Don’t call me DOM

5 January 2005

Laptop touchpad advanced features

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In my regular reading of Planet Gnome, I stumbled upon the possibility to use more advanced features for most laptop touchpad using the Synaptics driver for XFree86.

The said driver is compatible with my Dell D600 Latitude, but as an ALPS device. To get it to work on my debian set up, I had to:

  1. apt-get install xfree86-driver-synaptics
  2. enable evdev as a kernel module in Device Drivers/Input device support/Event interface
  3. ensure that the support for PS2 mouse was set
  4. apply the patch provided with the drivers package to my 2.6.8 kernel sources in /usr/share/doc/xfree86-driver-synaptics/alps.debian.patch.gz (cd /usr/src ; zcat /usr/share/doc/xfree86-driver-synaptics/alps.debian.patch.gz | patch -p0)
  5. edit my XF86Config file as indicated in the documentation coming with the driver in /usr/share/doc/xfree86-driver-synaptics/README.alps

So, not the simplest operations in the world, but not too horrible either for moderate Linux geeks… And now, I can use the right part of my touchpad to scroll pages, the tap-to-click behavior is more clever, etc.

Picture of Dominique Hazael-MassieuxDominique Hazaël-Massieux ( is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Staff; his interests cover a number of Web technologies, as well as the usage of open source software in a distributed work environment.