Ubuntu – What gaming keyboard(s) will work with Ubuntu


I've been looking at gaming keyboards to use on Ubuntu system.

Microsoft has a few popular ones (e.g., Sidewinder X4, X6), but the programmable function keys appear to be unusable without the Windows software. (Though here's a post from someone who has a more recent project that uses usbmon and xdotool to add functions to some keys.)

Another choice in my budget is the Cyborg V.05. It seems about right for my needs, but I would be depressed having a bunch of useless, nonprogrammable keys on it.
Logitech has some models (e.g., the Logitech G110), though again I expect that the extensive macro capabilities (which I don't need) would be lost under Linux. There's a project called g15tools which has some code to work with older Logitech gaming models, but I don't know what the current status is. Last entry there was in March 2010. There are also a number of very old posts around the internet with regard to the Logitech G11 and G15. Compatibility with the current keyboards, Ubuntu version, and Linux kernel are suspect.

I'm in the U.S., and so it appears that few of the Roccat keyboards are available, and they're over-priced. Support might be OK for these, though — there's a short Phoronix article about Roccat improving their Linux support, and there's also a project and webpage for "Using Roccat Hardware with Linux".

Honestly, the only feature I have to have is good backlighting for the keys, and if it's not wired (which is fine), the wireless capability should function. I could probably live with dead function keys, as long as they weren't in places that would interfere with things like Unity/compiz shortcuts.

Any experience or suggestions?

I've not seen much to inspire confidence with programmable/macro keys.
There is a thread (with no solutions) on the Sidewinder X4 on ubuntuforums here.

I'm also considering the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard as a possibility, even though it's not specifically a gaming keyboard. It is backlit, and it's supposed to be a nice keyboard.

Best Answer

I know this is an old thread, but I would like to toss in my three cents, adjusted for inflation.

I personally run Ubuntu 13.10 in a home-built quad core gaming rig, which used to run Windows 7 Ultimate x64. I reformatted and installed Ubuntu about eight months ago, and I haven't looked back since. I use a Razer Lycosa backlit keyboard with a matching Razer Imperator mouse, and both work flawlessly. I don't use the built in macros on the keyboard, so I can't vouch for that. What I can vouch for, is the backlighting works perfectly, the multimedia keys are flawless, and the anti-ghosting is excellent. I'm an exceptionally fast typer (90-105 wpm) and this baby never flunks out on me. I've had serious issues with Logitech boards dogging out when I'm in "beast mode," typing reports, papers, etc. I don't get that with my Lycosa.

The extra USB port, as well as headphone and mic jacks also work on the back of the keyboard, because they're just extensions/pass throughs from the back of the tower. When you hook up the Lycosa to your PC, you have two USB ports, as well as a mic and headphone jack to plug in as well.

In conclusion, the keyboard works perfectly out of the box for Ubuntu, unless you HAVE to have the macros. I'm pretty sure you can plug it into a Windows machine for configuration, and then plug it back into your linux box to use them, since your macros are stored in the keyboard itself.

The Razer Imperator mouse also works like a dream in Linux. Since it was first used on a windows machine, the DPI settings were already loaded into the mouse's memory. Once plugged into ubuntu, no software was needed because the Imperator is hardware based. The DPI adjusters on the spine of the mouse still work flawlessly, as well as the extra thumb-buttons for back and forward, or whatever you choose to run there. All of the lights work, and I've had absolutely no mishaps on either device.

I hope this helps at least one person out there. If so, my work here is done. :-)

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