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ZMK State Of The Firmware #1

Pete Johanson

Pete Johanson

Project Creator

Welcome to the first ZMK "State Of The Firmware"!

With interest and Discord activity growing, it seemed important to lay out the progress made recently, current major bugs/showstoppers, and planned next steps.

Recent Activity#

There's been lots of various activity in ZMK land!

  • Nicell (nice!nano creator) contributed initial RGB Underglow (#64) support to ZMK.
  • Tons of documentation work.
  • Refactoring (#73, #74) of keymaps to make them simpler for users.
  • Mod-Tap Behavior (docs coming!) is much improved (#69) and usable now.
  • An initial script was created, allowing users to quickly bootstrap a "user config" setup and push it to GitHub, where GitHub Actions will build the firmware for you.
  • Corne shield (#80) shield definition was added.
  • Initial encoder support (#61) was added.

Bugs and Showstoppers#

Despite the flurry of activity, there are still some serious bugs and show stoppers that potential ZMK users should be aware of:

  • Bluetooth Related - There are several key bugs and fixes needed, including one complete show stopper:
    • Fully working split wireless is not working. In particular, both split halves can properly pair, but once they do so, pairing with the _central_ host will not work. Workaround: You can currently have both halves pair, and use USB on the central side (Left side right now for Kyria, Corne, Lily58) and receive HID events over USB. - Fixed in 8b61beb.
    • BT bond information is not currently stored to the devices, so after powering off or restarting your device, users need to re-pair
  • USB - There is one important USB related bug which is a showstopper:
    • The Zephyr USB stack does not have a built in queue for endpoint data being written. As a result, HID events sent by ZMK are sometimes dropped, or lost. - Fixed by careyk007 in #93.

Next Steps#

There's plenty of places to go next! To help keep folks in the loop for what's next, I've created a Core Functionality project/kanban board in GitHub, where users should be able to get some visibility into items being focused on.

Of course, at the top of that list currently is the above bugs/showstoppers, and then from there, I hope to:

  • Work on power management.
  • Improve our documentation on various aspects of the system, mostly around:
    • End user documentation for understanding how to use ZMK, better installation docs, etc.
    • Developer focused documentation, so interested contributors can start building out more behaviors and ZMK functionality.
  • Implement true "hold" detection, useful for several behaviors such as Mod-Tap and Layer-Tap.
  • Hopefully acquire a proper and official USB Product ID for use for the project.
  • Fun things that come up along the way!


A big thanks for everyone who has shown interest in the project, tested things, asked questions, and contributed PRs (Nicell, CrossR, careyk007).