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Compiling from Source

Currently the only verified way to run Bintracker is to build it from the source code.


Step 1 - Build Dependencies

The following dependencies are required to build Bintracker:

  • sqlite3
  • Chicken Scheme >=5.0 + extensions

To build the Bintracker documentation, the following additonal dependencies are required:

  • Mkdocs + Mkdocs-material + Mkdocs-localsearch
  • scm2wiki

First, obtain the source:

$ git clone

Next,install Chicken Scheme, version 5.0 or newer. Chicken is available through most distro package repositories. However, for advanced users we recommend to build it from source and do a user install.

After installing Chicken itself, you need to install the extensions required by Bintracker.

$ chicken-install args base64 comparse coops git imlib2 list-utils matchable pstk simple-md5 sqlite3 srfi-1 srfi-4 srfi-13 srfi-14 srfi-18 srfi-69 stack test typed-records web-colors

Note that in order to build the sqlite3 extension, you need an sqlite3 installation. Your system most likely will have one installed already, but if not, install it through your distro's package manager.

To build the Bintracker documentation, you will need scm2wiki, MkDocs, the mkdocs-material theme, and the mkdocs-localsearch extension.

git clone
cd scm2wiki
$ pip install --user mkdocs mkdocs-material mkdocs-localsearch==0.5.0

Step 2 - Compilation

You are now ready to build Bintracker.

$ cd build/
$ make

You can do a parallel build (make -jX), however time savings will be minimal. You can make tests to run unit tests on libmdal and Schemta. If you are using Emacs and are planning on writing code for Bintracker, you can run make with an additional ETAGS=1 argument to generate a suitable TAGS file in the main directory.

Step 3 - Emulator Setup

If you haven't done so already, install MAME and make sure mame64 is in your search path. If your MAME executable is not named "mame64", edit the file config/emulators.scm accordingly.

For most target systems you want to emulate, you will also need to obtain ROM files. Bintracker itself does not ship ROM files except for a handful of open source replacement ROMs. Copy ROM files to roms/MACHINE/, where MACHINE is MAME's target system identifier string. MAME is very peculiar about the names of ROM files. The Arcade Database is a good source of information regarding this.

Once you've completed these steps, you can run the bintracker executable in the build directory.

If you notice sound being choppy, you can try adding "-nofilter" "-nomax" and/or "-autoframeskip" to the list of MAME default-args in config/emulators.scm. Especially hard cases may be fixed with "-video" "none". Newer versions of MAME will complain about the latter, but it nevertheless fixes most cases of bad audio.

MacOS, BSD, Windows

So far nobody has tried to build Bintracker on any of these platforms. By all means, please try!

Building on MacOS and BSD shouldn't be too hard. The main complication you may run into is that the Makefile currently uses a few bash/GNUmake specific features. Also, the latest MacOS versions apparently do not ship Tcl/Tk anymore, so you will need to install that first.

Building on Windows will be much more difficult, and may require some changes to the source code. You will need either MSYS or MinGW to build Chicken Scheme and Bintracker itself. The mid-term plan is to ship with a Tclkit, so you might try that.

If you succeed at building Bintracker on a non-Linux platform, please get in touch and let us know how you did it.