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Compilation in Linux and BSD

Compilation on Linux and BSD does not have many surprises, as its foundation is Unix-based.


  • At least one libretro implementation
  • pkgconfig
  • Working OpenGL headers (should be included by default, but you might need to install libgl/mesa development packages)

Optional dependencies

  • libxml2-devel - For XML shaders and cheat support.
  • libcaca-devel - Color AsCii Art library
  • freetype-devel - TTF font rendering
  • ffmpeg/libavcodec - FFmpeg recording
  • flac-devel - Free Lossless Audio Codec
  • nvidia-cg-toolkit - Cg shaders
  • slang-devel - Slang shaders
  • libudev-devel
  • qt5-qtbase-devel - For Qt GUI (Desktop)
  • zlib-devel

Some other libraries can be built support for as well, please refer to ./configure --help.

Satisfying dependencies under Fedora 23

sudo dnf install make automake gcc gcc-c++ kernel-devel mesa-libEGL-devel libv4l-devel libxkbcommon-devel mesa-libgbm-devel Cg libCg zlib-devel freetype-devel libxml2-devel ffmpeg-devel SDL2-devel SDL-devel perl-X11-Protocol perl-Net-DBus pulseaudio-libs-devel openal-soft-devel libusb-devel

Satisfying additional dependencies under Fedora 33

sudo dnf install egl-wayland-devel wayland-devel wayland-protocols-devel mesa-vulkan-devel libXxf86vm-devel flac-devel slang-devel libcaca-devel qt5-qtbase-devel

Satisfying dependencies under Debian/Ubuntu

apt-get -y install build-essential libxkbcommon-dev zlib1g-dev libfreetype6-dev libegl1-mesa-dev libgles2-mesa-dev libgbm-dev nvidia-cg-toolkit nvidia-cg-dev libavcodec-dev libsdl2-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libxml2-dev yasm

Satisfying dependencies under Alpine

apk add eudev-dev ffmpeg-dev freetype-dev g++ gcc libxml2-dev mesa-dev pkgconf zlib-dev

This list of packages may not be complete.

Getting the code

git clone git://
cd libretro-super

Building RetroArch


Building libretro cores

You should at least build one libretro implementation so RetroArch can do stuff.
There is a super-project that is designed to easily build every libretro port out there. To build every core:


Omit NOCLEAN=1 if you wish to perform "make clean" on every repo before building


Let's assume you'd like to install RetroArch into a folder called ~/ra

mkdir -p ~/ra/cores
cd retroarch
make DESTDIR=~/ra install
cd .. #to libretro-super directory
./ ~/ra/cores

You should now have a fully functional RetroArch build in ~/ra Enjoy! :)

Last update: 2024-04-19