[Trisquel-users] Free software friendly Gamepads

onpon4 at riseup.net onpon4 at riseup.net
Fri Aug 29 14:06:36 CEST 2014

Most are fine. What you mainly need to watch out for is compatibility with  
Linux. The Linux Joystick Driver works with XInput (the non-standard API used  
by Xbox 360 controllers), and any USB HID class controllers will of course  
work (it's a USB standard).

The only source of incompatibility I have come across (though there may be  
more obscure ones I don't know about) is DirectInput, a non-standard API used  
by DirectX. Controllers that send DirectInput data can't be recognized by the  
Linux Joystick Driver. The biggest offender I have come across when it comes  
to using DirectInput is Logitech, though I think most of their recent  
controllers have an option for XInput. However, I'm sure there are other  
controllers that send DirectInput data.

If a controller is said to work with Linux, or advertises being a standard  
USB HID, you can get it without worries (other than the quality of the  
controller, of course).

If Linux is not mentioned, you might be able to find other clues in user  
reviews. For example, USB HID is a standard supported by all operating  
systems, so if someone mentions not being able to use the controller on a  
Mac, you can be pretty sure it won't work on GNU/Linux either. If you are  
unable to pinpoint for sure whether something is compatible with Linux, make  
sure you buy from someone who will accept a return for a refund if the  
controller is of no use to you.

I recommend avoiding Logitech controllers; Logitech has absurdly terrible  
customer support, and both of the Logitech controllers I've had in the past  
broke in a weird way after a couple years (they stopped holding a  

Other than that, I'll comment on some controllers I've used (including some  
comments about quality):

- Gravis Gamepad Pro (USB version): Standard USB HID. D-pad is a little  
mushy, but pretty decent, and the buttons are perfect. You would have to get  
it used (it hasn't been manufactured in over 10 years), but they seem to have  
held up well.

- PS3 Sixaxis or DualShock 3: Standard USB HID, with the minor problem that  
the button and axis configurations are absurd. The tilt sensors work, though  
this is actually kind of annoying when configuring controls. Rumble feature  
on the DualShock 3 is non-standard, so it doesn't work. Most buttons are also  
axes, which is a little annoying, but usually doesn't seem to cause problems.  
D-pad is excellent, analog sticks are decent, and buttons are perfect, but  
the trigger buttons are pretty crappy.

- Snakebyte Final Fantasy XIV controller: Standard USB HID. Rumble feature is  
non-standard, so it doesn't work. As far as I know, the "Function" button  
also doesn't work. D-pad is not very good, but analog sticks and buttons are  

- Logitech controllers: I've had two of these; one used only DirectInput, and  
therefore didn't work with Linux, and one used either DirectInput or XInput  
(controlled by a switch). Both of them were in general good controllers, but  
they both stopped consistently holding a connection after a couple years. I  
recommend staying away from Logitech controllers because of this experience.

- SNES controllers: The Mayflash SNES Controller Adapter is a standard USB  
HID, and works perfectly. The Gtron adapter is also a standard USB HID, but  
seems to be much lower quality, so I don't recommend it. I can't vouch for  
any other similar adapters, since I have only used these two. One thing to  
note, some SNES controllers made by Nintendo just don't seem to work with  
these adapters, for some reason. This seems to be the fault of the  
controllers, not the adapters.

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