How to install the Unity editor on Linux

The popular Unity editor is now available for Linux. Get it up and running so you can start developing on your favorite platform.

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Jack Wallen

The Unity editor is a creative hub where developers, designers, and artists work together. This development tool aids in rapid project deployment. For the longest time, the Unity editor was only available for macOS and Windows. However, recently it was released for Linux. For those who develop on Linux, this was a real boon. The one caveat is that the Unity editor was released as a closed-source solution (so FOSS purists need not apply).

If you're okay with using closed-source tools on the open source platform, you'll be thrilled that Unity editor was released for Linux. I'll show you how to get it up and running. I'll demonstrate on Ubuntu Desktop 19.04, but the process should work on nearly any distribution.

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Getting Unity editor

The first thing to do is download the Unity Editor AppImage (yes, it was released as such). To do that, point your browser to the Unity editor download page, and the file will automatically download. Save that file to your ~/Downloads directory.

Installing Unity editor

The next step is to give the downloaded file executable permissions. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Change into the proper directory with the command cd ~/Downloads.
  3. Alter the permissions with the command chmod u+x UnityHubSetup.AppImage.

You're now ready to install. Issue the command:

./UnityHubSetup.AppImage

Agree to the license, and then click Yes to integrate Unity editor with your system (which will add it to your app menu and install the necessary icons).

And that's it. You should then be greeted by the activation window (Figure A).

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Figure A: The Unity Editor activation window.

Activating Unity

Now comes the bulk of the installation--the activation. Click MANUAL ACTIVATION. In the resulting window (Figure B), click the SAVE LICENSE REQUEST button.

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Figure B: Activating Unity Editor.

You'll be prompted to save an .alf file. Save that file to your Downloads folder. 

  1. Next click the license.unity3d.com/manual button, which will open your web browser to a file upload page, and then automatically redirect you to a Unity ID sign-in page. 
  2. If you don't have an account, click create one and fill out the necessary information. 
  3. After creating an account, you'll be required to verify it, via email. 
  4. Once you've confirm your email address, go back to the Unity log-in page and log in with your new credentials.
  5. After you' log in, click the Browse button (Figure C) and upload the .alf file saved to the ~/Downloads directory.
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Figure C: The uploaded Unity license.

  1. Click Next and then you'll be prompted to choose between Unity Plus or Pro or Unity Personal Edition. 
  2. Select your option and then, when prompted, select your organization type (based on business size). 
  3. Once you do that, you will be prompted to (yet again) download another license file. 
  4. After the file downloads, go back to Unity editor, click Next, and then click the three dots associated with License File (Figure D) to load the newly downloaded license.
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Figure D: The license file upload window.

  1. After you locate your downloaded license file, click CONFIRM and the activation is finally complete. 
  2. Click the back button to return to the Unity Editor Projects page, where you can begin creating your first project (Figure E).
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Figure E: The Unity Hub Projects page.

Finally, make sure to click the profile icon in the top right corner of the Unity window, click Sign in from the dropdown, and sign in with your Unity account credentials. Once you log in, your initials will appear where the generic profile image was.

Ready to rock

And that's all there is to getting the Unity editor up and running on Linux. You are now ready to start rocking out your first project, like the boss developer you are.

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