Introducing evdev-rs

Today I published my first library on, evdev-rs. evdev-rs is a wrapper around libevdev in Rust. It provides us the facility to deal with input devices in a safe way. This post will serve as a tutorial to get started with evdev-rs.

What is libevdev?

libevdev is a wrapper library for evdev devices. it moves the common tasks when dealing with evdev devices into a library and provides a library interface to the callers, thus avoiding erroneous ioctls, etc.

The eventual goal is that libevdev wraps all ioctls available to evdev devices, thus making direct access unnecessary.

Why a libevdev wrapper?

The evdev protocol is simple, but quirky, with a couple of behaviors that are non-obvious. libevdev transparently handles some of those quirks.

The evdev crate is an implementation of evdev in Rust. Nothing wrong with that, but it will miss out on any more complex handling that libevdev provides.

Let’s begin

We will write a simple rust program which uses evdev-rs to get input events from a generic input device and prints them to the stdout. Let’s create a simple project using cargo.

$ cargo new print_events --bin
     Created binary (application) `print_events` project

This will create a basic rust project with a binary. We need to add the evdev-rs dependency to the Cargo.toml at this point and cargo will take care of the rest. The Cargo.toml will look like this at this point.

name = "print_events"
version = "0.1.0"
authors = ["Nayan Deshmukh <>"]

evdev-rs = "0.0.1"

We can try running our application now we will cargo for this, it will first download the evdev-rs library and then compile it and then compile the project and run it.

$ cargo run
    Updating registry ``
   Compiling bitflags v0.7.0
   Compiling log v0.3.8
   Compiling cfg-if v0.1.2
   Compiling gcc v0.3.53
   Compiling void v1.0.2
   Compiling libc v0.2.30
   Compiling bitflags v0.4.0
   Compiling pkg-config v0.3.9
   Compiling semver v0.1.20
   Compiling rustc_version v0.1.7
   Compiling nix v0.7.0
   Compiling evdev-sys v0.0.1
   Compiling evdev-rs v0.0.1
   Compiling print_events v0.1.0 (file:///home/ndesh/print_events)
    Finished debug [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 25.2 secs
     Running `target/debug/print_events`
Hello, world!

Let’s start with some basic evdev code. First, we will open an input device as a File(any file from /dev/input) and then initialize the evdev::Device with this file. Then we will print the name of the device (I choose my keyboard for this). The src/ look like this.

extern crate evdev_rs as evdev;

use evdev::*;
use std::fs::File;

fn main() {
    let path = "/dev/input/event4"; 
    let f = File::open(path).unwrap();

    let d = Device::new_from_fd(&f).unwrap();

    println!("Input device name: \"{}\"",""));

Running this print the device name. Notice that we need to run this as a sudo user because a regular user is not allowed access to /dev/input/event files.

$ sudo cargo run
   Compiling print_events v0.1.0 (file:///home/ndesh/print_events)
    Finished debug [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 0.38 secs
     Running `target/debug/print_events`
Input device name: "AT Translated Set 2 keyboard"

evdev-rs supports most of the capabilities of libevdev(except for logging), you can have a look at a more complex example which exploits more capabilites of evdev-rs. You can also have a look at the Documentation which provides more details about each function.