Saturday, June 20, 2015

HID and MSI keyboards

MSI keyboards

I have a MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 2QE I’m very proud of. It’s sexy and powerful. It comes with a fancy and configurable backlit keyboard.

There’s a tool called SteelSeries Engine for Windows we can use to change the colors of the keyboard. It supports several features:

  • changing colors of three parts of the keyboard (left, middle and right) ;
  • changing modes (normal, breathe, wave, demo, gaming).

Unfortunately, that software doesn’t work on Linux, even with wine. I tried hard to make it work and never actually found a way to run it. Then, I decided to look for alternatives and… found nothing working.

Yesterday, I tried a node.js-powered tool called msi-keyboard. And it worked. However, the interface and user interface was not my cup of tea. I decided to dig in in order to understand how it works, and I decided to write my own tool with a decent interface.

HID access

The key idea is that such keyboards are just HID devices. As a Haskell programmer, I looked for something that would grant me access to such devices, but nothing was working. There’s a hidapi package, but it doesn’t work and has bugs.

I didn’t give up though. I wrote my own Haskell HID API binding, called hid. Several good things about it:

  • it does work ;
  • it’s simple ;
  • I lately wrote a software using it.

Feel free to install and use it!

msi-kb-backlit

Then, I wrote another Haskell package, msi-kb-backlit. It might require super user rights to work. If you’re not a Haskeller, you can find installation details here.

Note: if you use Archlinux, you can directly download msi-kb-backlit through the AUR! Search for msi-kb-backlit with yaourt, or download the tarball.

The software has an embedded documentation to help you tweak with colors and modes. ;)

Feel free to use all those pieces of software. I made them with love for you all!

Enjoy your week end, and keep the vibe!

9 comments:

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  2. Heh...I just knew someone would make a better answer for this...

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  3. hey do you think HID keyboard device can make my steelseries ps/2 keyboard didn't work. bc the light color won't change even I restart my laptop. can you help me?
    I'm using win 10

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