Unity editor is heading to linux

From unity website:



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Hello lovely people!
Last week at Unite Europe, the Unity roadmap was made public, and it included a highly-voted feature on our feedback site: a Linux port of the Unity editor. This past weekend I wrote a post on my personal blog about my own thoughts about our experience porting the Unity editor to Linux. It turned out to be a pretty popular post, and it was amazing to see so many positive comments and reaction from our community, so we thought it would be nice to do something a bit more ‘official’ on the company blog and explain what you’ll be able to expect from our Linux port.
Unity was originally written for Mac OS X, and the Windows port came along in 2009 with the release of Unity 2.5. Porting Unity from Mac to Windows was already a lot of work, and as you can imagine, Unity has grown considerably in size and complexity since 2009. So porting to a third platform has been a lot of (very fun) work and taken a lot of time.
There are some of us who have been working on the Linux port of the editor since the beginning (which started in 2011 at an early ‘Ninja Camp’, according to our version control history), but several different people at Unity have helped work on one aspect or another along the way (lately it has been Levi spending the most time on the project, with myself and others, helping whenever/however possible, so buy him a beer if you see him). Like I mentioned in my personal blog post, a lot of focus during this time has been on dealing with case-sensitivity issues (NTFS is case-insensitive, as is HFS+ by default; Unity doesn’t work on a case-sensitive system — sorry about that!) and native window management / input handling. But we’re getting there!
What We Expect it Will Do

  • Run on 64-bit Linux (just like with our player, the ‘official’ support will be for Ubuntu due to its market share, and just like with our player, it should run on most modern Linux distributions); the earliest version of Ubuntu supported will be 12.04 (which is what our build/test farm is running).
  • Export to all of the same platforms as the Mac OS X editor (except for iOS; maybe someday we’ll enable exporting to iOS the same way we do from the Windows editor, but not initially)
  • Import all asset types not dependent on non-portable 3rd-party middleware
  • Support global illumination, occlusion culling, and all other systems reliant on portable 3rd-party middleware


  • It will require modern, vendor-provided graphics drivers
  • Some of the model importers that rely on external applications (i.e, 3ds Max and SketchUp) won’t work; the workaround is to export to FBX instead

The Plan Right Now: An Experimental Build

The Linux port of Unity currently lives in an internally ‘forked’ repo. Our plan is currently to prepare an early experimental build for you from this fork (that is kept more or less in sync with Unity’s mainline development branch) that you will be able to try out. Based on how that experiment goes, we’ll figure out if it’s something we can sustain as an official port alongside our Mac and Windows editors (the Linux runtime support was also released as a preview initially, due to concerns about support and the fragmentation of Linux distributions, and the support burden turned out to be very low, despite a very significant percentage of Linux games on Steam being made with Unity, so I’m hopeful; we’ll have to see how it goes).
It’s been a really long time and I couldn’t be more excited. Levi, myself, and all of the other people who have helped with the Linux port over the years (the list is pretty long!) can’t wait to get it into your hands.
P.S. Here are some more teaser screenshots:

P.P.S – We’re really interested in hearing how you will use the Linux Editor — what platforms you will be exporting to, whether you’re interested specifically in doing regular development on Linux or mostly interested in automated build pipelines, etc.
Much love from Unity,
Na’Tosha (@natosha_bard)

cool. They are a little late on the party. Godot got a lot of their linux users already. :yes:

I think that Godot will probably loose quite a few of their Linux users now because of this :stuck_out_tongue:

Godot’s community is not yet as big as people think it is (it’s growing, but it’s still kind of small at present).

Also, there’s a number of people who use Godot simply because it does not try to do things the Unity way (which they describe as putting together various black-boxed systems, also known as components, that can be a pain to expand). Godot also makes use of what is known as a scene tree instead of a system of prefabs (which allows unlimited nesting and cross-referencing, which I recall the former being something Unity users have been requesting for years). Unity though is still well regarded as superior in the area of 3D and usability (and Godot version 1.2 is intended to resolve the latter).

I don’t think Godot is not in danger of disappearing as it’s different enough from Unity to make it partly a matter of taste, and I’m not sure how far Unity can go yet with that extremely proud and boastful CEO of theirs (he’s even trashed Epic and UE4 on at least one occasion).

Unity doesn’t have a Linux editor because they believe it will not pay off. That’s the only reason why it doesn’t exist yet. The editor was or is being ported by some developers during working hours where they can work on whatever they want. I don’t think it will make a big difference. However, I will luckily switch back to Linux :slight_smile:

the advatage of unity over godot is the asset store, which among other things includes a number of different visual programming systems.

And then there’s the idea believed by some users that Unity Tech. chooses not to develop features for the engine to have out of the box because it would hurt the revenue flow of some vendors.

Though I’m not sure how much of that rumor is true nowadays, as they are slowly making the base package feel more complete (even though you still may have to spend hundreds for addons, which carry the risk of that vendor choosing to no longer support it after so many versions). The big budget Unity games you see on consoles and places like Steam, many of them either made extensive use of asset store plugins or made their own.

Also, reading through the blog, it seems clear to me that Unity will lose more advantages if such common requests as nested prefabs keep getting deferred to some unknown future. The Godot team for instance has decided on a longer release cycle for version 1.2 so as to handle the growing amount of feedback and requests.

And believe it or not, some people in the Godot community don’t want to see their new favorite copy what Unity does (including the idea of an asset store ecosystem). Rather, they would like to see Godot go a route which they say will make it better than Unity.

Little moderation note folks… let’s avoid versus discussions and comparisonitis, please.

Nice move from the Unity devs. If this would have happened about 2 years ago I would be a unity user right now, tried it long ago and liked it. But thanks to godot I have a great open source alternative which I won’t abandon for the next years ^^

But still great to see more big companies moving to linux! Maybe Adobe will realize this at some point and port photoshop to linux… Probably not going to happen… ^^

One of the biggest missing parts for Godot is a visual scripting solution… I just want to mess with all the programing code… It’s much simpler to make a game using something like Blueprints from UE4.