Razer Arctosa Keyboard
Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 4 May 2009. Page 3 of 3. 9 Comments

Performance:

A few years back there was a promise by Razer to bring their drivers and peripheral configuration software to Linux (and possibly even make it open-source), but sadly nothing had panned out. There have been a few third-party projects such as RazerTool to try to create an open-source Razer configuration utility for their different mice, but to date none of those projects have really been successful or lasted. When using their mice though, still the experience under Linux is fantastic as they produce a great product.

When it comes to Razer keyboards under Linux, Razer Inc provides no support but the keyboard will work. The user will be without the ability to use the Razer keyboard profiles or use the other customization options, but all of the standard functionality is there. When plugging this USB 2.0 keyboard into any standard Linux distribution it should be properly detected as a Razer USA product. To some surprise, even the multimedia keys were working on Linux "out of the box" with Ubuntu 9.04! All of the multimedia keys were submitting an event when analyzing the input with xev, and they all worked on the GNOME desktop successfully. The mute and volume adjustment controls worked just fine with GNOME and then the play/pause/stop/forward/next worked with Rhythmbox and other applications without any configurations at all. The only key not working on this keyboard was the Razer profile switching.

We tested out the Razer Arcosta keyboard when gaming with titles like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Nexuiz, and Sauerbraten. Besides gaming, the keyboard was also used when using standard desktop applications like OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Pidgin. The keyboard worked out well and exhibited no problems.

Conclusion:

While it would be nice to have the Razer profiles work on Linux along with support for macro customization and other features provided by the Windows-only software, Razer is not the only vendor producing gaming keyboards without support for Linux. However, even without Razer's backing this keyboard had worked under Linux even when it came to all of the multimedia keys. We were pleased to see the multimedia keys working instantly on Ubuntu 9.04. When using the keyboard the experience was great and there were no issues to speak of. Speaking to the aesthetics of this keyboard, they are nice but there is nothing particularly unique about them. The build quality is great for the Razer Arctosa and this keyboard should last a while. At Internet retailers like Xoxide you can find the Razer Arctosa for around $45 USD, which is not that bad of a deal at all considering other gaming keyboards can be much more expensive.


About The Author
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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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