Building Dolphin on Linux

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Revision as of 19:40, 11 October 2014 by 10n45 (talk | contribs) (Phew, that took me a long time.)
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Only binaries for Ubuntu-based distributions are available on Dolphin's download page, so users of other distros have to Dolphin from source. Dolphin is compatible with 64 bit Linux distributions. This is a guide to compiling Dolphin using the cmake build system.

If looking for help installing on Ubuntu-based distros, such as Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Zorin OS, Bodhi Linux, Deepin, Linux Lite, Pinguy OS, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio or Mythbuntu, see Installing Dolphin#Ubuntu.

Step 1 - Installing the Dependencies


12.04 and newer

Install all necessary packages by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install cmake git g++ wx2.8-headers libwxbase2.8-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libgtk2.0-dev libsdl1.2-dev libxrandr-dev libxext-dev libao-dev libasound2-dev libpulse-dev libbluetooth-dev libreadline-gplv2-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libswscale-dev libsdl2-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev


If you are still using such an old release, consider upgrading. Run the following to install the dependencies:

sudo apt-get install cmake git g++ wx2.8-headers libwxbase2.8-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libgtk2.0-dev libsdl1.2-dev libxrandr-dev libxext-dev libao-dev libasound2-dev libpulse-dev libbluetooth-dev libreadline5-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libswscale-dev

Other Linux Distributions

If running a distribution without apt, see the build dependencies in Addendum A for a list of packages needed to install.

Step 2 - Get the Dolphin Repository

Install git if it's not already installed:

  • for apt-based distros (eg Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint): sudo apt-get install git
  • for rpm-based distros (eg Red Hat, Fedora, SUSE): sudo yum install git
  • for pacman-based distros (eg Arch Linux): sudo pacman -S git

Get a local copy of the dolphin-emu repository:

git clone dolphin-emu

Change to the directory created.

cd ./dolphin-emu

To update the local copy in the future without repeating the whole process, run git pull origin within the dolphin-emu directory and proceed to the following steps.

Step 3 - Building Dolphin

Create a build subdirectory, and change into it. The name Build is used in this example.

mkdir Build && cd Build

Configure the build.

cmake ..

Optionally you can change the install prefix by adding "-D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/new/path". Note that this path does not need to be absolute. cmake will complete it to its absolute equivalent. The default prefix is "/usr". This means that the executable will be installed as "/usr/bin/dolphin-emu", the plugins will be installed into "/usr/lib/dolphin-emu", and the shared data files will be installed into "/usr/share/dolphin-emu".

From here build and install in the standard make way.


sudo make install

Note that superuser privileges are needed for make install.

To have the "local" build setup from the deprecated scons build configure the build with the following command.

cmake -Dbindir=../Binary/Linux -Ddatadir=../Binary/Linux ..

Step 4 - Run Dolphin!

Run Dolphin by executing:


The same action can be done graphically from within some desktop environments, such as Unity's Dash menu on Ubuntu.
If the prefix was changed in step 3 and $prefix/bin is not in the path, then precede this with the path to the executable.


  • Where can I get help?

Go to the forums. Lots of Dolphin users use Linux, and they are very experienced with this process.

  • My build failed, but I did nothing wrong!

Most of the time, any problems in the build process are due to user error. It's understandable, it is a complicated process and can be quite daunting for a first timer. But sometimes even with everything right, triple checked, and it's still not working. It's rare, but sometimes a build will just be bugged. But many of Dolphin devs are Linux users, so just wait a day or so, and it will be sorted out.

  • I want a PKGBUILD!

Here is a PKGBUILD for the stable branch. For the master branch, see this PKGBUILD (in pkgver=4.0.rxxxx.7222eb1 replace "xxxx" with the number of the desired revision). Other PKGBUILDs can be found on the Arch User Repository.

Addendum A

This addendum lists the dependencies to build Dolphin.

Build Dependencies

These packages must be installed before building Dolphin.

  • git
  • cmake
  • g++
  • wx2.9-headers (wx3.0-headers recommended)
  • libwxbase2.8-dev
  • libwxgtk2.8-dev
  • libgtk2.0-dev
  • libxext-dev
  • libreadline-dev

Optional dependencies

Package Service
libasound-dev for alsa sound backend
libpulse-dev for pulseaudio sound backend
libao-dev for ao sound backend
libopenal-dev for openal sound backend
libavcodec-dev for dumping frames in AVI format
libavformat-dev for dumping frames in AVI format
libswscale-dev for dumping frames in AVI format
liblzo2-dev if not found will be built statically
libsdl1.2-dev if not found will be built statically
libsoil-dev if not found will be built statically
libsfml-dev if not found will be built statically
libbluetooth-dev for real wiimotes
libxrandr-dev for switching desktop resolution in fullscreen mode

Addendum B

Scipts for building Dolphin.

General purpose script

This script checks for Dolphin's source code, downloads it or updates it, then compiles it and finally installs it. It is somewhat interactive and distro-independent.
It will not install any of the dependencies listed above, and will fail if any of them are missing. Install manually as described at the first step.
Licence: GNU General Public Licence v2 or (at your option) any later version of the GPL.
get out please


Put this script in any directory, prefferably a subdirectory of the Home directory, such as ~/.scripts/dolphin
Within this directory, the script will create two subdirectories, dolphin-emu and build. It must remain in this directory to work.
Execute the script from anywhere, by running sh /path/to/the/, where /path/to/the/ is replaced with the actual path to the script.
The script will download Dolphin's source, or update it if it has already been downloaded once. After building it, the script will install it. This requires root privileges. After the installation, the script exits, and Dolphin can be used. Note that the process is very fast and simple after the first time. Using a bash alias to execute the script by running a custom command such as dolphin-update is recommended.