Bits and pieces about free software and various other things.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Powerful synaptics

I just discovered how easy it is to set up some simple multitouch gestures with synaptics. I heard some rumors that you can have multitouch gestures with (nearly) every notebook touchpad you want, but I never tried until now.

(Images from

I followed this tutorial, it's german but I think everyone will be able to find a tutorial in english. If not, just read the "man synaptics", you'll find the synaptics options for xorg.conf with good explanations.

What I don't like is: why hiding these things in xorg.conf? Its powerful but only for power-users. I think we should have this in mouse preferences to! (probably the feature does already exist, I don't have the latest version of gnome yet)

Fancy fancy :) Try it out...

UPDATE: With the new Xorg coming with Ubuntu 8.10 and others, the settings I talked of are banned from xorg.conf. Now hal is the part that controls these things. If you want to set up synaptics via hal, you have to put a *.fdi file under "/etc/hal/fdi/policy".


Anonymous said...

You don't need to edit your xorg.conf to configure your synaptic touchpad.

All configurable parameters can be manipulated with the command line tool synclient which usually comes with the xorg synaptics driver.

I don't have a touchpad right but if I remember well, changing a setting is as simple as

synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1

Mart Raudsepp said...

There has been no good standard input driver configuration from userspace support until recently. Now there are X properties support on input drivers, which I think will be there for xorg-server-1.6. We should work on top of that to standardize some properties amongst drivers, and based on what propeties exist create appropriate UI and configuration in GNOME mouse properties, I think.

Dennis Fisher said...

There is *some* GUI for some of the touchpad settings floating around somewhere. I don't have a GNOME-able laptop right now (300MHz with no network card and only 64 MB of RAM), so I couldn't find install and test it, but I think it was gsynaptic or gsynaptics.

Michael Kanis said...

You know of gsynaptics, right? Just put SHMConfig on in the HAL fdi file and configure the most important settings via GUI. No text file hackery. ;-)

Flex said...

I know...but when I'm already hacking the file to enable shmconfig I can set my 3 things in the same instance too =)

Govind Salinas said...

Does anyone have a sample fdi file. I am only really interested in the two-finger scrolling support.


Flex said...

you can find one here:

just scroll down a bit and you will find the sample config for 2finger vert and horiz scroll!

put the sniplet in the folder /usr/hal/fdi/policy, the name of the file is not so important, mine is called synaptics.fdi

for more options just go through "man synaptics" and write the options in the same manner as in the example file!

Blog Archive

View My Stats