pygame installation not working due to “linux/videodev.h: No such file or directory” error

I wanted to install the python package called pygame. I encountered quite a few issues before being able to install it. I’m reporting here some of the solutions.

Before starting, keep in mind that you can install pygame using apt-get under ubuntu or yum under Fedora, but again here this is within a virtual environment.

First, I tried :

pip install pygame

The package was not installed. An error compilation was raised:

  linux/videodev.h: No such file or directory

This is due to missing libraries for development. When you come back to the installation configuration, you may see some text like:

WARNING, No "Setup" File Exists, Running ""
 Using UNIX configuration...
 Hunting dependencies...
 SDL     : found 1.2.14
 FONT    : not found
 IMAGE   : not found
 MIXER   : not found
 SMPEG   : found 0.4.5
 PNG     : found
 JPEG    : found
 SCRAP   : found

For instance, you need to install this library under Fedora:

sudo yum install libv4l-dev

Let us now try to install pygame again:

pip uninstall pygame
pip install pygame

Still get the same error…Although the library is installed, it cannot be found because it is expected to be found in another folder. Let us therefore create a dynamic link

cd /usr/include/linux
sudo ln -s ../libv4l1-videodev.h videodev.h

Try the installation again. It should work now. Note hoewever, that you may have other missing libraries. For instance I had the font module missing.

import pygame
import pygame.font
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/pygame/",
line 70, in __getattr__
raise NotImplementedError(MissingPygameModule)
NotImplementedError: font module not available
ImportError: No module named font)

In order to solve the font error, install the SDL_ttf package:

sudo yum install SDL_ttf SDL_ttf-devel

You may need more of those libraries from SDL (e.g., SDL_image and SDL_image-devel)

I finally could use the pygame library. I had still some issues with imageext module (can use only bmp extension so far but this is another SDL library missing I suspect…)

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