Google Hangouts Meet Speakermic Getting A Linux Driver To Address Mute Button Quirk

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 1 May 2022 at 06:23 AM EDT. 10 Comments
The Google Hangouts Meet Speakermic is a device manufactured by ASUS that allows for 360 degree sound input/output designed for Google Hangout usage and allows daisy-chaining up to five of these speakermics together for use in large conference rooms. A Linux driver is on the way for the device just to address a mute button issue.

The Google Hangouts Meet Speakermic is a high-end device in the $300~400 USD range designed for use primarily within conference rooms for providing superior audio capturing and listening capabilities. The Hangouts Meet Speakermic has active echo cancellation, background noise management, and other features.

A Linux driver has landed in HID-next for the Hangouts Meet Speakermic to address a problem with its HID event usage under Linux. In particular, incorrect mute button handling. The device otherwise seems to work fine on Linux with the existing common code paths.

ASUS Google Hangouts Meet Speakermic

This is just a ~55 lines of code driver needed to deal with a misbehaving / poorly designed mute button. A code comment on the simple driver explains:
This driver handles the telephony phone mute HID usage by ignoring it. This avoids the default handling by the hid-input driver which is to map this to a KEY_MICMUTE event. The issue is that this device implements the phone mute HID usage as a toggle switch, where 1 indicates muted, and 0 indicates unmuted. However, for an EV_KEY event 1 indicates the key has been pressed and 0 indicates it has been released.

Thus this simple driver has landed in for-next of the HID subsystem ahead of the Linux 5.19 kernel cycle. This is another example of where eBPF usage for the HID subsystem could potentially be used as an alternative to yet another simple driver for dealing with device quirks.
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