How to use PS3 Controller on Linux: A Comprehensive Guide

How to use PS3 Controller on Linux: A Comprehensive Guide
Photo by Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

If you're a video game lover and a Linux user, you've likely wondered at least once how to use a PS3 controller on your Linux system. Well, we've got good news for you. This guide will walk through, in great detail, how you can use your PS3 controller on Linux and make your gaming experience all the more enjoyable.

After reading this article, using a PS3 controller on a Linux-based computer will no longer be a daunting task. We’ll guide you every step of the way, making the experience simple and convenient.

Why Use a PS3 Controller on Linux?

Does the idea of using a keyboard and mouse to play your beloved video games feel odd? Or perhaps you just want to feel the vibration from an intense car chase in your hands? A PlayStation 3 (PS3) controller can be an impressive option for gamers looking to have a richer and more interactive gaming experience on Linux.

Getting Started: Connect the PS3 controller to Your Linux Machine

The initial step to 'ps3 controller on linux' is getting your controller connected to your device.

Wired Connection

The fastest way to connect your PS3 controller to your Linux machine is by good old wired USB connection. Here's how you do it:

  1. Plug in your PS3 controller into a USB port on your Linux system. Your computer will automatically detect it as a new device.

  2. Install the joystick utility package. This step might necessitate your Linux device's terminal. The joystick package is a set of libraries that will allow your Linux system to interact with the controller.

Here's a quick command to install this utility package:

sudo apt-get install joystick

Once you've completed these steps, your PS3 controller should work flawlessly on your Linux system.

Wireless Connection - Bluetooth

If you want a clutter-free gaming zone and prefer going wireless, connecting your PS3 controller via Bluetooth is your best bet. Follow these steps:

  1. Disable your system's Bluetooth. You'll come to understand why soon enough!

  2. Install the required packages. You'll need the 'sixpair' and 'sixaxis' packages, which you can install with the command below:

sudo apt-get install sixpair sixaxis

  1. Pair your PS3 controller. You'll need to use the 'sixpair' command to pair your PS3 controller with your Linux machine successfully.

  2. Enable your system's Bluetooth and connect! You're now all set for a wireless gaming experience.


Can you feel the breathtaking car chase vibrations in your hands yet? We're confident that after reading this article, 'ps3 controller on linux' is no longer a mystery. Whether you choose to go wired or wireless, gaming on your Linux system with a PS3 controller is sure to take your experience a notch higher. Now go ahead, fire up your favourite game, and dive in – happy gaming!