Latitude X300 & trackpad16 Mar 2005
Like most laptops these days, it has a trackpad. While annoying, trackpads are far less annoying than the alternative – those little button knobs in the middle of the keyboard.
One annoyance though is accidentally clicking the trackpad (which takes as little as a light brush with your thumb), which while typing can have all sorts of unfortunate side-effects .. minimizing the window, closing it, losing focus, etc.
Fortunately, using a combination of hacks, I have tamed the touchpad. (Yes, I am using “touchpad” and “trackpad” alternately. At first, I did it by accident, but now I am doing it on purpose since people will probably search for both, and I want to be Google Friendly!) Specifically, what I was interested in was:
- Disabling the trackpad entirely while I have a USB mouse plugged in.
- Disabling the trackpad temporarily while typing.
- Having a transition between the two states be quick and convenient.
Here’s How I Did It:
- First, you’ll need to get and install the Synaptics touchpad driver for XFree86/Xorg (outside the scope of this document).
- The driver comes with two utilities:
- synclient – this program allows you to change various settings for the touchpad, including disabling it entirely.
- syndaemon – this handy program runs as a daemon and will detect typing and disable the touchpad until the keyboard is idle for a customizable amount of time.
- Customize the following script to your needs. Several things may differ for your specific environment: <pre>#!/bin/bash PATH=$PATH:/usr/sbin:/sbin PIDDIR=/home/cwage/var/run/ SYNDAEMON=/usr/local/bin/syndaemon SYNCLIENT=/usr/local/bin/synclient
while true do
There is probably a better way to look for a running Xserver, but this will
do for now. This exits the script immediately if the X server dies. Prevents
80 million copies of the script hanging around if you restart X.
if [ ! -S /tmp/.X11-unix/X0 ]; then exit fi
This next test is how I test for the presence of a USB mouse on my
system. You could also do “grep -i Mouse /proc/bus/usb/devices” but I
had a bizarre problem with my laptop wherein the mouse actually
disappeared from /proc/bus/usb/devices while I moved the mouse (?!)
Sometimes it’s easier to just pretend some things never happened and
if [ -d /sys/class/input/mouse1 ]; then if $SYNCLIENT -l | grep 'TouchpadOff = 0' > /dev/null; # If we've detected a mouse and the touchpad is on, turn it off # and start syndaemon then start-stop-daemon --stop --pid \ $PIDDIR/syndaemon.pid --exec $SYNDAEMON $SYNCLIENT TouchpadOff=1 fi else if $SYNCLIENT -l | grep 'TouchpadOff = 1' > /dev/null; then if ! ps auxw | grep syndaemon | grep -v grep > /dev/null; then $SYNCLIENT TouchpadOff=0 start-stop-daemon --background -m --start --pid \ $PIDDIR/syndaemon.pid --exec $SYNDAEMON -- -i 0.2 fi else start-stop-daemon --background -m --start --pid \ $PIDDIR/syndaemon.pid --exec $SYNDAEMON -- -i 0.2 fi fi sleep 3 done
- Put this script in your .xsession or something that gets executed when you first log into X. It will run and constantly monitor for a USB mouse, or a lack thereof, and do the right thing. Voila!