Can I stop Linux from listening to a USB input device as a keyboard, but still capture events with a program?

I have a USB barcode scanner at /dev/input/event0 (/dev/input/by-id/usb-Metrologic_Metrologic_Scanner-event-kbd), and scanning a barcode causes it to send keypress events. I’m capturing these keypresses using the libdevinput Ruby library, which works great. The issue is that each barcode is also entered as a username, and subsequently a password on the Raspberry Pi, causing lots of failed login attempts. (The Raspberry Pi will be headless, and inside a microwave.)

How can I stop Linux from seeing the barcode scanner as an input device, and have my program be the sole event consumer? Or is there a different, better solution?


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Method 1

I found out that I need to send an EVIOCGRAB ioctl to the device, which grabs it for exclusive use.

Here’s how to do it in Ruby:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
BARCODE_SCANNER = "/dev/input/by-id/usb-Metrologic_Metrologic_Scanner-event-kbd"

require 'rubygems'
require 'libdevinput'
require 'ffi'
require 'ffi/tools/const_generator'

# We need access to the file
DevInput.class_eval { attr_reader :dev }

# Look up value of EVIOCGRAB constant
cg ='input') do |gen|
  gen.const(:EVIOCGRAB, '%u', '(unsigned)')

scanner =
# Send EVIOCGRAB to scanner, which grabs it for exclusive use by our process, 1)

puts "Waiting for events..."
scanner.each do |event|
  # Ignore everything except key press events
  next unless event.type == 1 && event.value == 1
  puts "Key: #{event.code_str}"

Note: You’ll need to install the libdevinput gem, ffi, and Linux headers. If you are using a Linux version between 3.2.0 and 3.6.11, you can replace the FFI::ConstGenerator part with EVIOCGRAB = 1074021776, and then you don’t need ffi or Linux headers.

Method 2

Sounds somehow similar to this issue, so I’d try this solution : if I understand correctly your problem, the barcode scanner should appear as a slave pointer of “Virtual core keyboard” when you do

xinput --list

Then maybe getting its ID and forcing it to float could help :
xinput float <id>

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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