ZX Spectrum

21 of the Best Free Linux Home Computer Emulators

This page is retained for historic interest only. Read our updated article showcasing the best free Linux home computer emulators.


Emulation refers to the duplication of functions of one system using a different system. Specifically, an emulator is software specifically written to emulate aspects of the original console or computer, primarily the CPU, I/O and memory system.

This article focuses on software which emulates home computers, a class of personal computer which reached the market in the late 1970s, and became immensely popular in the following decade, selling many millions of units. Leading home computer companies included Commodore, Sinclair, Atari, Apple, Acorn, Tandy Radio Shack, and Amstrad. Many of the earlier machines (in particular the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64) often ended up being very game oriented. However, the later home computers had more sophisticated hardware which widened their use in other areas. For example, the Atari ST was used professionally in music studios, in desktop publishing, and had a wide selection of office software available. However to many users it was still regarded as a games machine.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 21 high quality Linux Home Computer emulators. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to have some fun and reminisce about their misspent youth.

Now, let’s explore the 21 emulators at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Home Computer Emulators
E-UAEUnofficial branch of UAE
plus4emuCommodore 264 family of computers (C16, C116, and Plus/4)
UAEMostly complete software emulation of the Commodore Amiga 500/1000/2000
VICEEmulates the Commodore 64, C128, VIC-20, Plus/4, and all the PET models
ARAnyMAtari Running on Any Machine
Atari++EmulatorAtari 400, 800, Atari 400XL, 800XL and 130XE, and the Atari 5200 game console
Atari800Atari 800, 800XL, 130XE and 5200 emulator with extensions
HatariAtari ST and STE emulator
SteemAtari STE emulator with many unique features
FBZXZX Spectrum emulator, using the FrameBuffer
FuseAccurate 16K, 48K, 128K, +2, +2A and +3 emulation
Spectemu48K ZX Spectrum emulator
SimCoupeEmulates the SAM Coupé
z81ZX81/ZX80 emulator
ArcEmAcorn A400 hardware emulator
BeebEmAcorn BBC Micro and Master 128 emulator
cpc4xCPC emulator
XRoarDragon 32, Dragon 64, Tano Dragon, Tandy CoCo 1/2
XcpcCPC464/CPC664/CPC6128 emulator
openMSXMSX home computer system
xapple2Fully-functional 100% Apple ][ emulator for X

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Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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