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Ubuntu Hacks by Bill Childers, Kyle Rankin, Jonathan Oxer

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Hack #49. Configure a Touchpad

Configure the special functions of your laptop touchpad and start tapping like crazy.

Most laptops today include a touchpad as a method of controlling the mouse pointer. These touchpads have various configuration options that most people aren't even aware of. Here's how to get all these advanced features working under Linux.

Ubuntu includes the synaptics mouse driver by default, and if your laptop's touchpad is detected during installation, it will be automatically installed and configured. The stock touchpad configuration will include some advanced features like double-finger tap support for middle-clicks and using the right side of the touchpad to do vertical scrolling. To really tweak your touchpad configuration, though, you must make a small edit to your X11 configuration, restart the GUI, and install a configuration program.

Preparing Your X11 Configuration

In order to use the configuration program for your touchpad, first you must edit the X11 configuration to add a directive to enable shared memory in the Xserver. If you're fairly new to Linux, we suggest you use the nano editor; otherwise, use the editor of your choice.

Tip

The permissions on the X11 configuration are restricted, so you need to make this change using sudo.

Back up the configuration file first:

bill@lexington:~$ sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.old

Then edit the file:

bill@lexington:~$ sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Once you get the file open, you should see a section pertaining ...

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