Current VR Adventures in Qubes

A lot has changed since I first played VR in Qubes OS. All of it for the better.

My current VR setup is a surprisingly seamless and out-of-the-box experience: Install Qubes, Windows, GPU drivers and games the normal way. That's it.

No driver patching, no TOLUD workaround,

What changed?

Qubes fixed the TOLUD problem and I sold my AMD GPU to get an Nvidia.

I was fed up with AMD's buggy drivers in my VMs and a bit after my first post in 2021, Nvidia finally dropped their artificial restriction on GPU passthrough from their Windows drivers. And their Linux drivers too even though I can't find anybody mentioning it…

Virtualized Windows now has the same installation experience as bare-metal Windows: Download and run Nvidia's driver installer. Done.

I love the Windows template VM setup scripts, it's an amazing way to run Windows. Even if I do screw up the template VM beyond reverting I can just install a new one and keep all data, downloaded games and installed software from my Windows App-VMs.

Linux is a bit more annoying because I'm having trouble with getting the Nvidia driver to install on Fedora, the default Linux distro for Qubes VMs. It just works in Debian but the drivers are ancient. So for my GPU Linux VMs I use Arch btw., built in Qubes builder. Once it's up and running, it works great.

What stayed the same?

My VR VM still has a USB controller passed through. USB Ethernet still helps a lot with wireless VR performance, USB audio fixes missing Qubes audio support on Windows, and game controllers feel like they have less latency than with USB passthrough.

What happened to your HTC Vive?

Wait, how did you know?!

I stopped using my HTC Vive and replaced it with a Meta Quest 2 with Steam Link streaming. I just couldn't stand the low resolution anymore! I kept getting sniped in Population: One by players that took up less than a pixel. Now I'm finally getting sniped by players taking up four pixels.

I did keep everything but the headset though. I hate Meta's controllers and wanted to keep using my Index controllers.

OpenVR Space Calibrator makes it work! I put an HTC Vive Tracker on my Quest 2 and run continuous calibration. Starting up is a bit finicky because when starting the Steam Link app, the Quest controllers and hand tracking need to be turned off. So I use the old school gaze pointer with volume up as the confirm button. SteamVR starts up automatically, I turn on both controllers and the tracker, and continuous calibration syncs their positions to my Quest's playspace.

What are your closing thoughts?

I'm happy virtualized VR gaming works better than ever before for me. 5/7, can recommend, would futz with this for hours and days on end again.