Category Archives: Retro Computing

How to Setup cc65


The cc65 compiler is a C compiler that builds programs for computers with a 6502 CPU, like the Apple II series and the Commodore 64.  It runs on Windows and Linux. So it is actually called a cross-compiler because it runs on a different type of system than the type for which it builds programs. Why would you want to write C programs for a 30 year old computer? If you're asking yourself that question then maybe this is the wrong article for you.

Setup Instructions for Windows

Coming soon.

Setup Instructions for Fedora Linux

I have determined the optimal way to setup cc65 on Fedora. I would like to build a package for Fedora but that is another effort in itself. These instructions will provide package-like system integration for cc65. The cc65 compiler is distributed in source form. But this is not a problem because it builds flawlessly on Fedora.

Fedora Step1: Install Dependencies

The following command not only installs the necessary tools to build the cc65 executable programs, it also installs all the tools to build the documentation.
sudo dnf install git gcc make linuxdoc-tools texinfo

Fedora Step 2: Create a Place for the Source Code

If you don't have a "git" directory, create it with the below commands. You don't need to create a ~/git/cc65 directory because that will be done automatically by git.
cd ~
mkdir git
cd git

Fedora Step 3: Retrieve the Source Code

From the ~/src directory, enter the following command to download the cc65 code from A cc65 subdirectory will automatically be created.
git clone

Fedora Step 4: Build the Compiler from Source

The build process works flawlessly on Fedora. Simply type:
cd cc65

Fedora Step 5: Build the Documentation

You will want to refer to the documentation. It will be quicker to access it locally. Build it with this command:
make doc

Fedora Step 6: Install the Compiler

The below command installs the following:
  1. cc65 executables in /usr/local/bin
  2. cc65 documentation in info format in /usr/local/share/info. View it with the command: info /usr/local/share/info/
  3. cc65 documentation in HTML format in /usr/local/share/doc/html/cc65.
sudo make install prefix=/usr/local

Fedora Step 7: Bookmark the Documentation

To be successful working with software development tools you need quick access to the documentation. I keep a very organized set of bookmarks in my browser so that I can quickly get answers to questions that come up during development. One can waste a lot of time looking for information if it is not readily available. So I suggest creating a bookmark in your browser for the following local file which is the starting point for the cc65 documentation in HTML format. In Firefox you can press Ctrl-O to open a file. Enter the below path. Then bookmark it with Ctrl-D.

Fedora Step 8: Build a Program

Fedora Step 9: Run Your Program


Apple II Dev Links

All the information necessary to build programs for an Apple II is unfortunately not collected into one place. There are bits and pieces everywhere.
  • 6502 CPU Instruction Set
  • ProDOS Memory Map
  • ProDOS Commands
  • ProDOS API
  • Built-in Machine Language Subroutines
  • Monitor Commands