Using Corsair Mice / Keyboards on Linux without iCUE

Using Corsair Mice / Keyboards in Linux without iCUE - ckb-next
Using Corsair Mice / Keyboards in Linux without iCUE – ckb-next

When I replaced my old keyboard I decided to get a keyboard with Cherry MX Quiet switches as I love mechanical keyboards but wanted to cut down on the noise. It’s still fairly loud but it’s definitely much quieter than my non-quiet models I’ve used before.

I had used Corsair keyboards before in the past on Windows but not since I had switched my main desktop to Linux. Unfortunately when I connected the keyboard the RGB was stuck on a solid red with no way to change it.

Fortunately there is an amazing replacement in Linux called ckb-next that is available in most major Linux distribution’s repositories. In this guide we’ll cover how to get the utility and what it can do.

Let’s begin!

Hardware Used

Corsair Strafe RGB MK-2
Corsair Strafe RGB MK-2

The Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has USB Passthrough and quiet Cherry MX Red switches

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Getting ckb-next

The name of the utility on most Linux distributions will be ckb-next. For example I’m using PopOS and ckb-next shows up right in the software center like this:

Pop Shop (Software Center) - ckb-next
Pop Shop (Software Center) – ckb-next

You may also do a:

sudo apt search ckb-next

If you cannot find a package for the utility the home page for the utility is located here on GitHub.

Available Options

Lighting

The lighting options are the screenshot shown at the top of the article. It updates live as the colors are changing on the keyboard and lets you control the effects like you would expect to be able to do in iCUE.

Binding

Here you can set the key bindings / actions similar to iCUE:

ckb-next Options - Binding
ckb-next Options – Binding

It’s excellent that this feature is in the software. You can change all of your key bindings here.

There are many different options available. Look at the row of tabs. You can also bind to mouse actions, animations, special, macros and more.

Performance

Here are the performance options:

ckb-next Options - Performance
ckb-next Options – Performance

These are mostly related to lighting.

Device

You can do firmware updates in the device tab! This is actually available on Linux. You can alternatively set the poll rate and language:

ckb-next Options - Device
ckb-next Options – Device

You may also switch the layout to different languages here, view your serial number and change the polling rate.

This is also a place you can check for firmware updates manually. The very bottom button that on mine says “Up to date” will allow you to check for and apply updates.

Settings

The settings tab contains settings mostly related to ckb-next itself:

ckb-next - Settings
ckb-next – Settings

Of note here we can set it to check for firmware updates automatically. I also have my lights on my keyboard set to turn off after 5m which is very nice. It cuts down on light pollution in the room when the computer is not being used.

Conclusion

The ckb-next utility is a must-have for anyone who owns a Corsair keyboard/mouse and wants to use Linux. The moment you install the utility your lighting (and other controls) will begin working normally again on your keyboard/mouse essentially.

The utility lets you update your mouse / keyboard firmware as well. That’s a surprising feature that works well and even detected my new keyboard was already up to date. I definitely recommend it for anyone using Linux!

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