Synaptics and USB mouse simultaneously (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 05 Feb 2008

Synaptics and USB mouse simultaneously

A month or so back, I spent some time fiddling with the options for the Synaptics touchpad driver. The Alps (not Synaptics) trackpad on my laptop has always worked okay with just the standard PS/2 mouse driver, but in recent kernels it's become overly sensitive to taps, registering spurious clicks when I'm in the middle of typing a word (so suddenly I'm typing in a completely different window without knowing it).

I eventually got it working. I tried various options, but here's what I settled on:

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Trackpad"
        Driver          "synaptics"
        Option          "SHMConfig"             "true"
        Option          "SendCoreEvents"        "true"
        Option          "Device"                "/dev/psaux"
        Option          "Protocol"              "auto-dev"
        Option          "MinSpeed"              "0.5"
        Option          "MaxSpeed"              "0.75"
# AccelFactor defaults to .0015 -- synclient -l to check
        Option          "TouchpadOff"           "2"
        Option          "Emulate3Buttons"       "true"

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Configured Mouse"
        Driver          "mouse"
        Option          "CorePointer"
        Option          "Device"                "/dev/input/mice"
        Option          "Protocol"              "ExplorerPS/2"
        Option          "ZAxisMapping"          "4 5"
        Option          "Emulate3Buttons"       "true"

Life was groovy (I thought). Fast forward to LCA, a few days before my talk, when I decide to verify that I can run my USB mouse and the slide-advancing presentation gizmo through a hub off the single USB port. Quel surprise: the USB mouse doesn't work at all!

I didn't really need a mouse for that presentation (it was on GIMP scripting, not GIMP image editing) so I put it on the back burner, and came back to it when I got home. As I suspected, the USB mouse was working fine if I commented out the Synaptics entry from xorg.conf; it just couldn't run both at the same time.

A little googling led me to the answer, in a thread called Can't use Synaptics TouchPad and USB Mouse -- it wasn't the first google hit for synaptics "xorg.conf" usb mouse, so perhaps this entry will help its google-fu. The important part I was missing was in the "ServerLayout" section:

        InputDevice     "Trackpad"              "AlwaysCore"
        InputDevice     "Configured Mouse"      "CorePointer"

Adding "AlwaysCore" and "CorePointer" parts was what did the trick. Thanks to "finferflu" who posted the right answer in the thread.

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[ 22:54 Feb 05, 2008    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

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