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Sony to officially support the PS5 DualSense on Linux with a new driver

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Roderick Colenbrander of Sony Interactive Entertainment has sent in a brand new and official Linux driver for the PS5 DualSense for even better out of the box support.

With the newly proposed driver, it enabled the DualSense to function in both Bluetooth and USB modes along with most other features working including LEDs, Touchpad, Motion Sensors and Rumble. However, they make it clear that the Adaptive Triggers and VCM-based Haptics are not yet supported but they hope to "have a dialog on how to expose these over time in a generic way".

Here's how the describe it will work:

DualSense supported is implemented in a new 'hid-playstation' driver, which will be used for peripherals by 'Sony Interactive Entertainment' (PlayStation). 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.

This will be really nice to make it into the Linux Kernel, as the more we have working out of the box the better. While Steam and SDL2 can already work with it, not everything goes through them of course and it would open up the DualSense to all sorts of other possibilities.

I'll eventually be grabbing myself a DualSense, so I'm keen to see how it feels.

Hat tip to MrPenguin.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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27 comments
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Julius 28 Dec, 2020
Seems like if proper support is added then this might be the closest current thing to the great, but sadly discontinued Steam controllers. Sony definitely took up a lot of similar ideas and maybe refined them further.


Last edited by Julius on 28 December 2020 at 11:31 am UTC
whizse 28 Dec, 2020
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Intriguing! Pretty cool to see support from Sony themselves, or did they already support the DS4 in a similar way and I missed that fact?

As long as the trigger and haptics stuff lands I'll probably grab one too.
Linas 28 Dec, 2020
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I wonder what the motivation of Sony is? Their consoles do not run Linux, and they only have a few games published on Steam. Has Sony done anything out of kindness of their heart ever?
nattydread 28 Dec, 2020
Quoting: LinasI wonder what the motivation of Sony is? Their consoles do not run Linux, and they only have a few games published on Steam. Has Sony done anything out of kindness of their heart ever?

Well I had linux running on my fat PS3 for a while, just out of curiosity really.
Sony eventually dropped support for that but its interesting that they allowed it for a while. Their console OS is based on BSD I believe so they are *nix-like.
Mountain Man 28 Dec, 2020
Quoting: JuliusSeems like if proper support is added then this might be the closest current thing to the great, but sadly discontinued Steam controllers.
I still think the Steam Controller is the best controller ever made. I wish other manufacturers had followed Valve's lead with touch pads instead of joysticks.
slaapliedje 28 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: whizseIntriguing! Pretty cool to see support from Sony themselves, or did they already support the DS4 in a similar way and I missed that fact?

As long as the trigger and haptics stuff lands I'll probably grab one too.
I actually think they did, but they decided to create a new driver for the DS5.

This makes me wonder if they're planning on releasing some native games on their own for Linux. How cool would that be. Otherwise, are they doing it to sell more controllers? I'd buy one if it had great Linux support, yet at the same time it'll probably be a year or more before I buy a PS5.

Edit: This means if I had a PS5 controller and Atari updates the kernel on the Atari VCS, I could use the controller there (the PS4 controller works flawlessly there). Granted I actually do really like the Atari controllers as well.)


Last edited by slaapliedje on 29 December 2020 at 3:28 am UTC
Mountain Man 28 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeThis makes me wonder if they're planning on releasing some native games on their own for Linux.
This is certainly possible and perhaps even likely. Otherwise, you're correct, supporting Linux just to sell a few more controllers doesn't make a lot of sense. Unless Linux is their development platform, and it literally costs them nothing extra to release a Linux driver.
The_Aquabat 28 Dec, 2020
nah I think they are making this driver for the Chromebooks, there is a huge market on Chromebooks in the US and now you can game on those with Stadia. Chromebooks is still Linux.
slaapliedje 28 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: The_Aquabatnah I think they are making this driver for the Chromebooks, there is a huge market on Chromebooks in the US and now you can game on those with Stadia. Chromebooks is still Linux.
But how likely is it that Chromebooks get brand spanking new kernels? Sure Google could back port them, but why would Sony specifically try to give Google money? Plus Stadia comes with it's own controllers?

Quoting: Mountain Man
Quoting: slaapliedjeThis makes me wonder if they're planning on releasing some native games on their own for Linux.
This is certainly possible and perhaps even likely. Otherwise, you're correct, supporting Linux just to sell a few more controllers doesn't make a lot of sense. Unless Linux is their development platform, and it literally costs them nothing extra to release a Linux driver.
Their development being possible on MS / Linux makes the most sense, actually. Guess the real question is, is this driver also going to be created for the BSDs?

I mean the fact that Steam no longer has it's own controller being made.. and that the DS5 has some very special features, I think Sony's idea would be to get support in some PC games so that people will want to buy these controllers for all their gaming needs. If they get special support, it's a form of lock-in if you think about it. And I know at least for me, if there is some weird gimmick in a controller, I'll probably end up buying it, as I like oddball controllers! Hell, I bought one of these! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbdgIktZaGY
Mountain Man 28 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeAnd I know at least for me, if there is some weird gimmick in a controller, I'll probably end up buying it, as I like oddball controllers!
The PS5 controller is certainly a sharp looking piece of gear and attractively priced. The only thing I don't like about it is the placement of the sticks. I think Nintendo and Microsoft got it right with offset joystick placement.
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