Mac-flavored two-fingers scroll for any Linux touchpad

20 10 2008

I’m speaking to you, proud possessor of a Ubuntu based laptop. Have you ever been mocked by your Mac pal ‘cause she/he could scroll web pages with an elegant and trendy two-fingered movement on the touchpad? Well, I have just discovered that the same advanced Mac feature is present on the vast majority of the Synaptics touchpads.

My good friend Carlo, of the Italian technology podcast Tecnica Arcana, posted a quick tutorial, in Italian, on his blog Court of Misanthropy. By reading it I’ve noticed that it’s pretty simple to apply the modification needed to activate the two fingers scroll feature. I’ve followed the tutorial which worked perfectly. I must admit that now when I scroll pages with two fingers my touchpad behaves quite weirdly. Often the page leaps forward of a big amount of lines. Then when the scroll reaches the end of the page it’s impossible to scroll up with the two finger gesture because when doing so the page keeps bouncing backwards. By the way this issue is likely to be related to my own touchpad model or to some other configuration. My friend Carlo and other people who followed his tutorial have found no problem with this feature.

Let’s start the quick guide. You basically need to add a few lines to your xorg.conf file and install a controller from the repositories. I’ve done this tutorial on my Packard Bell laptop with distro Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron.

1- let’s backup xorg.conf

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.copy

2- open xorg.conf

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

3- go to the section “input synaptics” and add the following three lines at the end of the section (just before “end section”)

Option “SHMConfig” “on”
Option “VertTwoFingerScroll” “true”
Option “HorizTwoFingerScroll” “true”

The section will resemble something like this

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Synaptics Touchpad”
Driver “synaptics”
Option “SendCoreEvents” “true”
Option “Device” “/dev/psaux”
Option “Protocol” “auto-dev”
Option “HorizEdgeScroll” “0”
Option “SHMConfig” “on”
Option “VertTwoFingerScroll” “true”
Option “HorizTwoFingerScroll” “true”

4- install gsynaptics from the repositories (you will then found it under system/preferences).

gsynaptics is an application which allow you to adjust the setting for your touchpad. You can also enable the single finger and two fingers tapping which respectively recreate the left mouse button and the press of the mouse scroll wheel (it opens a new tab in firefox)

5- reload X with ctrl+alt+backspace (or restart the system)

If you are an Italian speaker you can watch a youtube video tutorial on Carlo’s blog. More than this I strongly recommend you to listen to Tecnica Arcana podcast which is a simply outstanding podcast rich of interesting technological discussion.

Let me know if you found this guide useful!




15 responses

22 10 2008

Thanks for the plug, Gabriele! 😉

22 10 2008

You’re more than welcome Carlo!
Thanks to you for sharing such useful information.

8 11 2008
Verical Scrolling on (K)Ubuntu touchpads updated to 8.10 « Wiz And Chips

[…] Verical Scrolling on (K)Ubuntu touchpads updated to 8.10 8 11 2008 Not so many days ago my good friend Carlo posted a column on his blog court of misanthropy with the instructions to enable the Mac flavored vertical finger scrolling on Ubuntu and Kubuntu laptops. You can find my plug of his article here. […]

7 09 2009
Mary Aloe

New here. Thanks

Mary Aloe
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7 09 2009

Thank you for visiting my blog Mary.

31 05 2010
8 08 2012

How do you check if your system is compatible with 2 finger scroll? I added the option and its not working. I verified I added it with synclient -l.

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