Enable MultiTouch Support for Clickpad On Ubuntu 10.10


NB

if you are on U|K|Xubuntu 11.04 there is a better workaround were both right / middle click and multitouch works and works way better than this. Although I don’t know if same would work on Ubuntu 10.10.

One thing admire about Macbooks is their Multitouch enabled Touchpads which allows for advanced gestures like pinch to zoom, double tapping to right click, Two finger scroll etc.  I recently bought a new laptop which did not ship with the traditional laptop touchpad but with something called a clickpad.

The Good News

Clickpads are the latest innovations from Synaptic (Not the package Manager Gui ) It replaces the traditional touchpad which is convention with most laptops.  It is  (From what I read)  suppose to bring better gesture support and (Mac like) multitouch. Unlike tranditional Touchpads which has 3 physical button, built with single touch in mind. The clickpad is just one Click Button which has been mapped into Zones (i.e there is the right and left click zone etc)


Naturally this should mean that all the awesome gesture support I have always admired about Macs is finally available for my laptop?

The Bad News

Well not Quite. Support the for clickpad on Ubuntu is still a bit flaky (to say the least). Not only are advanced features like enhanced gesture support and multitouch not available out of the box on Ubuntu. Other basic features like right clicking, horizontal scrolling, click and drag etc can be quite a hassle. On Ubuntu 10.04 some of the basic features have been fixed (although multitouch support is still lacking).

Same thing can not be said of Ubuntu 10.10 because there was a regression which make it impossible to right click using the touchpad. Already a bug has been filled concerning the issue and I wrote about a work around which works quite well.

Ray of Hope

It came yesterday when I stumbled on this bug report . Some (Awesome) dude created a package which brings basic Multitouch support for Clickpad on *buntu 10.10 . According to him

“the attached dkms package should provide multitouch support for a family of synaptics touchpads. Install and reboot. Please report both success and failure here. Thanks!”

source
And from feed backs there seems to be more success than failures.

Installation, configuration and Caveats

Installation

is very easy, Just download the deb package here and download click to install. Once installed, Reboot

Configuration

If everything goes well, Out of the box you should get basic multitouch goodness like two finger tapping to right click. To get more you have go a step further.

Kubuntu users

should head over to Systemsettings  > Input Devices > Touchpad Go to the “Scrolling” section and enable “Vertical Two Finger Scrolling” (There are other options there like “Horizontal Two Finger Scrolling” which I did not enable cause I am not really sure what it does, if you do please let me know how it goes :p) Then head over to the next Tab called “Tapping” what I did was to enable tabbing, then I went on to map Two fingers tapping to the Left click action menu and mapped three fingers tapping to the Middle key Touchpad Again there are couple of options that can be set but I choose to limit myself by what I felt I needed.

Ubuntu users

Go to System > Preferences > Mouse > Touchpad and select “Two-finger scrolling”.

When all is set and done I logged out (rebooted? I can’t remember) and Voilà! I am able to use basic Multitouch support like two finger scrolling, three fingers to right click, three fingers to middle click. And my work flow? It increased by 50% percent (well more or less)

Caveat

While I hate to be a kill joy, I have to say that Ubuntu support for Clickpad even with this patch installed is not yet Nirvana. There are still some draw backs and advance gestures support like pinch to zoom are still not yet supported. Here is a list of what works and what doesn’t

What works

  • Two Finger Scrolling
  • Two fingers tapping to right click
  • Three Fingers Tapping to Left click

NB There are lots of configuration (at least on Kubuntu) I only enabled the ones which made sense to me and which I was certain I needed hence this should not be seen as a conclusive list of which gestures are supported.

What doesn’t work

  • Pinch to Zoom: Simply does not work period
  • Traditional Right click: there is a regression with Ubuntu 10.10 which make it impossible to right click using the clickpad. I wrote about a work around this bug a while back Unfortunately the fix for the clickpad right click issue is not compatible with the patch that enabled multitouch. Hence the user has to pick which they are comfortable with. Either you still with the Traditional (single touch) Touchpad where right and left click are supported. Or you go with the Multitouch Clickpad where right | middle click is not supported (At least the traditional way)

I choose to stick with the latter .As many users most have noticed, the right click support in my work around is quite flaky, and pretty annoying sometimes. I have been using the Multitouch package now for 2 days and the difference is clear, while it might not be as smooth as the Mac experience (Yet), Its a generation better than the situation in my previous workaround. Just remember that this is a work in progress and Work is been done to bring an even better support to the next version of Ubuntu 11.04. It is important to subscribe to this bug report and follow its progress. With all the activities and work going into clickpad and multitouch on Linux both upstream and downstream, the only way is up :)

NB:

If you applied the patch (which enables right | middle click for clickpad) in my previous post. You need to remove it for the multitouch patch to work. You can remove the pmouse patch by doing the following

sudo dkms uninstall -m psmouse -v 2.6.35-22-generic
sudo dkms remove -m psmouse -v 2.6.35-22-generic --all

Reboot (not sure if that is necessary but its not bad to play it safe), and then install the Multitouch patch.

