Open Source

How do I… Play World of Warcraft on a Linux box?

With a little ingenuity and some alternative OS magic it is possible to play World of Warcraft in a Linux environment. This document shows you how.

By James M. Garvin

Let me clear up a misconception about Linux. It seems many think that there are no games out there for Linux. You can play plenty of games in Linux! There are games like Return To Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Neverwinter Nights that run natively in Linux. There are also a ton of open source games available. However, I come with even better news; you can play some Windows games in Linux.

There is a translator named Cedega. It's not an emulator, so I think translator is a far better term. You can get more information about Cedega at As of this publication Cedega costs $15, that is $5/month for three months. Cedega supports a bunch of games. Some it supports very well, some it has issues with, requiring the use of available workarounds, and some games just refuse to work.

The good news is that World of Warcraft (WoW) is fully supported by the Transgaming. You might need a little support with patches and such, which is why the Transgaming forum is a great resource. Here you can find the WoW forum and all the basic information you may need to get up and running. Since you are playing games on an OS they were never made to be played on, you sometimes have to mess around with a few things. Typically it is no worse than following simple instructions posted in the forums. The best part is if you run into any trouble, the forums are a great place to find an answer.

If you want to play games, other than WoW, you'll have to check and see if they are supported by checking the Transgaming database.

Click this tag search to find other How Do I… articles and downloads.

Installing Cedega

You need to grab Cedega from It's only $15, as opposed to at least $99 for a Windows OS, so stop being so damn cheap and buy it. With that out of the way, the Transgaming folks have created rpm, tar, and deb packages for us. You simply need to install the proper package for your system. Make sure you are in root to install this package. If you are not root simply type:
# su -

The su command is like switching to administrator. This will bring up a prompt for the root password, type it now. You can also use sudo.

# sudo rpm —install <package_name>.rpm

Then put in the root password. The sudo command is like using run as... in Windows, except it actually works.

To install your various packages, use the following:

Debian/Ubuntu/Debian Based Distros

# dpkg -icedega-<version>.deb

Redhat/Fedora/rpm Based Distros

# rpm —install Cedega-<version>.rpm

Ever other flavor of distro

# tar -zxpvf Cedega-<version>.tgz

Now, that Cedega is installed, we need to run it for the first time. Simply type cedega at the command line. If you are not root, you will probably need to change the ownership of your /tmp directory to the user you are logged in as.

# chown <user>:<group> /tmp

If you don't know what group your user is in, it is not a problem. Typically, your user name and group name will be the same, unless otherwise noted. Let's say I was logged in as a user named jmgarvin and my group was the same. The command would look like:

# chownjmgarvin:jmgarvin /tmp

Now you can type cedega at the command line. (See Figure A)

# cedega

Figure A

Running Cedega for the first time.

This will pop up on the first run of the Cedega GUI. First you must agree to the EULA. Then you'll need to download the Cedega engine, the mozfonts, and mozcontrol packages. Without the Cedega engine you cannot play games. Without the mozfonts and mozcontrol, you could be missing text and some graphics. So, go ahead and install these now. If you get a failure on install, your /tmp directory wasn't chowned properly. This is a common error and I promise it is your fault. Ok, it might not be, but it probably is, so let's double check.

# ls -la /drwxrwxrwx 28 jmgarvinjmgarvin 4096 Apr 14 00:37 tmp

Look for the /tmp directory. You should see the user and group name you set it as. If you see root root instead of your user name, then you didn't do it properly and need to do it again. Check the instructions above if you didn't do it correctly. So let's get Cedega working.

After you enter you valid user name and password and log in, choose the check box for all the packages. (Figure B)

Figure B

Choose all the boxes

Next make sure your video card is detected properly, Figure C. If you see Mesa drivers in here, you need to install the proper video driver. Both ATI and NVidia make Linux drivers, so don't worry. You can check my blog for installation instructions of the proper video drivers. If you don't have the proper drivers, STOP NOW! Install the video drivers before proceeding. This will save you some pain later on.

Figure C

Are the proper drivers for your video card installed?

The final major step to installing and configuring Cedega is letting it test your system, Figure D. If either ALSA or OSS fail, you are ok. However, if both fail, you'll need to install them and recompile your kernel. This is yet another thing you can check on my blog.

Figure D

Let Cedega test your system. If both ALSA and OSS a kernel recompile may be needed.

Now click Forward, then Finish. You've setup Cedega!


Right, on to the installation of World of Warcraft! You might want to take a quick bio break at this point or possibly grab a fresh cup of coffee. If at any point you have closed Cedega, you just need to type the command cedega at the command line again and you should be all set. You should see the Cedega GUI, Figure E.

Figure E

The Cedega GUI.

Now that you are in the Cedega GUI, you simply need to click the install button, choose the installer executable, and, eventually, swap disks. (Figure F)

Figure F

You'll have to swap a disk or two during your WoW install.

Fill in the Program Title box with a good name. I named mine World of Warcraft, but you can name it anything you like. For the Installer, make sure you choose the Installer.exe on the CD-ROMâ€"autorun.inf tends to bork things up. The path will probably be /media/cdrecorder/Installer.exe or /media/cdrom/Installer.exe. If you are running an older distro, you might have path that is /mnt/cdrecorder/Installer.exe. Now click Continue. You will probably have to wait for a bit as things chug. Don't worry if nothing seems to happen for up to a couple minutes. After that short delay, you'll see the WoW installer. (Figure G)

Figure G

Finally, the World of Warcraft installer appears.

Now, you install WoW as you would on a Windows box. There are some caveats though.

  1. Don't press the eject button on your CDROM more than once. This can sometimes cause the next CD not to read properly. It sometimes takes a few seconds for the CD to eject, this is normal. Just wait it out and you will be fine.
  2. You might get an installer error at the very end of the install. Don't worry. The game installed, it is just one of those things.
  3. Installing the patches is easiest via the command line. So get the patch, put it in the WoW install directory, probably .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft, and type:
    # cedega wow-<version>-<language>-patch.exe

For the 1.10 patch you need to move the Repair.exe out of the install directory, the path is probably .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft. You need to be quick about it, so the up arrow will be your friend.

My suggestion is to do it like this:

# cd .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft# mv Repair.exe .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files# mv .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/Repair.exe .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft# mv Repair.exe .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files # cedega wow-1.9.4-to-1.10.0-<language>-patch.exe

Now open up a new term and quickly up arrow until you see the command:

# mv .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/Repair.exe .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft

Now we can move the Repair.exe back in the World of Warcraft directory. You need to do this pretty fast as around 10 percent or so of the time you'll need the Repair.exe. If you mess up the first time, don't worry, just try again. You can just copy and paste in Gnome. So if you don't see the command, when you up arrow a couple times, in the new term, just highlight the command in the old term and press <ctrl><shift>c. That will copy the command. Switch to the new term and press <ctrl><shift>p to paste the command.

For most patches you will either need to download them or run the BNUpdate.exe manually, like this:

# cd .cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft # cedega BNUpdate.exe

That should patch you up from the auto patcher. If you download them just go to Gamespot, 3dgamer or Fileplanet and grab the patch.

Time to play

That should do it. WoW is now installed and patched. You can play! Just to prove it, here's a screen shot of my box:

Figure H

Up and running and ready to battle those who dare oppose.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me. My user name at TechRepublic is jmgarvin and my blog is located at

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