GameMode on Linux Improve Gaming Performance for Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch

GameMode on Linux Improve Gaming Performance for Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch

GameMode for Linux is a daemon/lib combo that allows games to request a set of optimization temporarily apply to the host OS.

The design has a clear-cut abstraction between the host daemon and library (gamemoded and libgamemode), and the client loaders (libgamemodeauto and gamemode_client.h) that allows for safe use without worrying about whether the daemon is installed or running. This design also means that while the host library currently relies on systemd for exchanging messages with the daemon, it’s entirely possible to implement other internals that still work with the same clients.

GameMode is primarily as a stop-gap solution to problems with the Intel and AMD CPU powersave or ondemand governors. But now able to launch custom user plugins, and intending to be expanded further, as there are a wealth of automation tasks one might want to apply.

Building and installing

If your distribution already has GameMode packaged, it is preferable to install it directly from there. There are Solus and AUR packages already available.

GameMode depends on meson for building and systemd for internal communication. This repo contains a script to allow for quick install to the user bus, but check meson_options.txt for custom settings.


apt install meson libsystemd-dev pkg-config ninja-build git


pacman -S meson systemd git


dnf install meson systemd-devel pkg-config git
wget && tar -xvf 1.0.tar.gz
cd gamemode-1.0

Requesting GameMode


After installing simply preload it into the game:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/\$LIB/ ./game

Or edit the steam launch options:

LD_PRELOAD=$LD_PRELOAD:/usr/\$LIB/ %command%



Developers can build the request directly into an app. Note that none of these client methods force your users to have the daemon installed or running – they will safely no-op if the host is missing.

// Manually with error checking
#include "gamemode_client.h"

    if( gamemode_request_start() < 0 ) {
        fprintf( stderr, "gamemode request failed: %s\n", gamemode_error_string() );

    /* run game... */

    gamemode_request_end(); // Not required, gamemoded can clean up after game exits

// Automatically on program start and finish
#include "gamemode_client.h"

Or, distribute and either add -lgamemodeauto to your linker arguments, or add it to an LD_PRELOAD in a launch script.


gamemoded runs in the background, activates game mode on request, refcounts and also checks caller PID lifetime. Accepts -d (daemonize) and -l (log to syslog).

libgamemode uses an internal library to dispatch requests to the daemon. Note: libgamemode should never be linked with directly.

libgamemodeauto is a simple dynamic library that automatically requests game mode when loaded. Useful to LD_PRELOAD into any game as needed.

gamemode_client.h is as single header lib that lets a game request game mode and handle errors.


The daemon can currently be configured using a gamemode.ini file in /usr/share/gamemode/. gamemode.ini is an example of what this file would look like, with explanations for all the variables.

The file parsing uses inih.


Pull Requests

Pull requests must match with the coding style found in the .clang-format file, please run this before commiting:

clang-format -i $(find . -name '*.[ch]')

Planned Features

  • Additional mode-switch plugins
  • Improved client state tracking (PID is unreliable)
  • API to query if game mode is active

Source: GameMode

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