Belkin Switch2 & Linux

The Belkin Switch2 is a range of KVM switches to switch between 2 computers. Some of the range support usb keyboards and mice and include stereo audio switching, it is these particular models which are of interest.

Software isn't required for out of the box functionality but it can be used to enhance it. Belkin have released software for Windows & Mac that allow the audio and video to be switched independently. Belkin haven't released official software for Linux. This is problem for me as I wanted to use the KVM with a Window and Linux machine.

So I did a bit of searching. In other parts of the world the Switch2 range is know as Flip. The hardware is the same just a different name. Some kind person has created a Linux application called 'flapjack' , a command line utility to perform the joint or independent switching functions.

It requires "Device Drivers > HID Devices > /dev/hiddev raw HID device support" to be compiled into the kernel to work (Tested with Gentoo-sources kernel 2.6.22-r2). Just build the package and your ready to go. It's simple and it just works.

4 Replies to “Belkin Switch2 & Linux”

  1. Here’s a thought that’s vaguely related to computer interconnection thingies. I’ve recently aquired an “HD ready” TV complete with HDMI socket. My PC has an HDCP compatible graphics card with a DVI-I socket on it, so I was musing on purchasing a DVI to HDMI cable to attempt to get a decent picture from my PC (rather than relying on the frankly shit composite video TV output).

    But being as the DVI won’t actually be outputting proper 1080p do you think it will work? If so will it be able to display at least 1024×768 with the correct aspect ratio? I know you can get those laughably expensive scaler things to scale up to 1080p but is it strictly necessary?

  2. DVI is capable of outputting a 1920×1080 resolution, I think it would probably be 1080i rather than 1080p but the difference shoudn’t be too obvious. If you cant do 1080 res try 1280×720. A hdmi socket is basically dvi with audio connections built in.

    The cable is basically plug and play. All you need to do is tweak the computers gfx settings as if it were any other monitor. Find out what the native res of the screen is and set the pc to output that. Not all HD Ready tvs are native 1080.

  3. Hi Quantum. Thanks for your post! I am facing the same problems ie use the KVM with a Window and Linux machine so I installed the flapjack. I am lost at the:

    It requires “Device Drivers > HID Devices > /dev/hiddev raw HID device support” to be compiled into the kernel to work (Tested with Gentoo-sources kernel 2.6.22-r2). Just build the package and your ready to go. It’s simple and it just works.

    How do I do it?

    thanks a bunch!!!

  4. Ok, first thing I need to know is are you using Gentoo? If the answer is yes then the you need to make sure that when you are compiling the kernel that the /dev/hiddev raw support is compiled in. The path of “Device Drivers > HID Devices > /dev/hiddev raw HID device support” relates to the menu system you see when you run “make menuconfig” to setup your kernel, thr ‘>’ dictates another layer of the menu options.

    If you are not using Gentoo then things may get a little tricky. It would appear that a kernel patch may have been submitted in the past which would allow the Switch2 to be supported by more recent kernels. Any recent Linux distribution should support it out of the box. Running “sudo lsusb” from the command prompt should show you they usb devices recognised by your system. “Belkin Components F1DF102U/F1DG102U Flip KVM” is what I get.

    Just need a few more bits of information if you are still experiencing a problem.
    Are you getting any error messages when you try to run flapjack? Which Linux distribution and version are you using?

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