[[!flattrthing id=80701]]

[ Update, 2013-10: This post post is not up to date anymore. On newer Debians (since 7.0/wheezy) and Ubuntus (at least since 12.04, Precise Pangolin), you should be able to install zsnes out of the box: sudo apt-get install zsnes:i386. For details see the MultiArch documentation for Debian and Ubuntu. ]

Before I bought my current hardware, I was working on a 32-bit-based system, and I really appreciated ZSNES as an SNES emulator. But unfortunately, my new hardware was an AMD64 system, and there is currently no ZSNES package for 64-bit Ubuntu or Debian :( So I decided to google a bit about the issue, but it took me until now (a year later) to get ZSNES finally working on my machine. The problem is, if you build ZSNES on a 64-bit machine, all the application does is segfault at start, and if you try to compile for 32-bit systems, you get errors about missing 32-bit libs (in particular, configure does not find a suitable libsdl). Instead, if you just take the binary which was compiled on a 32-bit system, and install the ia32-libs package, everything seems to work—at least I was able to play a few levels of Super Mario World succesfully :-)

So here was my idea: take the 32-bit package from the Ubuntu repository, and just change the Architecture control field, and by this fool dpkg :P And as it turned out, this idea worked great. You can get the Debian package here if you want, it should work for Ubuntu Karmic and Lucid, as well as for Debian testing (but I only tested it on Lucid, so there is no warranty here—but I’m happy to hear if it works :-)):

How to Reproduce It

For the curious people reading here, here is what I actually did:

  1. wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/z/zsnes/zsnes_1.510-2.2ubuntu3_i386.deb
  2. ar x zsnes_1.510-2.2ubuntu3_i386.deb
  3. tar xzf data.tar.gz
  4. Edit usr/share/applications/zsnes.desktop and added -ad sdl to the Exec: field, otherwise it would just segfault on the first run:

    Exec=zsnes -ad sdl
    
  5. Edit usr/share/doc/zsnes/changelog.Debian.gz and added a new changelog entry for the version (just copy one of the previous entries and adapt it)

  6. tar xzf control.tar.gz
  7. Edit the control file, changed the Version: and Architecture: field to amd64, added the ia32-libs dependency, and set myself as maintainer:

    Package: zsnes
    Version: 1.510-2.2ubuntu3~ppa1
    Architecture: amd64
    Maintainer: Roland Hieber <foobar@example.org>
    Installed-Size: 4160
    Depends: ia32-libs, libao2 (>= 0.8.8), libc6 (>= 2.4), libgcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1),
      libgl1-mesa-glx | libgl1, libpng12-0 (>= 1.2.13-4),
      libsdl1.2debian (>= 1.2.10-1), libstdc++6 (>= 4.1.1), zlib1g (>= 1:1.2.2.3)
    [...]
    
  8. Change the md5sums file for the right values for usr/share/applications/zsnes.desktop and usr/share/doc/zsnes/changelog.Debian.gz (I used the md5sum command and copy-pasted it)

  9. tar czf control.tar.gz control md5sums postrm postinst
  10. tar czf data.tar.gz usr/
  11. ar r zsnes_1.510-2.2ubuntu3~ppa1_amd64.deb debian-binary control.tar.gz data.tar.gz

I’m afraid that I can’t put the package into my PPA, Launchpad only accepts source packages for uploads, and builds the binary packages itself, both for i386 and AMD64. This approach can not be used here, since we needed the i386 binary for AMD64.