Why Lakka

Lakka takes its inspiration from projects like RetroPie and PiMAME that demonstrate the potential of combining a dedicated Linux environment with game emulation frontend software running on a small, low-power development board. However, these projects focus on Raspberry Pi hardware.

Lakka’s LibreELEC architecture and fast cross-compilation makes it possible to create optimized builds for a variety of hardware. Lakka supports many systems, including development boards, embedded/mobile systems, and tiny PCs. Examples include the Allwinner, iMX6, and Amlogic boards along with builds for 32-bit and 64-bit PC systems. Learn more in “Hardware Support”.

Integration with RetroArch

RetroPie uses EmulationStation as frontend on top of RetroArch and other emulators, while the graphical interface of Lakka is directly coded in RetroArch. This choice offers the following advantages:

  • A single, unified and consistent configuration for all the emulators.
  • No manual joypad configuration, we use RetroArch autoconfig feature and it works for all consoles.
  • Better integration with the frontend: you can pause your game to use savestates, take screenshots, or switch PlayStation CDs and then go back to your game.
  • Less code (so less bugs), and no effort duplication.
  • We encourage developers to port their emulators to RetroArch, with the side effect of making them available on all the platforms supported by RetroArch.
  • The development team of Lakka and RetroArch are composed of the same members, so both projects can benefit from each other.

Learn more about the systems that Lakka supports.

Built on LibreELEC

Lakka is based on LibreELEC, which provides a number of advantages:

  • A 300mb read-only filesystem you cannot break even with root access.
  • A rock solid update system not based on packages, the whole filesystem and kernel are downloaded and replace the actual system.
  • Cross-compilation: Compiling the whole project including the Linux kernel takes about 2 hours on a good PC.
  • No useless extra packages, we strictly include the dependancy tree of RetroArch.
  • We can version the entire distro under a single git repository, containing all our package recipes, patchsets, kernel configs, etc.
  • The build system will bootstrap itself on a project basis, we compile our specific version of the cross compilers for each project.
  • Lakka is easy to port to new ARM boards.