Install dependencies:

sudo apt-get install build-essential
sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev
sudo apt-get install libsdl-image1.2-dev
sudo apt-get install libsdl-ttf2.0-dev
sudo apt-get install libsdl-gfx1.2-dev
sudo apt-get install libconfuse-dev

Download the latest source distribution. Fire up a terminal and cd to the directory containing the tar.gz file.

tar -xzf lemon-launcher-0.0.x.tar.gz
cd lemon-launcher-0.0.x
./configure --prefix=/usr
sudo make install

Mac OS X

These instructions use MacPorts to install the dependencies. As an alternative, you could build/install the packages individually or use Fink but I find MacPorts to be rather extensive with the number of ports supported.

Startup and install the dependencies:

sudo port install libsdl
sudo port install libsdl_image
sudo port install libsdl_ttf
sudo port install libsdl_gfx
sudo port install libconfuse

Download the latest source distribution. Change to the directory with the tar.gz file.

tar -xzf lemon-launcher-0.0.x.tar.gz
cd lemon-launcher-0.0.x
CXXFLAGS=-I/opt/local/include LDFLAGS=-L/opt/local/lib ./configure --prefix=/opt/local
sudo make install


Download the latest windows build. Extract the zip file somewhere on your hard drive (eg: c:\lemonlauncher\), and run it by double clicking lemonlauncher.exe.

All pathnames in lemonlauncher.conf are UNIX style (relative or absolute) paths...

# relative
snap = ./mame/snaps/%.png

# absolute
snap = /c/mame/snaps/%.png

with the exception of the mame setting. This setting uses a windows path (relative or absolute) and all backslashes must be escaped.

mame = C:\\mame\\mame.exe -rompath C:\\mame\\roms %r

There is a bug in the windows build that will cause it to crash when an optional resource is missing (ie: font, all .conf files). The windows build comes with default lemonlauncher.conf, theme.conf, and VeraBd.ttf. Be sure that the two .conf files exist and the font setting in theme.conf refers to an existing file.

If you are interested in compiling lemon launcher on windows see the MinGW notes.


Default key mapping is based on the factory keycodes on the Ultimarc i-pac and j-pac. See the key mapping section of lemonlauncher.conf for a list of keys and their function. Note this file uses raw SDL key codes. For a comprehensive list of key names and their codes see SDLKey.

Function Default key Description
exit escape Exit lemon launcher
up/down up/down Moves selection up/down
pgup/pgdown right/left Moves selection up/down by one page
reload 5 (coin1) Reload menus from games.conf
showhide 6 (coin2) Toggle the display of hidden games/menus
select 1 (p1-start) Open menu / launch game
back 2 (p2-start) Back to previous menu
alphamod (*) lctrl (p1btn1) Page up/down modifier key - alphabetic paging

(*) Key modifiers do not correspond to raw key codes. These values correspond to constants in SDLMod.


Lemon launcher has a rather simple theme system which gives you control over the background image, font, size and position of ui elements (title, list, and snapshot sections). See sample theme file for more details: /usr/share/lemon-launcher/theme.conf.sample

You can find a few examples of themes here:

To use a theme create your theme.conf file and modify the theme option in lemonlauncher.conf to reflect the path of your file.