Two Logitech Devices, One Receiver - Linux Edition

I came up on a sweet Logitech K520 wireless keyboard last week, and decided it would be a nice addition to my laptop setup. I already had a Logitech wireless mouse hooked up, and I knew from previous experience that I could hook both peripherals up to one receiver. It should have been easy.

Logitech gang

Has anyone else noticed that Logitech holds a monopoly on wireless computer input devices?

"Should have been easy." Boy, are those dangerous words for a tech-in-training.

I got home and fired up my laptop, and before I started fiddling with anything I paid a visit to Good Ol' Google. Figured I could get the procedure down beforehand, then breeze through it and get to typing.

I was greeted with a list of scripts, programs, and message boards. I visited the forum at AskUbuntu and quickly learned that Logitech only supports their Unifying software for Windows and OS X, so Linux requires a workaround. 

One option was booting into Windows, setting up the devices, then switching into Linux. Booting into Windows was out of the question, so I looked for another solution. Solaar sounded good, and it had a GUI, so I downloaded that and ran it. It found my mouse instantly – but couldn't identify my keyboard. Weird.

I noticed that the screen read “nano receiver”. I looked that up, and lo and behold – a nano receiver can only connect to one device at a time. I tried to run other scripts from the terminal, to no avail. I couldn't even trick the receiver into pairing with only the keyboard. It knew the mouse, and wanted the mouse, and wouldn't be friends with anyone else.

Now I was stuck, because that was the only receiver I had, and clearly it wasn't playing nice.

I gave up on the effort for a few days. Out of the blue my friend, who has easy access to a ton of electronic goodies, asked me to do a side data entry project for him. I agree, on condition that my payment is my favorite beer (Ninja vs. Unicorn Double IPA) and a Logitech receiver that will recognize my keyboard. He just happened to have an unused unifying receiver right at his desk. Score!

Excited to get this show on the road, I ran home and plugged in the unifying receiver and – nothing happened. It didn't even recognize my mouse. I open Solaar – it found the keyboard, threw a low battery warning, then got stuck in a “scanning” stage. What the hell??? Fine, I'd just use the ltunify command. FAIL. Even sudo couldn't get that one to work.

I finally went back to my trusty Ask Ubuntu resource and tried the script, an executable I downloaded last time I gave this a try.

It worked!!

In comparison with the time it took to load Rails, this was a fairly short and painless ordeal. I'm always up for a chance to play around in terminal, anyway.

Thank you, kind souls who wrote those scripts, and those who shared the solutions in one easy to find place. I couldn't have done this without you.

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