How to Install RetroArch on Fedora 39, 38 Linux

This guide will demonstrate how to install RetroArch on Fedora Linux using the command-line terminal with either the DNF Package Manager with Fedora’s RPM or the Flatpak package manager with Flathub’s third-party repository.

RetroArch is a versatile and powerful frontend for emulators, game engines, and media players, offering a unique, unified interface for your gaming and entertainment needs. This all-in-one platform enables users to play classic games, utilize a variety of emulators, and enjoy a consistent user experience across different systems. Here’s why RetroArch stands out:

  • Unified Interface: RetroArch provides a consistent, polished interface across all supported platforms, enhancing user experience and ease of use.
  • Cross-Platform: Available on a wide range of systems, RetroArch allows you to sync your settings and games across devices.
  • Customization: Offers extensive customization options, including themes, settings, and input configurations, to tailor your experience.
  • Shader Support: Enhance your gaming with advanced shader options, improving graphics quality and offering various visual effects.
  • Netplay: RetroArch’s netplay feature allows you to play online multiplayer games with friends or other players worldwide.
  • Recording & Streaming: Easily record or stream your gameplay, sharing your gaming moments with others.
  • Gamepad Support: Extensive gamepad compatibility ensures you can use your favorite controller for an optimal gaming experience.
  • Eco System: RetroArch isn’t just a single application but a part of a larger ecosystem that includes cores, updates, and add-ons, providing a comprehensive gaming platform.

With these features and more, RetroArch is the ultimate tool for gamers and multimedia enthusiasts looking for a robust, all-encompassing solution.

Now, let’s dive into the technical specifics of installing RetroArch on Fedora Linux.

Install RetroArch on Fedora Linux via DNF

The first method the guide will look at is using Fedora’s native repository and DNF package manager to install RetroArch, which for most will be suitable first option.

Update Fedora Packages Before RetroArch Installation

Before installing any new software, ensuring that your Fedora Linux system is up-to-date is essential. 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.

Install RetroArch via DNF Command

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.

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.

Install RetroArch on Fedora Linux via Flatpak and Flathub

This section explains using the Flatpak package management system and the Flathub repository to install RetroArch on Fedora Linux. Flatpak and Flathub offer various applications with all necessary dependencies, ensuring smooth compatibility across different Linux distributions.

Enable the Flathub Repository For RetroArch Installation

Before installing RetroArch using Flatpak, you must ensure that your system has the Flathub repository enabled. You can accomplish this prerequisite step with the flatpak remote-add command. Add Flathub as a remote repository by executing the following command:

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

This command makes Flatpak recognize Flathub as a source for software packages. Sometimes, the Flathub repository might get disabled automatically.

To prevent this from disrupting the installation process, check and ensure the Flathub repository is enabled using the flatpak remote-modify command:

flatpak remote-modify --enable flathub

Running these commands allows Flatpak to access the Flathub repository, enabling it to retrieve and install the required software, such as RetroArch.

Install RetroArch via Flatpak Command

Once you have enabled the Flathub repository, proceed to install RetroArch. You can use the flatpak install command for this purpose. To fetch and install RetroArch from the Flathub repository, use the following command:

flatpak install flathub org.libretro.RetroArch

The identifier org.libretro.RetroArch uniquely represents RetroArch in the Flatpak application system. This command communicates with the Flathub repository, locates RetroArch, and installs it on your Fedora system.

Initiating RetroArch on Fedora

This section describes the various methods to start RetroArch on Fedora Linux. Depending on your convenience or requirements, you can launch RetroArch using either the Command Line Interface (CLI) or the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

CLI Commands to Launch RetroArch

The CLI offers a streamlined approach to launch applications in Fedora Linux. The command to start RetroArch varies depending on whether you installed it using DNF or Flatpak.

  • For RetroArch installations via DNF, use this simple command to initiate the application:
  • For installations via Flatpak from Flathub, use the following command to start RetroArch:
flatpak run org.libretro.RetroArch

The term org.libretro.RetroArch in the Flatpak command uniquely identifies RetroArch within the Flatpak ecosystem.

GUI Method to Launch RetroArch

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

  1. Locate and select the “Activities” option in the upper-left corner of your Fedora Desktop.
  2. Choose “Show Applications” – typically symbolized by a grid of dots.
  3. Browse 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.
Demonstration of how to launch RetroArch from the Fedora Linux applications menu.

First-Time Tips For RetroArch on Fedora Linux

The following tips will help with launching RetroArch on Fedora Linux for the first time navigate the software more efficiently.

General RetroArch Tips with Fedora

  • Understanding the Interface: Familiarize yourself with RetroArch’s user interface. It uses a unique menu system that might be different from other applications you’ve used on Linux.
  • Configuration Files: RetroArch saves its configurations in .cfg files located in ~/.config/retroarch/. Knowing the location of these files is crucial for manual tweaks.
  • Core Management: Cores in RetroArch are essentially emulators. You can download and update cores directly from the RetroArch interface. Navigate to Main Menu -> Load Core -> Download a Core to select and download the cores you need.
  • Input Settings: To configure your input devices, such as game controllers, go to Settings -> Input. This section allows you to map buttons and adjust other input-related settings.

RetroArch Customizations

  • Customizing the UI: Change the look and feel of RetroArch through Settings -> User Interface. You can select different themes, menu layouts, and even dynamic wallpapers.
  • Shader Configurations: Enhance your gaming experience by applying shaders. They can be accessed from Quick Menu -> Shaders. Shaders add effects like CRT scanlines or smoother visuals to your games.
  • Playlist Organization: Keep your game collection organized by creating playlists. RetroArch can scan your game directories and automatically create playlists for different systems.

Other RetroArch Tips

  • Save States and Screenshots: RetroArch provides options to save your game state anytime. You can also take in-game screenshots, which help share or troubleshoot.
  • Netplay for Multiplayer: Explore the Netplay feature to play multiplayer games online with friends. It’s accessible via Main Menu -> Netplay.
  • Achievements Support: RetroArch supports retro achievements for various games. Check out Settings -> Achievements to enable and configure this feature.

Exploring these features and customizations will enhance your RetroArch experience on Fedora Linux. Remember, the key to mastering RetroArch is experimentation and exploration within the application.

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

Maintaining RetroArch on Fedora

Update RetroArch

Frequent updates form the foundation of any software maintenance regimen. They ensure that your RetroArch installation 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.

DNF RetroArch Update Command

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

Flatpak RetroArch Update Command

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

flatpak update

Remove RetroArch

When you no longer need RetroArch, you can effortlessly uninstall it from your Fedora Linux system. Your uninstallation method will depend on how you originally installed the software.

DNF RetroArch Remove Command

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

sudo dnf remove retroarch

Flatpak RetroArch Remove Command

To remove RetroArch if you installed it via Flatpak, use 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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