Is the Windows or MAC version preferred to a Linux one?

With the latest release and the messaging about the vast improvement in experience for MAC and Windows users of Roon, I am wondering if with these changes there is any preference (from a Roon performance standpoint) to running Roon Server on a Windows/MAC machine versus running the Roon OS linux based install…

Linux is better for servers and Roon Server is a server. In fact, Linux was also Roon Labs’ choice for ROCK OS.
Maybe Windows and MAC could compete with Linux, but only the server editions, not those for home users. I suspect that most Roon users have the home user edition, not the server edition.


That’s a rather sweeping statement, @DanielAvasilichioaei, and not one that I would agree with. :slightly_smiling_face:

Roon Labs actually state in their article on system requirements for setups with very large libraries:

Your best bet will be to get a beefy Roon OS setup with a fast new CPU and plenty of RAM, but a very high-spec system running Linux, Windows, or macOS can work just as well.

Personally, I take the view that since Roon OS is only officially supported on Intel NUC hardware, which has low-power CPUs, then for large libraries, I would be looking at high-spec desktop configurations. Whether they would be running Windows, MacOS or Linux is down to personal preference.


The question in the initial post refers to performance, not “can work just as well”. Yes, Roon Server works on all three OSes, but good performance is more than that.


Hi Geoff, any thoughts on the future of Roon’s support of NUCs for RoonOS now that Intel abandoned the business?

My thoughts are not relevant, because I am not connected with Roon Labs. Danny’s statements are what you should be aware of…


Saying that Roon is a “server’” is quite a stretch, considering that it probably serves one client (room) most of the time, and single digits at most. Compare that to hundreds or thousands of clients for enterprise servers and millions for web servers.

Regardless, Bing’s bot says:

According to a report by T4, Microsoft Server was the market leader with a 48% share of the total server Operating System shipments while 34% of the shipments were for Red Hat’s Linux based Server OS (Server Operating System Market Share | T4). Red Hat is far and away the leading Linux distribution within the Linux Server OS market (Server Operating System Market Share | T4).

Yahoo gives these numbers for 2018-2019 (before Covid):

In 2019, the Windows operating system was used on 72.1 percent of servers worldwide, whilst the Linux operating system accounted for 13.6 percent of servers. Compared to 2018, both companies experienced an increase to their overall market share.

Google’s first link (Server Operating System Market Volume, Share | Analysis, 2032) shows this:

While results are not consistent, there’s no consensus that Linux has a larger server share. But if you don’t like Windows, I guess you should run Roon on Red Hat :wink:

As @Geoff_Coupe noted, with Roon 2.0 and its updated architecture, all four options (RoonOS, Linux, Windows, and Mac) are equally effective in running Roon. It is up to the individual user to choose the envrironment that works best for them.

For me Linux hosting my Roon Server works very well. Granted my library isn’t overly large with just over 38k tracks. But my 2014 Mac mini runs the system effortlessly serving 2 to 3 endpoints at any given time and while at work it supplies me with music through Roon ARC.

I reboot the system once a week after Linux updates and clean up the RAM but otherwise I don’t have to worry about it.

In my ridiculous years of experience:
ROCK > Linux (any flavor) > macOS > Windows

However, in my not so ridiculous years of experience, use whatever your comfortable with. Futzing with Linux just to run Roon is mostly silly. You’ll spend more time on the community than listening and that’s not the reason you’re here (or, probably not, some of us are weird).

Run it on what you want, any of the OS’s work great and there is no SQ difference between them. So, use the OS you are most familiar with.

The one thing that will, imho, make a difference is dedicating a PC to run RoonServer and not using it for anything else.

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What would that difference be? Not SQ I assume.

  1. Well, I’d cross off macOS right off the bat. The underpinning of Roon, .NET, is a Microsoft thing, and Microsoft has oodles of machines running Windows and Linux. But not so much macOS. So I’d trust Windows or Linux to have fewer unexpected interactions with .NET. I’m sure macOS works OK, at least for the common cases, but…

  2. Windows attempts to idiot-proof the operating system through the GUI, which leads to all kinds of encumbrances when you try to run servers on it. Windows Server is a good place to run servers, but most folks don’t have that. On the other hand, Windows is the natural home for .NET.

  3. Linux (and Unix in general) is built for and by geeks to run software on. It never tries to save you from yourself. Microsoft itself runs lots of .NET frameworks on Linux servers. Roon’s ROCK and Roon OS is a flavor of Linux.

So, I’d rank them in order of decreasing preference, Linux, Windows, and at the end, macOS.


.NET is MS thing, but to run it cross platform you need new .NET Core which is replacement for .NET Framework and has full cross platform compatibility (so works on MacOS just fine and fast), or Mono, which doesn’t exists any more. I wonder if Roon is still on Mono for some things, and whats behind Roon Server and Roon Core?
For me, biggest issue is their UI engine, think its Qt. Always some CPU consumption when idle, or random UI issues (like scrolling with mouse) or RemoteDesktop issues. Thinking of switching to Server and just use Remote for all management.

Mono was dropped back in November 2021 for Roon on Linux, and AFAIK, .NET is now used for all platforms.

The UI engine is not based on Qt, but is an in-house development using OpenGL.

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In house OpenGl, omg even worse:( Who needs hardware 2D/3D acceleration to display few lists in 60fps!? Just big point of failure and cause of all kinds of issues.

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It’s more than that. I think all graphics platforms today use hardware acceleration for UI. Not only can you have better special effects, it also offloads the CPU and stays smooth, regardless of the CPU load. I do agree that in-house solutions are worrisome, but maybe it was easier that way from a portability aspect.

They use acceleration, but they are build on top of some standard “engine” or framework, like MFC (Windows win32), WPF, UWP, Qt, Electron (Chromium browser), … , I rarely see companies inventing their own rendering engine, specially on top of OpenGl because that thing is made for pro 3D software and games, you don’t build consumer/business apps with it, its too complex.
Think one of the main goals for Roon was to have one code base for all platforms, so they probably built some abstraction layer and wrapper around OpenGl. There’s no much UI computation to be offloaded to GPU card, Roon GUI is very simple, any CPU can run it.
Impossible to guess exactly whats there and why are we’re seeing those UI issues, but bragging about OpenGl usage gives me more worry than confidence.

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WFP uses DirectX for hardware acceleration and Qt seems to be using OpenGL. It’s not only for “pro 3D software and games” anymore.

My point was that its unusual to code directly with OpenGl, you use some framework like Qt that can then use whatever for rendering, otherwise you get UI issues, like I have with Roon.