Minecraft is the biggest game in the world with a huge fan base. It's available on almost every platform, from cell phones to desktops.

This means that you can run the full version of Minecraft on Linux using a special installer that is appropriate for your distribution. If this is not appropriate, you can still install the Java Edition on computers with lower specifications.

Would you like to take Steve on new adventures on your Linux PC? Here's how to install Minecraft on Linux.

Minecraft for Linux: JavaScript or Dedicated Installer?

Minecraft was previously only sold as JavaScript software. This made publishing on multiple platforms easier – hence, you'd find it on Windows, macOS, Linux.

However, Java has a bad rap when it comes to security. It was once declared as the most vulnerable software on Windows computers, vulnerabilities also under Linux or MacOS.

Therefore, installing Java on your Linux computer will make it less secure. Minecraft was recreated by Mojang (after being purchased by Microsoft) not a security issue. There are now dedicated versions for each platform.

Linux users can find a version for Debian distributions. However, it remains a Java edition that you can install on lower spec PCs.

Steps on how to install Minecraft on each are provided below.

However, first make sure that you actually bought Minecraft before proceeding.

How to download Minecraft for Linux

Once upon a time, Minecraft was free. That is no longer the case. As of 2020, it is the best-selling video game of all time, with 200 million copies sold across all platforms. It has 126 million monthly active users.

To play Minecraft you need the right version. There are three main Minecraft downloads available for Linux. These contain the game software and JDK (Java Development Kit) to simplify installation.

  • Debian and Debian-based distributions: a DEB installation file

  • Other distributions: This is an unzip and compile tar file

  • Java Edition; Visit the Minecraft Java Edition page to download it

First steps: Install graphics drivers

Whichever version you install, you will need the correct graphics drivers. After all, Minecraft uses 3D graphics.

Most Linux distributions install open source graphics drivers. In most cases, however, proprietary alternatives (drivers created by the graphics card's developers) are available. Which drivers you need depends on your GPU:

  • Intel Graphics: You already have the best driver installed.

  • Nvidia Graphics: Switch from the open source driver to the proprietary version.

  • AMD Graphics: Again, you have to overlook the open source driver in favor of the proprietary option.

Open to change the driver in Ubuntu (and similar) Linux operating systems Software & updates, choose Additional drivers Click the tab and select the proprietary option. click Apply changes when you are done and wait. Once you are done, you need to click Start anew to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Usually the proprietary driver isn't selected by default, but you can switch to it here. For more information, see our guide to installing proprietary drivers on Linux.

Installing Minecraft on Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and similar distributions is straightforward.

Just download the DEB file and double click on it to prompt the installation software to run.

Alternatively, you can download it with wget and install it in the terminal with dpkg:

wget -o ~ / Minecraft.deb https://launcher.mojang.com/download/Minecraft.deb
sudo dpkg -i Minecraft.deb

You can start the game from your usual application menu.

Install Minecraft Java Edition

To install the Java Edition, you need to select a suitable Java runtime. This is a software platform that the Minecraft software runs on.

There are two options available

  1. Open source OpenJDK, available through your distribution's software center, ideal for keeping things as open as possible

  2. Official Oracle Java Runtime: Ensures Minecraft runs optimally, is available in RPM format on the Oracle website, and can be easily installed using your package manager

You can also install this with a PPA. Open your terminal emulator and add:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa: webupd8team / java

Wait for this to be installed and then update your system.

sudo apt update

Finally, install Java.

sudo apt install oracle-java8-installer

If you need more detailed instructions, Oracle provides instructions on installing Java on other Linux operating systems.

After installing JavaScript you will find the Minecraft.jar File and right click. Choose Open with> Java Runtime and wait while the game launches and checks for updates.

Would you like to play Minecraft Free on Linux?

Long-term Minecrafters will know that the game was originally free. Things have changed a lot in the last few years, but you can still play Minecraft for free.

There are several options available:

  1. Install the Minecraft Pi Edition. This requires a Raspberry Pi computer running the Raspberry Pi operating system. If Minecraft Pi is not pre-installed, it can be installed from this Minecraft download page.

  2. Learn how to code with Code.org's Minecraft Hour of Code while playing Minecraft. For more information, check out our guide to the Minecraft Hour of Code.

  3. Fancy the days of Minecraft for free, the original blocky goodness? Tour the halcyon days of Steve and the Creepers (big band name) by playing Minecraft Classic in your browser.

Who said you can't play Minecraft for free anymore?

Now you've installed Minecraft on Linux. Time to play

The Linux version of Minecraft is based on JavaScript elements and is the main desktop version. This is a great way to host your own Minecraft server. Over time, the Java version of Minecraft will fade, forcing Linux users to use the DEB version. There is also an Arch version, but it is not yet considered stable enough to be used reliably.

On a high-spec system under Linux, Minecraft is indistinguishable from the Windows or console versions. It's the exact same game, the Bedrock version, and is compatible with all subsequent updates. Minecraft is an important element of Linux gaming, a phenomenon where the open source operating system has grown significantly over the past decade.

After you've installed Minecraft on Linux, it's time to start building. Who knows what you're going to do with Minecraft next?

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About the author

Christian Cawley
(1410 articles published)

Deputy Editor for Security, Linux, DIY, Programming and Technology explains. He also produces The Really Useful Podcast and has extensive desktop and software support experience.

Christian is an employee of Linux Format Magazine and a Raspberry Pi hobbyist, Lego lover and retro gaming fan.

More from Christian Cawley

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