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A Gtk+ based joystick test application
C++ Groff CMake

Build Status


jstest-gtk is a simple joystick tester based on Gtk+. It provides you with a list of attached joysticks, a way to display which buttons and axis are pressed, a way to remap axis and buttons and a way to calibrate your joystick.

You can find the latest version at:

Questions, comments and bug reporst can be given to:


Make sure you have the following pieces of software installed (they are part of most distributions):

  • cmake
  • sigc++
  • gtkmm

You can compile it by typing:

$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake ..
$ make


Once compiled you can start jstest-gtk with:

$ ./jstest-gtk

or if you know the device you want to test with:

$ ./jstest-gtk /dev/input/js0

The main window will provide you with a list of currently available joysticks. When you double click a joystick it will display the Test dialog, allowing you to test buttons and axes on the joystick.

The mapping dialog allows you to reorder the buttons and axis. This is useful for example when a game expects the dpad to be on axis 0 and 1, while in reality it is often on axis 4 and 5 on a dual-analogstick gamepad.

The calibration dialog allows you to manipulate some low level details on how the raw axis values are mapped to the joystick device. For example you can inverse an axis, disable an axis or remove its deadzone, to gain more fine control on small movements. This is especially useful as the default calibration values for most joysticks give it a far bigger deadzone then needed, thus reducing your ability for fine movements.

SDL Notes

Depending on what version and what compilation flags where used, your version of SDL might not use the joystick interface at all, but instead use the /dev/input/event* device directly. That means that any calibration or button/axis mapping will be ignored, as those apply to the joystick interface, not evdev.

To work around that you have to set an environment variable that forces SDL to use the joystick device:

$ SDL_JOYSTICK_DEVICE="/dev/input/js0"

When you need two or more joysticks this will not work and you might need to recompile SDL and disable the evdev support.

More info can be found at:

SDL_LINUX_JOYSTICK: Special joystick configuration string for linux. The format is name numaxes numhats numballs where name is the name string of the joystick (possibly in single quotes), and the rest are the number of axes, hats and balls respectively.

SDL_JOYSTICK_DEVICE: Joystick device to use in the linux joystick driver, in addition to the usual: /dev/js*, /dev/input/event*, /dev/input/js*

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