How To: Compile and Use the Dolphin Gamecube/Wii Emulator in Linux

It’s really easy to get this emulator up and working – but you do have to compile it yourself in linux – still, it’s only a couple of commands and you’re set. I did it on Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit and it worked like a charm…

Update (04/07/2011): Easiest way yet – simply add the PPA and get it (for Ubuntu 10.10 & 11.04 32/64 bit only) like this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:glennric/dolphin-emu
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dolphin-emu

Update (Older than above): I found that you can download pre-compiled .deb files for Ubuntu 9.10 here (PPA addition required) – be careful with that sudo apt-get upgrade command in the instructions though – I don’t really think you need it and you probably don’t want to upgrade your entire linux distribution just to play an emulator… I’m confusing sudo apt-get upgrade (which upgrades currently installed packages) with sudo apt-get dist-upgrade (which updates your linux distribution if there is a newer version available) – my bad.

Either way, I’d recommend you just compile it yourself – it only takes a couple of minutes.

Update – Nov 2011: Like anything published, it ages and what might have been correct at the time of writing may no longer be the case – so with that in mind, if you’re going to build your own copy of Dolphin, you’re probably best off going to and using the instructions there.

#Get the project dependencies
sudo apt-get install subversion scons g++ wx2.8-headers libwxbase2.8-0 libwxbase2.8-dbg libwxbase2.8-dev libwxgtk2.8-0 libwxgtk2.8-dbg libwxgtk2.8-dev libgtk2.0-dev libsdl1.2-dev nvidia-cg-toolkit libxrandr2-dbg libxrandr-dev libxext6-dbg libxext-dev libglew1.5-dev libcairo2-dbg libcairo2-dev libao2 libao-dev libbluetooth-dev libreadline5-dev
# Make a directory to get the source and go into it
mkdir dolphin
cd dolphin
# Grab the latest source code through subversion
svn checkout dolphin-emu-read-only
# Get to the right location to build the emulator (it needs to be the one with the SConstruct file in it)
cd dolphin-emu-read-only/stable
# Build it!
scons flavor=release

Issues: If you’re getting errors along the line of Looking for lib Cg… no. Plugin_VideoOGL must have cg and cggl to be build, then the fix is to install the nvidia-cg-toolkit package with:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-cg-toolkit

With all that done, it takes around five minutes to compile and build, then you can go to the Binary folder inside your source-code download location to find the executable and launch it. Once it’s up and running just go File | Open and point it at an Wii or Gamecube ISO and you’re in business!

Dolphin Gamecube/Wii Emulator

By default you get a gamecube controller bound to the keyboard (Enter = Start button, x = A button, cursor keys up/down/left/right) and an emulated Wiimote is bound to the mouse (where the left mouse button is the A button), but you can use joysticks, real Wiimotes etc as well without too much fuss. Fantastic stuff :)

If you’re having any issues, just read more about linux confix/setup/dependencies here, while the main Dolphin wiki lives here.

5 thoughts on “How To: Compile and Use the Dolphin Gamecube/Wii Emulator in Linux”

  1. start but does not work

    ro@casa-ubuntu:~/dolphin/dolphin-emu-read-only/Binary/Linux-i686$ ./dolphin-emu
    11:15:301 Source/Core/Common/Src/FileUtil.cpp:92 W[COMMON]: IsDirectory: stat failed on ./user/Wii/title/00000001/00000002/content/:
    11:15:930 Source/Core/DolphinWX/Src/X11Utils.cpp:107 N[Video]: XRRExtension-Version 1.3
    11:15:935 Source/Core/DolphinWX/Src/X11Utils.cpp:144 N[Video]: Fullscreen Resolution 640×480

    1. Works for me – you”ll have to nudge the dolphin forums w/ your issue – g’luck!

      Oh, and also it could be the ISO or .WAD file that you’re pointing the emulator at – make sure you try out a couple of different ones – maybe it’ll just be an issue with a specific game.

  2. Hi i start it but when ever i try to start a game it just closes, it does not give me an error message or anything it just goes blank and closes, im using ubuntu 10.10 iv tried at least or 4 different roms/iso but it still does it, any ansewrs? please help.

    1. Have you tried launching it from bash? That should provide some debug info like in roger’s comment above…

      Also, did you grab the PPA version or build your own? Which ever you chose, try the other! =P

      I just built a copy myself to test it by installing the required libs from the list here: and then issuing the following commands:

      $ mkdir Dolphin
      $ cd Dolphin
      $ git clone dolphin-emu
      $ cd dolphin-emu
      $ mkdir build
      $ cd build
      $ cmake ..
      $ make
      $ sudo make install

      Works fine! =D

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