Hands-On With Drauger OS


There’s something that caught my eye with Drauger OS as I was browsing my Reddit feed one day. It was an article from It’s FOSS, describing what the OS is all about.

Going to the distro’s site, the About page explains:

Drauger OS is a Linux desktop gaming operating system. It aims to provide a platform for gamers to use where they can get great performance without sacrificing their security. Furthermore, it aims to make it easy for anyone to game, whether they use a keyboard and mouse, or some sort of controller.

After asking Thomas Castleman – the lead developer behind Drauger OS – for more information on how the balance between performance and security is achieved, he told me:

We have a policy: don’t sacrifice performance for security, or vice versa. Whenever we write code we follow this methodology. We try to balance our code to be equally secure and fast for the parts of the OS we don’t write in-house. So, for instance, Mesa, Vulkan, the kernel, etc, we try to provide the most up-to-date versions possible. This is because more recent versions should be more secure due to newer security patches, but also faster due to performance improvements.

Using Ubuntu as the backbone, Drauger OS has been in development for about two years and is essentially a distribution designed with gamers in mind, giving gamers what they need to start gaming out of the box whilst providing little to nothing else in terms of pre-installed software. In order to shave off some hardware usage, it ships with XFCE as the desktop environment; some panels have been moved around to give the user a GNOME-like experience, and as of right now this is the only edition that Drauger OS comes with.

Per my chat with Thomas on his Discord channel, the name was inspired by one of the enemies encountered in Skyrim – Wikipedia terms it as “an undead creature in Norse mythology.” Funnily enough, the spelling of “Drauger” is unintentional, but he doesn’t plan on spelling it back to “Draugr” as it would require too much work within the codebase.

After having tinkered around with Salient OS for a while, I decided to dual-boot with Drauger OS and give it a whirl.

Couple of things I’d like to make clear before I go ahead with the review. First, I’m reviewing a beta release: 7.5.1 Beta 2, which came out last weekend. Bugs are plentiful. Second, even though I volunteered to be one of the contributors to Drauger OS – by means of my testing and bug reporting, as well as writing a few occasional posts for the site – this review will remain unbiased. I will still jot down both its good points and bad.

Live System & Installation

One thing that I found particularly noteworthy, is that, like a lot of the tools built into Drauger OS, the system installer is coded from scratch in Python. Source code to the apps Thomas has made for Drauger OS can be found on Github, and, oddly enough, source code to the OS itself is available as a compressed archive on the website.

When the OS is flashed, upon starting up the installation media, the live environment has to be used before installing. This is what the desktop will look like:


Although, sometimes you may get one of XFCE’s default wallpapers:


There’s three panels: one across the top for system icons and the like; a side bar for commonly used applications such as Steam, Lutris, Gamehub, and the Ubuntu Snap Store; and one on the bottom that switches between workspaces. The latter two panels are semi-transparent when the mouse cursor isn’t hovered over them.

Two windows will pop-up shortly after startup: a welcome window and a prompt to install Steam. The Welcome screen will allow the user to browse the Drauger OS website with the default installed web browser: Firefox. Users can also install NVIDIA drivers, view the README file, assign keyboard shortcuts, among other choices. There’s also a tutorial that I found pretty neat – it gives the user an introduction to how the desktop works.


The other pop-up window will prompt you to start/update Steam. This is pretty useless right now, as clicking “Start Steam” doesn’t do anything, whether in the live or installed environment.


Drauger OS comes with a handful of custom wallpapers: