How to Make Linux Use an Xbox Controller

Written by cory lewis
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How to Make Linux Use an Xbox Controller
Configure your Xbox controller to your Ubuntu computer. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Linux is a basis for many operating systems that, unlike Windows and OSX, are free and highly customisable. Ubuntu, one of the more user-friendly Linux distributions, is one popular variant. Within Ubuntu, you can configure your very own Xbox 360 controller for use on your computer in just a few steps without the need for extra software.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Xbox 360 controller
  • USB adaptor (optional, for older model controllers)

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  1. 1

    Open the Menu bar and find "Terminal." Open it and type in the following:

    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-uname -r build-essential automake1.9

    Hit "Enter." This will compile and install necessary drivers and packages.

  2. 2

    Type in the following the in same Terminal window:

    sudo apt-get install jscalibrator libgii1 libjsw2

    Hit "Enter."

  3. 3

    Enter the following in Terminal:


    mkdir xpad

    Hit "Enter." This command will create a directory for the module that will allow you to use your controller in Ubuntu.

  4. 4

    Paste the following into Terminal:

    cd xpad

    wget "" ""

    Hit "Enter."

  5. 5

    Navigate to the Menu bar and find "Text Editor" or a similar program. Paste the following into the file:

    KERNEL_PATH?=/usr/src/linux-headers-$(shell uname -r)

    EXTRA_CFLAGS=-I$(shell pwd)



        $(MAKE) modules -C $(KERNEL_PATH) SUBDIRS=$(shell pwd)


        cp -f xpad.ko /lib/modules/$(shell uname -r)/kernel/drivers/input/joystick

    Save the file and name it "Makefile."

  6. 6

    Enter the following into Terminal:


    sudo make install

    sudo modprobe -r xpad

    sudo depmod -a

    sudo modprobe xpad

    Hit "Enter." This will compile the controller module. If an error message is displayed, please review the steps and make sure you did not miss anything.

  7. 7

    Connect your controller to your computer via USB. Open Terminal and type "dmesg" and hit "Enter." A description like "Xbox 360 Controller" should appear. If so, you are done.

Tips and warnings

  • This method is written for Ubuntu but should work in similar fashion for other Debian-based distributions.

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