Moonlight’s capabilities could mean for the future of remote gaming?