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.

Anyway since the updated Xorg 7.4 running onto the freshly delivered 8.10 Intrepid Ibex version of the Ubuntu and Kubuntu distros those “old” instructions aren’t valid anymore.

But Carlo’s a smart guy and has already provided a new procedure which he tested and should therefore run smoothly on your laptops.

As far as Carlo’s concerned it seems that the problem is the enabling of SHMConfing within an untrusted environment which is share among different users. It follows that the safest way to enable the two-fingers scrolling is use an XML file for the Hardware Abstraction Layer with the setting for this function.

The file must contain the following code:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
    <match key="input.x11_driver" contains="synaptics">
    <merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">On</merge>
    <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton2" type="string">3</merge>
    <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton3" type="string">2</merge>
    <merge key="input.x11_options.VertTwoFingerScroll" type="string">1</merge>
    <merge key="input.x11_options.HorizTwoFingerScroll" type="string">1</merge>

And it must be saved as:


If you’re no Linux overlord just follow these plug ‘n’play instructions:

1- Download this file already cooked by Carlo and save it in your home folder (i.e. /home/TheOneElectronic)

2- Open up the console, check you’re in your /home and type:

sudo cp 11-synaptics-options.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy/

3- Restart the computer (it’s not enough to restart X)

The two-finger scrolling should now be working

Further option: how to enable (Q)GSynaptics e SHMConfig

If you happen to be the only user of your pc you could anyway enabling GSynaptics (QSynaptics for KDE) you must create the file /etc/hal/fdi/policy/shmconfig.fdi containing the following code:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
 <deviceinfo version="0.2">
 <match key="input.x11_driver" string="synaptics">
 <merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">True</merge>

And here’s the simplified version:

1- download this file already prepared for you and put it in your /home

2- Open up the console, check you’re in your /home and type:

sudo cp shmconfig.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy/

3- Restart the computer

4- search and install (Q)GSynaptics with Synaptic or Adept

That’s all folks!


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!