Yet another USB library for Go
usb package is a cross platform, fully self-contained library for accessing and communicating with USB devices either via HID or low level interrupts. The goal of the library was to create a simple way to find-, attach to- and read/write form USB devices.
There are multiple already existing USB libraries:
- The original
gousbpackage created by @kylelemons and nowadays maintained by @google is a CGO wrapper around
libusb. It is the most advanced USB library for Go out there.
libusbC library to be installed both during build as well as during runtime on the host operating system. This breaks binary portability and also adds unnecessary hurdles on Windows.
- Furthermore, whilst HID devices are supported by
libusb, the OS on Macos and Windows explicitly takes over these devices, so only native system calls can be used on recent versions (i.e. you cannot use
- There is a fork of
gousbcreated by @karalabe that statically linked
libusbduring build, but with the lack of HID access, that work was abandoned.
- For HID-only devices, a previous self-contained package was created at
github.com/karalabe/hid, which worked well for hardware wallet uses cases in
go-ethereum. It's a simple package that does it's thing well.
hidis not capable of talking to generic USB devices. When multiple different devices are needed, eventually some will not support the HID spec (e.g. WebUSB). Pulling in both
gousbwill break down due to both depending internally on different versions of
usb package is a proper integration of
libusb so that communication with HID devices is done via system calls, whereas communication with lower level USB devices is done via interrupts. All this detail is hidden away behind a tiny interface.
The package supports Linux, macOS, Windows and FreeBSD. Exclude constraints are also specified for Android and iOS to allow smoother vendoring into cross platform projects.
go get, the embedded C library is compiled into the binary format of your host OS. Cross compiling to a different platform or architecture entails disabling CGO by default in Go, causing device enumeration
hid.Enumerate() to yield no results.
To cross compile a functional version of this library, you'll need to enable CGO during cross compilation via
CGO_ENABLED=1 and you'll need to install and set a cross compilation enabled C toolkit via
usb package is an implementation from scratch, HID support was heavily inspired by the existing
go.hid library, which seems abandoned since 2015; is incompatible with Go 1.6+; and has various external dependencies.
Wide character support in the HID support is done via the
gowchar library, unmaintained since 2013; non buildable with a modern Go release and failing
go vet checks. As such,
gowchar was also vendored in inline.
Error handling for the
libusb integration originates from the
This USB library is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 (dictated by libusb).
If you are only interested in Human Interface devices, a less restrictive package can be found at