Getting Dwarf Fortress to Work on Linux

24 Jun 2013

Today, I decided to see if I could get Dwarf Fortress (v0.34.11) running in my 64-bit Arch Linux environment. Immediately, I had a problem .

Dwarf Fortress Error

Doing some googling took me to this page, which didn't help me much since it claimed the issue was resolved in an earlier version.

It then occurred to me that I never tried running the game as root. Now, running 3rd party software as root is generally considered a bad idea, since it could conceivably do something like wipe your whole hard drive. I decided to take my chances, and - lo and behold - it worked! Now I might be stupid enough to run a piece of software as root, but I'm smart enough to stop while I'm ahead. The Dwarf Fortress 0.34.11 installation folder is /opt/df_linux, and it appears that Dwarf Fortress requires permissions to be wide open (7).

If you want everyone on the computer to have the ability to play Dwarf Fortress, just issue the following command:

sudo chmod -R 777 /opt/df_linux

The key here is that you issue **7 as the permission code. This makes read, write, and execute possible for every file in /opt/df_linux, for every user. The -R flag is what sets permissions recursively. An alternative is using a 7** code and using chown to set the owner of the files as your username.

sudo chmod -R 711 /opt/df_linux
sudo chown -R username /opt/df_linux

This problem is probably specific to my Arch package, but it could happen on any system where permissions are not properly configured during the installation process. If you would like to know more about how chmod sets permissions, go here.