How to Install RetroArch on Fedora 39/38/37 Linux

If you’re a Fedora Linux user with a passion for retro gaming, this guide on “How to Install RetroArch on Fedora Linux” is for you. RetroArch is a powerful open-source tool that combines emulators for classic gaming consoles all in one place. It’s like having a treasure chest of old-school games on your computer.

Here’s why RetroArch is a gamer’s dream:

  • All-in-One Solution: RetroArch lets you play games from different consoles without needing separate emulators. It uses ‘cores’ to mimic each console’s experience.
  • Works Everywhere: Whether you’re on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, or even a gaming console like PlayStation or Xbox, RetroArch has got you covered.
  • Play with Others: RetroArch’s netplay feature lets you compete with players worldwide.
  • Share Your Gameplay: Easily record or stream your gaming sessions, letting others join in on the nostalgia.

Getting RetroArch on Fedora Linux is simple. You can use the DNF package manager or Flatpak once you’ve set up the Flathub repository. Our upcoming guide will walk you through each step, ensuring you’re ready to relive those classic gaming moments on your Fedora system.

Section 1: Install RetroArch via DNF on Fedora Linux

This section focuses on installing RetroArch on Fedora Linux utilizing Fedora’s native package management system, the DNF Package Manager. The process leverages the standard Fedora repository to fetch and install the RetroArch package.

Step 1: Update Fedora Linux System

Before installing any new software, it is essential to ensure that your Fedora Linux system is up-to-date. This step enhances system performance and security by updating core components and all installed applications.

Update your system using the command:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh

When this command is executed, it establishes communication with Fedora’s repositories, checks for updates, and upgrades the system by fetching and installing the latest versions of all packages.

Step 2: Install RetroArch via DNF Package Manager

Once your Fedora Linux system is updated, you can install RetroArch. This is accomplished by using the dnf install command followed by the package name retroarch. Execute the following command:

sudo dnf install retroarch

This command instructs the DNF Package Manager to find and install RetroArch from the Fedora repository. Upon completing this command, RetroArch will be installed on your Fedora system, ready for you to delve into the exciting world of retro gaming.

After this procedure, you should have successfully installed RetroArch on your Fedora system using the native DNF Package Manager. For an alternate installation method, you can consider installing RetroArch via Flatpak and Flathub, which we will explore in the subsequent section.

Section 2: Install RetroArch via Flatpak and Flathub on Fedora Linux

This section delineates how to install RetroArch on Fedora Linux using the Flatpak package management system and the Flathub repository. Flatpak and Flathub provide a broad spectrum of applications, complete with all their dependencies, ensuring seamless compatibility across varied Linux distributions.

Step 1: Enable the Flathub Repository

Before installing RetroArch using Flatpak, it is necessary to confirm that the Flathub repository is enabled. This prerequisite step can be accomplished with the flatpak remote-add command. Execute the following command to add Flathub as a remote repository:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

This command ensures that Flatpak recognizes Flathub as a source for software packages. However, there can be instances where the Flathub repository gets disabled automatically. To prevent this from interrupting the installation process, verify that the Flathub repository is enabled by using the flatpak remote-modify command:

flatpak remote-modify --enable flathub

Running these commands enables Flatpak to access the Flathub repository to retrieve and install the required software, in this case, RetroArch.

Step 2: Install RetroArch via Flatpak on Fedora

With the Flathub repository enabled, you can now proceed to install RetroArch. The flatpak install command accomplishes this task. The following command fetches and installs RetroArch from the Flathub repository:

flatpak install flathub org.libretro.RetroArch

The term org.libretro.RetroArch is the unique identifier for RetroArch in the Flatpak application system. This command interacts with the Flathub repository, locates RetroArch, and installs it on your Fedora system.

Section 3: Initiating RetroArch on Fedora Linux

This section outlines the various ways to start RetroArch on Fedora Linux. RetroArch can be launched using the Command Line Interface (CLI) or the Graphical User Interface (GUI), depending on your convenience or requirements.

Launching RetroArch via the Command Line Interface

The CLI provides a streamlined way to launch applications in Fedora Linux. To start RetroArch, the commands will differ based on the installation method – DNF or Flatpak.

If you have installed RetroArch using the DNF method, the application can be initiated with this simple command:


However, if RetroArch was installed via Flatpak from Flathub, the application can be started using the following command:

flatpak run org.libretro.RetroArch

In the context of the Flatpak command, org.libretro.RetroArch is the unique identifier that signifies RetroArch within the Flatpak ecosystem.