Hope someone finds this useful.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This entry was posted in Clickpad, Gnome, KDE, kubuntu, Multitouch, Ubuntu and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Dov

    I’ve always had 2 finger middle click, 3-finger right-click on my touchpad in older Ubuntu versions, Fedora and in Arch. I just install gsynaptics and have the settings there. I can also enable the scroll bars on the edge of the touchpad or two fingered scrolling. Come on. This has been available for at least 3 years.

    • / bigbrovar

      Well if you read the post. you would notice that the focus point is Multitouch support on clickpads. And not Multitouch support on Linux generally.

    • yargs

      This is not a problem that everybody has. You are one of the lucky ones that has full support with gsynaptics out of the box. But, believe me, MANY of us were going mental…

  • yargs

    I think it’s also useful to note that Henrik Rydberg, the person behind this bugfix, also set up a ppa to ensure full support. If you want to add it to your list of ppa’s in Ubuntu, just type
    “sudo add-apt-repository ppa:utouch-team/utouch && sudo apt-get update”
    without the quotes, write your password when prompted, and voila!
    respect Mr Rydberg!

    • / bigbrovar

      Thanks for the feed back. after adding the repo. what packages needs be install?

  • http://twitter.com/sda1986 Stefano De Angelis

    If you want to know my 4year old Asus laptop has this double finger scroll too, double tap too other i cannot find out. And It works since ubuntu 1004 or 9.10 i don’t remember

  • Eriro

    Thanks, mate!

    I really was going cracy with my laggy clickpad and noone else was able to use my pc without becoming totally annoyed.

    Now it works like a charm and let’s be honest, who “needs” pinch-to-zoom?! Not really worth mentioning when you compare it to the overall (non-)performance before.

  • Anonymous

    That Sounds interesting, i agree with you. Please keep at your good work, I would come back often.

    Abercrombie&FitchA&Fabercrombie clothing

  • Anon

    worked for me on my acer aspire one. thanks.

  • Pepy

    Works Perfectly for ubuntu 10.10

    • Anonymous

      Were you able to click and drag. It seems that both of the workarounds don’t enable click and drag for me. I’m running Ubuntu 10.10 64 bit on an HP DV6 laptop with a synaptics clickpad.

      • Agostinimik

        First i wonna to say ‘Thanks!’ because with this post (and the first) i was able to do great jump foreward!
        I gained click and drag, but i lost ‘left-click’.
        I’m running Ubuntu 10.10 64 bit on a pavillon DV6 3013, someone else in my situation?
        I repeat: thanks Bigbrovar!

        • / bigbrovar

          Left click works very fine here, what I have issues with is right click which does not work when this patch is installed.

          • Agostinimik

            I understood. I’ll try others options. Can you tell me how to unistall this patch please?

          • http://bobby.com.ng bigbrovar

            Easy, just remove the synaptics-dkms package. sudo apt-get remove synaptics-dkms and reboot

          • Agostinimik

            Unistalled, rebooted, installed, rebooted. This patch makes the best compromise on my pavillion dv6, thanks bigbrovar. My hope is on you to use in the future my pc at his best! :)

      • / bigbrovar

        unless I don’t get what u mean by click adn drag, because it seems to work here. I can click something and drag it around

      • Id_ima

        Previous patch (psmouse-2.6.35-22-generic) has successfully solved “right-click” problem with my HP Pavilion DV6 and Ubuntu 10.10. So thank you for that patch. Recently I found out the Henrik Rydberg’s solution of the multitouch problem (bug #308191). I followed your instuctions (uninstalled, removed old patch and then successfully installed synaptics-dkms-1.1.1-all.deb). But after reboot my touchpad (sorry, clickpad) works the same old-fashioned way (“right-click” doesn’t work, scrolling with double fingers doesn’t work, butsimultaneous double finger touch work like “right click”). I’ve got 2.6.35-27 kernel but build process finished succcssfully. Could you advise something?

  • dazza76

    Great fixes my jumpy clickpad running on Mint 10 (Meerkat)
    Dazza76

    • / bigbrovar

      Glad it worked for you :)

  • http://www.ivankristianto.com Ivan Kristianto

    Nice article mate. Unfortunately i don’ have multitouch support for my old notebook. So cannot try it. But definitely try it when i got one.

