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xboxdrv on Arch Linux

Published on 29.11.2016 at 17:30

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I really like Minecraft. What I don’t like, however, is playing it with a laptop keyboard. Among other problems, it requires me to sit closer to the screen than I’d like. So since I had an xbox 360 controller lying around, I decided to see if I could configure it to work with my Arch Linux setup.

A quick google search revealed that there is a fairly mature Linux driver for the xbox 360 controller called xboxdrv. It supports some other controllers as well. It can be installed on Arch Linux via an AUR package.


Click ‘download snapshot’ on the xboxdrv AUR page to download the AUR package. If you’ve not used AUR packages before, I recommend reading the relevant ArchWiki Page.

Move the downloaded tarball wherever you keep your AUR packages (mine are at ~/aurbuilds/), and extract it with

$ tar -xvf xboxdrv.tar.gz

and then cd into the extracted archive. At this point, to be safe, it’s a good idea to have a glance at the PKGBUILD just to make sure everything is as it should be. Be on the eye out for anything resembling ‘rm -rf ~’.

If you’re sure everything is okay, install the package with

$ makepkg -sri

This will require you to enter your password, and to confirm operations a couple of times.


Installing the AUR package gives you a systemd service that you can use to run xboxdrv:

$ sudo systemctl start xboxdrv.service

You can kill it with:

$ sudo systemctl stop xboxdrv.service

And if you want it to run at startup:

$ sudo systemctl enable xboxdrv.service

If you want to disable it from running at startup:

$ sudo systemctl disable xboxdrv.service

This systemd service reads the xboxdrv configuration from /etc/default/xboxdrv, so you can edit that in order to customise the controller’s behaviour according to your needs. Here’s my configuration, which works great in Minecraft. I adapted it from this blog post.

# /etc/default/xboxdrv
# Arch Linux xboxdrv config file, configured for minecraft.

trigger-as-button = true

dbus = disabled

x2^dead:4000 = REL_X:750:-1
y2^dead:4000 = REL_Y:750:-1

x = KEY_Q
y = KEY_T
lb = rel:REL_WHEEL:1:500
rb = rel:REL_WHEEL:-1:500

dl = KEY_A
dr = KEY_D
du = KEY_W
dd = KEY_S

start = KEY_E
back  = KEY_ESC