It has been a turbulent year and 2020 is sure to end interestingly in the Linux / open-source space … If it wasn’t unusual enough to see Sony offer a new official Linux driver for its PlayStation 5 DualSense controller for the end of the year, it’s also a new Linux port for the Nintendo 64 game console … Yes, a brand new port for the game console that was launched more than two decades ago.
Open source developer Lauri Kasanen, who contributed to the Messi and Linux graphics package, has embarked on the development of the new Nintendo 64 port and announced it this Christmas day. This is not the first time that Linux has been migrated to the N64, but previous attempts have not been aimed at potentially upgrading it to the Linux core.
Lauria’s work is a fresh port for the Nintendo 64 and is not based on previous efforts. But Lauri noticed, “[Request for comments] because I’m not sure if it’s useful to combine this. Old, niche and limited platform.”
This fresh port for the N64 has been partially revived to help port emulators and buffer games or console games.
There is a binary port for Linux available from Lauri’s GitHub. A binary file is a 64-bit MIPS construct that can be loaded onto a Nintendo 64 using Flashcart.
Luka notes that uClibc-ng was found to be broken for MIPS N32, so the Musl C library was used. It is also noted that Linux on Nintendo 64 is still a big mistake and “constantly flirts with it [out of memory]. ”
The Nintendo 64 runs the MIPS64 NEC VR4300 at 93.75MHz with SGI Reality coprocessor graphics at 62.5MHz, while it only has 4MB of RAM. We’ll see if this N64 port completes the upgrade, but admittedly the utility is pretty limited more than two decades after the gaming console first appeared. Anyway, this new port is now available in original and binary form if anyone is interested.