When Windows Vista first came out, it was plagued by problems, including performance issues and compatibility woes (most of which were resolved with the first Service Pack). At the time, there were some who predicted that Linux
would supplant Windows as the mainstream OS. That didn't happen, of course, partly because SP1 solved most of Vista's issues, and also because user friendly versions of Linux weren't quite ready to hold Aunt Mabel by the hand. Plus, it wasn't the platform of choice for gamers.
Are we on the verge of a revolution now? Probably not, but Linux has definitely improved in every area since those days. What's more, gaming support and performance is fast becoming center stage, especially with Valve making such a hard push with its SteamOS
platform and Steam Machines
If you're rooting for Linux, there are encouraging signs. The folks at Phoronix
compared gaming performance on Ubuntu
13.04 64-bit and compared it to Windows 8.1
64-bit. The test system consisted of an Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell processor, ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme motherboard, 16GB of RAM, and a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD. They tested a variety of video cards ranging from an NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT all the way up to an AMD Radeon R9 270X.
What they found through a battery of tests is that gaming performance on Ubuntu is somewhat comparable with Windows 8.1, generally speaking. Windows 8.1 came out ahead more often than Ubuntu, and sometimes by a large margin, but Ubuntu managed to steal a few wins, too. Across the board, many of the graphs were neck-and-neck.
The takeaway here is that even though Windows 8.1 is still a superior gaming platform, Ubuntu shows it can hold its own. If developers start optimizing for Linux, it could be a whole new ball game out there.