Installing Vice on linux

So I got lots of requests from friends who migrated from Windows to various Linux platforms to do a mini guide for getting Vice working on their systems. I distributed this guide around my friends in hopes that it would make life easier for them. Since then I have found that my little guide has made it’s way around other people and even onto a forum.

They persuaded me that it would be a really awesome idea to put the tutorial/guide on the net in a more permanent place. So here it is, in all it’s rough around the edges glory.

Suppose I should point out that I was never that good at writing manuals or guides when I did this at college. Oh well……

This guide is version 1.1 and will probably stay at version 1.1 till the end of time. Unless something crops up that needs changing.

-So I thought I would update this guide a little. I realized that the guide assumed that you were using Ubuntu/Mint. Obviously not everyone would be using Ubuntu or Mint and this was my mistake. The principle will work the same on almost every distribution of Linux. Just check with your distributions handbook as to changes in package management. For example in Sabayon it would be equo install and not apt-get install. Also if your distribution allows root access then it might be best switching to su instead of using sudo.

Also a reminder that with great power comes great responsibility. Do not mess with su unless your comfortable with doing so as su won’t ask for permission once commands are run.-

OK so first thing you will want to do it open up a terminal window.When the window opens you will need to run this command.

sudo apt-get install vice

It will ask for your password before starting to search for the needed package. Input your password, which will remain hidden while styping, and press enter. After finding the p[ackage it will also ask for confirmation that it is OK to download and install the package. Type Y and off it goes. Loads of text will appear in the terminal window. This is perfectly fine though so not to worry.

Once this process has finished you will need to run the C64 emulator in the terminal. Why?

Well if you simply start the emulator through the menu then it won’t do anything at all. This is because it is generating an error but it is not showing you the error before exiting. Through terminal you are able to scroll up and read the error. Making life easier as we know whats going on.

So run this command.


At this point your emulator might work depending on your Linux distribution. If it does then congrats you don’t need to do anything else. If not then read on.

Now note the version of Vice your working with. In this case, at time of writing, it’s 2.3 but it could be several version ahead when you read this. So note the version open your browser as we are off source hunting. Go to this url and it will have lots of links to various tarballs but we are only after one. And that, in this example, is the vice-2.3.tar.gz tarball.

**NOTE!!!! – Again check the version of Vice you are working with as you will need the corresponding source. for example 2.2 will need the vice-2.2.tar.gz, 2.3 will need the vice-2.3.tar.gz and so on. If the wrong one is used then the emulator may not work or may become unstable.**

Save the file to the Downloads file in your home directory. Because next we will be unpacking it. Run these commands in terminal.

cd ~/Downloads
tar xfzv vice-2.3.tar.gz

The first command will change into the Downloads directory, the ‘~’ is a shortcut to your home directory and is the same as doing cd /home/<your name>/Downloads. The second command will unpack the .tar.gz into the Downloads directory. So when you open the Downloads directory in your file browser you will see a folder name Vice 2.3.

Now for the last stage. All we are going to do is copy the contents of a folder within the freshly unpacked directory and copy it over to the required places. So lets do our final command.

-If your distribution allows root use then this command can be done by switching to root using su. Once in root simply don’t bother using sudo.-

sudo cp -vR ~/Downloads/vice-2.3/data/* /usr/lib/vice

This command will do a recursive copy of all files and folders from within the data folder over to /usr/lib/vice. Sudo is needed as the target directory is owned by root and so needs root privileges in order for files to be copied.

And that should be it. If your run the emulator in terminal or through Applications > Other menu you should now have a working C64 emulator. Along with all the other 8-bit Commodore emulators.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *