In addition to an update to the excellent SC Controller software, it seems there's also work towards getting full Steam Controller support in the Linux Kernel.
Currently, to get proper use out of the Steam Controller you either need the Steam client open, or to use something like SC Controller. However, this could change due to the reverse engineering effort from one hacker. This is actually the second revision to their patches, which cleans it up and implements a few more features.
Part of the problem, is that currently it will show up as multiple different types of devices like a virtual keyboard, a virtual mouse and so on. Here's what the developer of the patch said:
This driver was reverse engineered to provide direct kernel support in case you cannot, or do not want to, use Valve Steam Client. It disables the virtual keyboard and mouse, as they are not so useful when you have a working gamepad.
Working: buttons, axes, pads, wireless connect/disconnect.
TO-DO: Battery, force-feedback, accelerometer/gyro, led, beeper...
They said they are working on a third revision to the patches and there will likely be more work to be done if it is to be accepted. Valve developer Pierre-Loup A. Griffais has been commenting on the mailing list as well to provide some help and ask questions. Part of the issue, is this needs to not break support for the Steam Controller with the Steam Client or other software like SC Controller. Nothing seems set in stone right now in regards to this particular code, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
You can find the information here on the mailing list.