Minecraft works fine on Linux, but it probably isn’t available for easy installation in your Linux distribution’s package manager. Here’s how to get your Linux system ready for Minecraft.
We used Ubuntu 20.04.4 for this process, and that’s where our concrete examples come from. But the process will be almost the same on any Linux distribution.
Installing proprietary graphics drivers
Minecraft is a 3D application, so it benefits from having good 3D drivers installed. If you have Intel graphics, you’re good to go – Intel graphics aren’t as powerful as NVIDIA or AMD graphics, but they work well with the standard open-source graphics drivers provided by your Linux distribution.
If you have NVIDIA or AMD graphics, you probably need to install the closed-source NVIDIA or AMD graphics drivers. On Ubuntu, you can open the Dash to search for programs (just tap the “Super” key – it’s the key with a Windows logo on it on most keyboards). Type “Drivers” to search for the appropriate control panel and click the “Additional Drivers” shortcut. In the Software & Updates window that appears, select the NVIDIA or AMD binary driver if it is not already selected and install it.
If you have another Linux distribution, do a web search to find out the easiest way to install the NVIDIA or AMD binary drivers. You can run Minecraft with the standard open-source drivers, but the proprietary drivers will improve Minecraft’s performance.
Choose and install a Java Runtime
Most Linux distributions don’t come with Java, so you’ll need to install it. You have two choices here. There is an open source version of Java, known as OpenJDK, which is available for easy installation in most Linux distribution software sources. There is also Oracle’s own Java runtime. The OpenJDK and Oracle Java runtimes are nearly identical, but the Oracle Java runtime contains some closed source code that could improve graphics performance.
Many people report success with OpenJDK and Minecraft on Linux – it worked for us – but the Minecraft project still recommends using Oracle’s Java runtime. OpenJDK and the official Oracle Java runtime are getting closer and closer, but you might still want the Oracle runtime for now.
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If you want to try the OpenJDK runtime, this package must be in your Linux distribution’s software repositories. You can just open your desktop software management tool and install it. On Ubuntu, click the shopping bag icon on the dock to open the Ubuntu Software Center and search for “OpenJDK”. Install the latest version of the OpenJDK runtime. The process is the same on other Linux distributions: open the software management tool, search for OpenJDK and install the latest runtime.
If you want Java runtime from Oracle, you can download it from Java.com. But you probably don’t want that.
In the past, Oracle provided easy-to-install Java packages for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, but they’ve mostly stopped doing this in favor of promoting OpenJDK. You probably want to use Oracle Java packages provided by other Linux users to make installation easier. For Ubuntu users, there is a PPA with a Java installation package that downloads the Java files from Oracle and installs them correctly.
To use the PPA, open a terminal (click the Dash icon, search for Terminal and click the Terminal shortcut) and run the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:linuxuprising/java -y
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java17-installer oracle-java17-set-default
Agree to the directions and accept Oracle’s Java License Agreement when prompted.
Tip: Use the Tab key to select “Ok” in the terminal and then press Enter. Use the arrow keys to toggle between “Yes” and “No” if necessary.
Download and run Minecraft on Ubuntu or Debian
Then download Minecraft. Visit the official Minecraft download page and click on the link titled “Debian or Debian-based distributions” if you are using Ubuntu or any other Debian-based distribution.
Double-click the DEB file you downloaded to install the Minecraft launcher.
Start the launcher like any other program on your system. Minecraft Launcher will download and install some game items at this time, so please wait. Once this is done, you will be prompted to sign in with a Microsoft or Mojang account.
Note: Microsoft forces older Mojang accounts to migrate to Microsoft accounts. As of March 2022, the Mojang account option was still there, but it will likely be removed soon.
If you own the game, click the “Play” button and the launcher will handle everything else, automatically download and launch the Minecraft game files. The launcher will also take care of updating Minecraft. Otherwise, you can try the demo.
If you play Minecraft on another platform, say on Windows, you can move your Minecraft saves to your Linux system.