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VICE needs a file called dos1541 if you want hardware emulation of the 1541 disk drive. What does that file contain, exactly? The 1541 seems to have two ROMs: a DOS and a KERNAL. But if I take the image of the DOS and call in dos1541, and put it in the correct folder, then the emulator complains:

Error - ROM /home/username/.vice/C64/dos1541: short file.

And it will be impossible to enable 1541 emulation in the emulator's menu. The same is true if that file contains the kernal.

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The DOS won't work because it's only 8kb long. The KERNAL won't work because it too is only 8kb long.

Turns out, dos1541 is really a misnomer because VICE needs both ROMs in the same file, and expects that file to be exactly 16kb long (16384 bytes). If you have both the DOS and the KERNAL, you can concatenate the two to produce the necessary file with a command like this:

cat dosfile kernalfile > dos1541

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