Simple SDL joystick test application for the console
C CMake Groff


sdl-jstest and sdl2-jstest are simple programs that lets you find out how many joysticks SDL or SDL2 detected on your system, how many axes, buttons, hats and balls they have each. They also lets you test the joysticks by displaying the events they send or by displaying their current button, axis, hat or ball state. sdl-jstest is especially useful if you want to test your SDL_LINUX_JOYSTICK configuration.


sdl-jstest requires the following packages to build:

  • cmake
  • libsdl1.2-dev
  • libsdl2-dev
  • libncurses5-dev

For building the manpages:

  • docbook2x


To compile type:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

To install (optional):

make install

The DESTDIR and PREFIX can be configured as follows:

make install DESTDIR=/tmp/pingus



The SDL behaviour of what axis is treated as a hat and which as normal axis can be configured with the environment variable SDL_LINUX_JOYSTICK:

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.

A simple example would be:

$ export SDL_LINUX_JOYSTICK="'Xbox Gamepad (userspace driver)' 6 0 0"

Which makes all axis be handled as normal axis and none as hat, as most games don't use hats.