In the past Razer has not officially supported Linux for their various gaming mice such as the Copperhead or Krait and the support for the Tarantula keyboard is no different. Razer only provides Windows drivers and software and efforts to have Razer provide Linux drivers or open-sourcing their software have failed thus far. Even without any official support, the Razer mice we have tested have worked with various Linux distributions without fault -- you just loose many of the extra features found within the Razer software. In addition, a RazerTool SourceForge project allows the Copperhead to have different profiles and other features. For our purposes today we had connected the Razer Tarantula keyboard to a gaming system that was running Fedora Core 6 with the Linux 2.6.18 kernel.
After quite a bit of tinkering, the Razer Tarantula would work fine when it comes to standard functionality (even the media keys had worked fine); however, the extra function keys and other abilities featured by Razer Synapse had (as expected) not functioned. The media keys used standard key codes known by X, which was a delight to see. When it came to using the keyboard for standard functionality, it had worked fine as we tested it with Enemy Territory, Doom 3, and Quake 4 as well as standard usage within GNOME 2.16. With the exception of the various special features for the Razer Tarantula, the keyboard had worked fine with Fedora Core 6. The USB hub integrated with this keyboard was detected as a Genesys Logic USB 1.1 hub.
While it is unfortunate that Razer does not officially support its products under alternative operating systems, when functioning as a standard keyboard the Tarantula had worked flawlessly with Linux. Among the features you lose are profile switching, key maps, and any benefits from interchangeable keys. However, you are still left with a very high quality keyboard that features top-notch construction and looks incredibly sleek and overall an excellent design. Another shortcoming with this keyboard is the USB 1.1 hub as opposed to going with the 2.0 standard. When it comes down to it, the Razer Tarantula is a very badass gaming keyboard with its intuitive design and high quality construction. However, with some missing features under Linux it makes it harder to justify the $100 USD price tag. When it comes to the hardware itself our only complaints was the use of a USB 1.1 hub, requiring two USB plugs, and only the function keys being backlit -- not the standard keys.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 7 / 10