Last Updated on April 22, 2022
ZEsarUX is an emulator for various Sinclair home computers that were extremely popular in the 1980s. The emulator also supports other home computers including the Amstrad CPC 464, CPC 4128, and really quirky machines like the Jupiter Ace.
According to the developer, a Raspberry Pi 2 is recommended as a minimum. Given that the RPI4 has far more grunt than the Pi 2, everything should be plain sailing.
The first hurdle to cross is that ZEsarUX is not present in the Raspbian repositories. Fortunately, the developer of ZEsarUX provides a RPI4 binary for version 8.0 but not his later two beta releases. As I want to test the latest version, I compiled the source code for myself. It’s really easy. Here’s the steps I took. I already had SDL installed. If it’s not present on your system, install it with the command
$ cd zesarux/src
$ export CFLAGS=-O2
$ export LDFLAGS=-O2
$ ./configure –enable-raspberry
$ make clean
$ make -j4
You might be curious about compiling software on the RPI4. I’ve therefore produced a short screencast showing the steps above.
The first line clones the project’s software repository. Change into the source code directory, issue three configuration commands, and then compile the software with the make command. You’ll notice the make command is appended with the -j4 flag. That tells the compiler to use RPI4’s multiple cores. If you compile the source code without the flag, the compile time takes 149 seconds. This reduces to 59 seconds with the -j4 flag.
[The make clean command isn’t necessary if you’ve not compiled the program previously.]
The software can be started with the command:
I had problems running the emulator with ALSA, with strange audio pops when running the software. Problems disappeared after installing PulseAudio, but that’s not a great solution as PulseAudio doesn’t run very well on the RPI4. I’ll investigate the ALSA issues further, but if you’re had the same issues and solved them, do drop a comment below.
Here’s the emulator running the popular Fairlight game.
The ZX Spectrum had very modest hardware specification compared to many other home computers. It’s therefore not surprising that the RPI4 has no issues with emulating the ZX Spectrum’s collection of software.
There’s tons of games and other software that’s available in the public domain. World of Spectrum offers a huge archive of ZX Spectrum games, educational software, utilities, and demos. There’s a wealth of classic games to play. Relive your misspent youth, or revel in the nostalgia that made home computers great.
Read all my blog posts about the RPI4.
|Raspberry Pi 4 Blog
|Manage your personal collections on the RPI4
|Survey of terminal emulators
|Search the desktop with the latest version of Recoll
|Personal Information Managers on the RPI4
|Keep a diary with the RPI4
|Process complex mathematical functions, plot 2D and 3D graphs with calculators
|Internet radio on this tiny computer. A detailed survey of open source software
|Professionally manage your photo collection with digiKam
|Typeset beautifully with LyX
|Software that teaches young people how to learn basic computing skills and beyond
|Firefox revisited - Raspbian now offers a real alternative to Chromium
|Turn the Raspberry Pi 4 into a low power writing machine
|Keep the kids learning and having fun
|Lots of choices to view images
|Listening to podcasts on the RPI4
|File management on the RPI4
|Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) on the RPI4
|Keep up-to-date with these news aggregators
|Web Browsers Again: Firefox
|Retro gaming on the RPI4
|Screen capturing with the RPI4
|Emulate the Amiga, ZX Spectrum, and the Atari ST on the RPI4
|Choose the right model of the RPI4 for your desktop needs
|Using the RPI4 as a screencaster
|Have fun reading comics on the RPI4 with YACReader, MComix, and more
|Turn the RPI4 into a complete home theater
|Watching locally stored video with VLC, OMXPlayer, and others
|PDF viewing on the RPI4
|Access the RPI4 remotely running GUI apps
|e-book tools are put under the microscope
|The office suite is the archetypal business software. LibreOffice is tested
|Managing your email box with the RPI4
|Web surfing on the RPI4 looking at Chromium, Vivaldi, Firefox, and Midori
|Video streaming with Chromium & omxplayerGUI as well as streamlink
|A survey of open source music players on the RPI4 including Tauon Music Box
|An introduction to the world of the RPI4 looking at musikcube and PiPackages
This blog is written on the RPI4.