Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard

Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 3 August 2009 at 07:58 AM EDT. Page 3 of 3. 6 Comments.

Linux Usage:

When plugging the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard into a system running Ubuntu 9.04 this USB device was immediately detected as a HID. So do you think with it being detected as a Human Input Device it just began by mapping out the 22 main keys to a portion of a standard keyboard layout? Wrong. It did nothing. There is absolutely no "out of the box" support with the Logitech G13 on Linux at this time. However, there are some steps to manually get this gaming peripheral to work.

A user-written Linux kernel driver for the Logitech G13 can be found here. This driver is currently not in the mainline kernel and is still under development and buggy in different areas -- even to the point of crashing the X Server in some configurations. This driver though does support all of the keys, the mini-joystick, and adjusting the LCD / lights on this device. Though there is no GUI or easy command-line utility for controlling the G13 using this driver. Requested changes need to be written manually to /sys/kernel/g13/ to change the backlight colors, M-key lights, an LCD picture, and adjusting the key map. Adjusting the key map can especially be a pain as the values for all of the keys need to be written out using their four-digital hexadecimal key codes -- this is very different from Logitech's Windows software and the ability to easily store multiple profiles on the device, etc.

We got out Logitech G13 working under Ubuntu 9.04 with this driver, albeit the configuration process is not something that we feel a novice Linux user would be comfortable with and is not nearly as nice as the Logitech software on Windows. As far as how the device worked once we got it functioning under Ubuntu Linux, well, the LCD screen is nice (though with LCDproc support it would be a lot better and more useful) and using this 22-key game pad was nicer for gaming than on a laptop keyboard.


When it comes to the hardware, the Logitech G13 Advance Gameboard is a nice device. Logitech has this configurable 25 key pad that fits very well to the hand with a rubber palm rest and a great contoured design. There is also a mini-joystick on the right hand side of the unit and to top off the product there is the very nice GamePanel LCD. Unfortunately, the Linux experience with the Logitech G13 is far from pleasing. A user-created kernel module for the G13 needs to be built and installed manually and then all of the configuration for the mini-joystick, LCD, and keys need to be setup through the command-line. This is not a joyful user experience and is a hurdle especially for new Linux users. Once the device though is functioning, it is very nice for gaming. The Logitech G13 can be found for about $80 USD at Xoxide.com, which is a bit expensive for such a small keyboard and a device that pretty much will only be used when gaming. However, there is nothing wrong with the product besides the Linux support and its price tag.

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Michael Larabel

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.