Wii U Gamepad Driver For Linux Remains In The Works

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 19 May 2021 at 06:11 AM EDT. 2 Comments
While the Nintendo Wii U game console is approaching a decade since launch and has already been discontinued for several years, work towards a mainline Linux kernel driver for properly supporting the Wii U gamepad continues.

There has been the libdrc.org open-source project for supporting the Wii U gamepad under Linux but a proper kernel driver with mainline ambitions has been in the works more recently with the latest code having been volleyed today.

This "wiiu-drc" Linux driver is for supporting the Wii U gamepad when connected via wireless to the DRH of the console (details on the Wii U gamepad hardware architecture here). The DRH is an internal chip that in turn exposes it as a USB device. The kernel driver exposes it as a conventional game controller with the buttons and sticks then working under Linux.

The Wii U GamePad also has a touchscreen display as well which this driver should support. This Wii U DRC kernel driver was initially published earlier this month while the latest spin of it can be found via this patch series. In addition to the basic controller support, there is also working battery reporting, accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer readings with this wiiu-drc driver.

This driver should be useful for those wanting to get Linux running on the Wii U game console. The Nintendo Wii U console still seems available in some refurbished/used sales channels for $230~280 USD for those looking to experiment with Linux on it, granted the hardware specs aren't all that exciting in 2021 with a PowerPC 750 tri-core processor, 2GB of RAM, etc, but at least has a fairly interesting gamepad.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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