    • / bigbrovar

      Thanks :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Mikeladze/100000025890219 Tim Mikeladze

    I’m getting this error when trying to install on EasyPeasy Ubuntu 10.10

    DKMS make.log for synaptics-1.1.1 for kernel 2.6.32-28-generic (i686)
    Sun Feb 27 00:36:18 PST 2011
    make: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.32-28-generic’
    CC [M] /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/psmouse-base.o
    CC [M] /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/synaptics.o
    In file included from /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/synaptics.c:28:
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:21: warning: ‘struct input_mt_slot’ declared inside parameter list
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:21: warning: its scope is only this definition or declaration, which is probably not what you want
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h: In function ‘input_mt_set_value’:
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:23: error: dereferencing pointer to incomplete type
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:23: error: ‘ABS_MT_FIRST’ undeclared (first use in this function)
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:23: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:23: error: for each function it appears in.)
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h: At top level:
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:27: warning: ‘struct input_mt_slot’ declared inside parameter list
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h: In function ‘input_mt_get_value’:
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:29: error: dereferencing pointer to incomplete type
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/input-mt.h:29: error: ‘ABS_MT_FIRST’ undeclared (first use in this function)
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/synaptics.c: In function ‘set_slot’:
    /var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/synaptics.c:490: error: implicit declaration of function ‘input_mt_slot’
    make[1]: *** [/var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build/synaptics.o] Error 1
    make: *** [_module_/var/lib/dkms/synaptics/1.1.1/build] Error 2
    make: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.32-28-generic’

    • / bigbrovar

      I guess that is because (from your kernel version) the easypeasy you are using is based on Ubuntu 10.04 which ships kernel 2.6.32* by default. In any case this is only guaranteed to work with Ubuntu 10.10 with kernel 2.6.35*. also not that this multitouch patch is not compatible with the patch that enables right and middle click on clickpad, afaik the right and middle click patch was applied out of the box to Ubuntu 10.04 which could be another reason why the patch did not work

  • rooftapp

    Hi,

    First of all, thanks a lot for the info, this is a big problem for Linux users. Now, I’m also using a DV6 Pavilion, and I can’t seem to get this working. I’ve googled about 2 hours but I can’t find an answer, I think the synaptic drivers aren’t loaded, although the touchpad works (movement, right and left click, not scroll, not multitouch). I tried installing gsynaptic, fooled around with xorg.conf.d, but I can’t even see a “Touchpad” option in System->Preferences->Mouse. Any idea?

    Cheers

    • http://bobby.com.ng bigbrovar

      This guide is limited in scope to Clickpad and not the traditional touchpad which ships with most laptops. It is not guaranteed to work unless your laptop is using a synaptic clickpad.

  • http://twitter.com/JPtja Jacob

    Finally I found this page, got my multitouch dell for a few months and finally it works ;D
    Thank you!!

  • Anonymous

    wow this worked great. I’m running ubuntu on a Eee PC 1005PE and this is the only way that I could get the two-finger scrolling to work all the time.

    But since I’m running gnome, the options for configuring the mouse were pretty poor. So I went and installed gpointing-device-settings (which is the successor to gsynaptics) using sudo aptitude install gpointing-device-settings. And then there were a lot of configuration options available and it seems to work really well now.

  • http://profiles.google.com/oli.nagy Olivér Nagy

    After I installed the Ubuntu 11.04 distro upgrade, the clickpad stopped working.
    The solution was easy, though: I simply disabled and enabled the clickpad in System > Settings > Pointing devices, and it was working perfectly again.

  • http://twitter.com/g007le Anthony Perez

    Thank you for this article. I had a problem where placing two fingers on the trackpad made the cursor shake wildly across the whole screen. Your guide solved my problem :) . I also want to thank the guy that sent me here, mynameistux from irc, because he’s the one that informed me about your blog in the first place. He said he knew you..

    • http://bobby.com.ng bigbrovar

      thanks for the feedback. and yeah mynameistux is a good friend. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.schulze Matt Schulze

    I am using Ubuntu 11.04 on a DV7 and after installing the synaptics-dpks I can scroll with two fingers and two finger tapping right clicks. However I can’t click and drag windows up or down very well. In order to click and drag my finger has to stay on the bottom left portion of my touchpad(left click button) so dragging things vertically is a very time consuming process.

  • Anonymous

    i wish it had the same level of customization for ubuntu that it does for kubuntu, but i am fine with the default settings. works like a charm, this makes computing so much easier ;) thanks!

  • Yourcomputerpal

    I still cannot seem to click on things and resize them with ease. As soon as I click on something and then go to drag the corner while it’s still clicked the hold on the corner lets go and the mouse jumps to where I touched on the touchpad :) Any hints?

  • Swiftarrow9

    Hey!  Thanks for this post!  It seems that the multi-touch issue is fixed (maybe this patch is integrated or something) in Ubuntu Natty.  However, there is no documentation saying how it works.  In Ubuntu, you enable two-fingered scrolling just as you’ve outlined above, and then you wonder how things are supposed to work now!!!  I was about to give up when I found your post, giving the secrets:

    Two finger tap to right-click
    three finger tap to middle click

    Thanks!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S7IG5JTAEIACJPCTIQWPA6YSHQ Nishantha Pushpa kumara

    thanks for the help…! :)

  • http://www.alejonext.co Alejandro Ñext

    if only two fingers scrolling. And what happened to all the other gestures?

  • Sandyjoe1876

    OOOOh, finally it worked…..thank you sooooooooooooooooo much……