Saturday, 3 November 2012

Bodhi Linux - Control Google Earth Flight Simulator with XBOX JoyPad

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  22:19 2 comments


I was recently asked the question whether it is possible to control the Google Earth Flight Simulator with an XBOX controller within Bodhi Linux.

I'm not sure how orthodox the following solution is but it kind of works. The solution is very similar to my article about how to use an XBOX controller with a Spectrum Emulator in Linux Mint.

Installing Google Earth in Bodhi

To install Google Earth follow these steps.

1. Open Midori
2. Enter into the address bar
3. When the Bodhi Application Center loads enter Google Earth into the search box.
4. Look for Google Earth in the results list and click the link
5. A description of Google Earth will be displayed with an Install and Download link.
6. Click the Install Now button.
7. A dialog box will appear asking you whether you want to install Google Earth.
8. A progress bar will appear showing how far through the installation is and then Google Earth will be installed.

Setting up the XBOX Controller to work with the Google Earth Flight Simulator

There are three things that need to be done to get the XBOX controller working with the Google Earth Flight Simulator. The first is to unload the xpad driver. The second is to install xboxdrv and the third is to load the QJoypad utility and map the Google Earth keys.

Unload the xpad driver

1. Open a terminal window (Click Applications -> Accessories -> Terminology)
2. Type "sudo rmmod xpad"

Install xboxdrv

1. Within the terminal window enter "sudo apt-get install xboxdrv"
2. A load of text will scroll up the screen. (Leave it running)

Install Qjoypad

1. Open a new terminal window
2. Type "sudo apt-get install qjoypad"
3. When asked whether you want to install qjoypad enter Y.
(If the package can't be found follow the alternative instructions below)

Install Qjoypad alternative instructions

2. Click on the binary link.
3. Accept the download.
4. Open a terminal window and type "sudo dpkg -i qjoypad_4.1.0-1~getdeb1_i386.deb".

Run Qjoypad

To use Qjoypad

1. Select Applications -> Games -> Qjoypad.
2. A little joypad icon will be displayed (Probably next to the wireless icon on the taskbar).
3. Click the little joypad icon.
4. Now you need to map the keys to functions on the joypad. Click Add and enter a name of the layout.
5. Open into the address bar of Midori.
6. Click Quickset within Qjoypad.
7. The idea now is to map each joystick function on the XBOX joypad with a corresponding key specified as a keyboard key in the Google Earth documentation.
8. Click up on one of the joysticks on the joypad and press the up arrow on the keyboard.
9. Click down on the same joystick on the joypad and press the down arrow.
10. Repeat the process mapping each joypad function with a keyboard function. 

Run Google Earth

1. Select Google Earth from Applications -> Internet
2. Select tools -> flight simulator from within Google Earth.
3. Now your XBOX controller should control all the functions that you mapped within Qjoypad.

Note that you will still need to use some keyboard functions because there aren't enough directions and buttons on the joypad.


It has to be noted at this point that I am rubbish at using flight simulators so I spent a lot of time heading towards the water but the joypad was actually working. Whether it is working correctly is up to you to decide. It certainly works correctly in other games and in the Spectrum emulators.

If anyone has a better solution to this problem feel free to link to it via the comments section below.

Click here to buy Bodhi on DVD or USB

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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  1. Many, many thanks! Can the Xbox controller by used to navigate menus within the Bodhi OS?

    1. The quick answer is yes. I have done this on my retro gaming machine. I will add a guide at the weekend.


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