Launching RetroArch via the Graphical User Interface

For individuals who prefer a more visually interactive approach, starting RetroArch through the GUI is pretty straightforward:

  1. Locate and select the “Activities” option in the upper-left corner of your Fedora Desktop.
  2. Choose “Show Applications” – a grid of dots typically symbolizes this option.
  3. Browse through the list of applications or use the search bar at the top to find RetroArch.
  4. Click on the RetroArch icon to start the application.
Screenshot showing the launch of RetroArch via its application icon in the Fedora Linux applications menu.Pin
Demonstration of how to launch RetroArch from the Fedora Linux applications menu.

Section 4: Acclimating to RetroArch on Fedora Linux for the First Time

For users launching RetroArch on Fedora Linux for the first time, the following tips will help you navigate the software more efficiently. These suggestions are exclusively tailored for Linux-based installations of RetroArch.

Familiarizing with RetroArch Interface

RetroArch adopts a unique interface style, XrossMediaBar (XMB), by default. It is essential to understand the navigation of this menu driver to leverage RetroArch’s functionality fully. It employs horizontal and vertical scrolling for different settings, categories, and options.

Left/Right Arrow: Switch between settings categories.
Up/Down Arrow: Navigate through options in a category.
Enter: Select an option.

Identifying Core Concepts

RetroArch introduces the concept of ‘Cores,’ essentially emulators designed to work within the RetroArch framework. Each game system you want to emulate corresponds to a different core that needs to be downloaded and installed within RetroArch.

To download a core, navigate to the “Load Core” option, then proceed to “Download Core.” You’ll be presented with a long list of available cores. Once downloaded, a core becomes readily accessible via the “Load Core” option.

Configuring Inputs

RetroArch supports a wide array of controllers. Select the “Input” category from the settings menu to configure your input device. Here, you can assign keys or buttons to actions for your controller. This configuration will apply to all cores unless overridden on a per-core basis.

Taking Advantage of Save States

RetroArch offers the convenience of ‘Save States,’ allowing users to save and load their game status anytime, independent of the game’s in-built save functionality. This feature can be accessed under the “Quick Menu” once a game is loaded.

Setting up Game Directories

RetroArch allows you to designate a directory for your games, known as the ‘Content Directory.’ This helps organize your games better and allows for easier access. You can set this up via the “Directory” option in the “Settings” menu.

Leverage the Online Updater

RetroArch’s ‘Online Updater’ provides a quick and easy way to download cores, update assets and shaders, and even update RetroArch itself. You can access it directly from the Main Menu.

Screenshot of RetroArch successfully running on a Fedora Linux system.Pin
Proof of RetroArch’s compatibility and smooth operation on Fedora Linux.

Section 5: Maintaining RetroArch on Fedora Linux

For dedicated RetroArch users on Fedora Linux, sustaining your software with regular updates and knowing the uninstallation process when it’s no longer needed is essential. Regular updates ensure you’re using the most secure and efficient version of RetroArch. Uninstalling becomes necessary when the software’s utility has run its course. This section will explore practical ways to update and uninstall RetroArch on Fedora Linux.

Updating RetroArch on Fedora Linux

Frequent updates form the foundation of any software maintenance regimen. They ensure that your installation of RetroArch operates with optimal security and functionality. Although updates often emerge automatically, it is a best practice to check for them occasionally manually. Here, you’ll find the methods to check for updates based on your installation type.

Updating RetroArch via DNF

If you installed RetroArch using DNF, the following command will refresh your repositories and update all the packages on your system, including RetroArch:

sudo dnf update --refresh

Updating RetroArch via Flatpak

If you installed RetroArch using Flatpak, you can update it using this command:

flatpak update

Uninstalling RetroArch from Fedora Linux

When the time comes when RetroArch is no longer required, you can effortlessly remove it from your Fedora Linux system. The method you use for uninstallation depends on the original installation method.

Uninstalling RetroArch via DNF

If you installed RetroArch via DNF, you can remove it along with its associated packages using this command:

sudo dnf remove retroarch

Uninstalling RetroArch via Flatpak

If your installation was completed via Flatpak, RetroArch can be removed using this command:

flatpak remove org.retroarch

Running this command will also eradicate your data related to RetroArch. It’s essential to back up any vital data before uninstallation to prevent unintentional loss of important information.


Throughout this guide, we’ve traversed installing and maintaining RetroArch on Fedora Linux. We examined the necessary steps to effectively install RetroArch using two popular methods—DNF and Flatpak. Additionally, we discussed how to ensure RetroArch remains up-to-date and secure with regular updates and how to uninstall it when appropriately needed. As you continue to use RetroArch, remember that regular updates are vital to optimizing your software’s security and performance. Keep this guide handy for reference, and ensure a smooth and efficient RetroArch experience on your Fedora Linux system.

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