Sony Releases Official Linux Driver for PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller

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Sony’s Director of Hardware & Systems Engineering Roderick Colenbrander has released a new Linux driver that adds support for the PlayStation 5’s wireless DualSense controller. The driver opens up most of the controller’s core features, such as its motion sensors, motors (rumble), touchpad, and LEDs. Users can also connect the controller via Bluetooth or USB modes.

“DualSense supported is implemented in a new ‘hid-playstation’ driver, which will be used for peripherals by ‘Sony Interactive Entertainment’ (PlayStation),” wrote Colenbrander. “Hid-sony will be used for devices for the larger Sony Group. We intend to migrate existing devices over time gradually to hid-playstation. We do not want to cause any regressions and maintain quality. As such moving forward, unit tests are important and we started by providing these through ‘hid-tools’ including DualSense.”

“The Linux driver exposes DualSense functionality as a ‘compositive device’ similar to DualShock 4 in hid-sony, spanning multiple frameworks. First, it exposes 3 evdev nodes for respectively the ‘gamepad’, ‘touchpad’ and ‘motion sensors’. The FF framework is used to provide basic rumble features. The leds-class is used to implement the Player indicator LEDs below the DualSense’s touchpad, while the new ‘leds-class-multicolor’ is used for the lightbars next to the touchpad.”

Colenbrander noted that the Linux driver does not include support for the DualSense’s more advanced functions, such as Adaptive Triggers and VCM-based Haptics. Unfortunately, it isn’t clear when (or even if) these features will be added, as they require “a large amount of data and complex data structures” that developers haven’t figured out how to expose via current frameworks.

Phoronix pointed out in its coverage that the new driver comprises just over 1,400 lines of the code. According to a previous report, Sony began officially maintaining the Linux input driver for PlayStation devices at the beginning of the year.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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