📅 January 14, 2020
Look at the colors!
The Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ is a fine mouse that works well with Linux, so how can it be improved? Why, with a new color scheme, of course!
Note: Nobody sponsors this. I found a product I liked and wanted to share the information with other Linux users. Any links to Amazon are affiliate links to help readers locate the item easily and to provide additional information.
Mad Catz released a special R.A.T. 8+ mouse with a gray/gold color scheme called the R.A.T. 8+ 1000 Limited Edition in celebration of their 30th anniversary. It is the same R.A.T. 8+ with up to 16000 DPI but in a different color scheme and packaged in a fancy black box.
Comparison with the R.A.T. 8+
“Is there any difference from the R.A.T. 8+ ?”
Other than the gray/gold color scheme, no. This is the same mouse. It has the same buttons in the same locations. High DPI tracking. Programmable shortcut buttons and RGB LED lights. USB connector affixed to a braided cable. Thumb wheel. The metal base at the bottom and the plastic on the top feels the same.
Programming the LEDs
This is an RGB mouse. Three main LEDs can be programmed using special software available from Mad Catz’s web site. This software lets you customize the lights with a variety of effects and colors (or turn them off completely) in addition to programming the buttons.
Unfortunately, the software is Windows-only. However, you can program the lights and buttons by connecting the mouse to a Windows computer with the special software installed, and then use the mouse with Linux.
The mouse stores up to four unique profiles, each with its own LED and button settings, so you can use it in Linux. The mouse stores the settings, not Windows, so whatever you configure in Windows will appear the same when connected to a Linux system. However, you will need to connect the mouse back to a Windows system to change the lights and profiles.
Programming the Buttons
Like the 8+, every button can be programmed with keyboard shortcuts to your liking, but you must use the Mad Catz Windows software to do so. Up to four separate profiles are stored in the R.A.T. 8+. Pressing the profile button switches profiles. Each profile may contain its own light and button configuration, so you can switch profiles for games, different Linux distributions, or other uses.
For example, one profile can be used to control workspace switching in Linux, while a different profile can be tailored for a game in Windows. Simply plug the R.A.T. 8+ into the computer you need to use and switch to the profile you want. The mouse remembers!
What About Linux Compatibility?
Like the R.A.T. 8+, the R.A.T. 8+ 1000 is 100% compatible with Linux out of the box. Just plug it in and go! There is no need to modify xorg.conf to make the buttons usable like the older R.A.T. mice needed with past versions of Linux a few years ago.
The side target button must be programmed in Windows before you can use it. Since the limited edition is the same as the R.A.T. 8+, please have a look at the article The Customizable Mad Catz RAT 8+ Optical Mouse and Linux for added details regarding button programming and software use not repeated here.
“Must I use xbindkeys and xdotool to switch workspaces?”
No. In fact, I tested this with Linux Mint 19.2, and it switches workspaces fine. However, I needed to first program the mouse in Windows with the Mad Catz software with the Linux Mint keyboard shortcuts that switch the workspace back and forth and then map those shortcuts to the left and right side buttons. Pressing the side buttons sends a keyboard shortcut to Linux Mint, which switches workspaces. The same applies to the Precision Aim Button. Assign it a keyboard shortcut, such as CTRL+ALT+Up Arrow, and Expo view appears.
You can create your own keyboard shortcuts and assign them to the R.A.T. 8+ without needed xbindkeys or xdotool. The effect is the same as pressing the shortcuts on the keyboard. The R.A.T. 8+ will remember your profile settings when power is turned off so you do not lose your settings. Different profiles can be assigned different keyboard shortcuts.
This is a fine mouse, and I like it! It works flawlessly with Linux Mint 19.2, it is comfortable to use, it is customizable, and the color scheme is a welcome change from the standard black.
The only drawback is one that plagues all Mad Catz mice: Windows-only software. If programming software existed for Linux, then this would be the perfect mouse. However, this is a small quibble. It is not often that I find myself programming the mouse, but it would be fun to be able to display different light patterns using a Bash script so that different users can automatically see different LED colors upon log in. Or, change the light scheme based upon the time of day. So many ideas are possible with Linux.
If you like the R.A.T. line of mice, then this might be worth looking into if you seek a different color scheme or something on the higher end of the mouse quality spectrum. Keep in mind that prices for the R.A.T. 8+ 1000 vary due to this being a limited edition, so it is hard to say if this mouse is expensive or inexpensive depending upon what it is compared to and from where it can be obtained.
Other than that,