Better Clickpad Support for Ubuntu 11.04

Ever since I got my HP probook 4420s I have been on a search for the Touchpad (or Clickpad as it is called) Nirvana. On Kubuntu 10.10 Out of the box the clickpad was basically useless, right click and middle click did not work. Thankfully though, a work around helped get the most basic functionality working, but lacked multi-touch (even though the clickpad supports multi-touch) Another patch was released which gave clickpad multitouch support but removed right click option (You have to do a 2 finger tab to right click)

Situation under Natty Narwhal

Things did improve under Natty, at least out of the box I got basic multitouch functionalities like finger scroll, two/three finger tab to right click and middle click respectively. However right and middle click is still missing.


There is a work around which fixes most of remaining issues I have with clickpad on Kubuntu 11.04. This work around provides even better Multitouch, right and Middle Click support.

Basic gist of the WorkAround

So words on the street is that Opensuse has very good clickpad support (probably not unrelated to the fact that some variants of the HP Probook ship with Suse Enterprise Linux) so there is a patch which when applied to the synaptic source package fixes the issue. Hence the fix for this involves some command-line. I will try to make it as easy as possible though usual caveat applies: This fix works for me on the HP Probook 4420s, I do not guarantee it would work for anyone else. In fact it might kill your cat.

Work Around.

Open your favourite Terminal (Konsole for kubuntu)
First create a directory (folder) where the package will be built. for the sake of consistency you can call the “build” and place it on your desktop. all that is done with this command

mkdir $HOME/Desktop/build

Next move into the directory just created and download the opensuse patch.

cd $HOME/Desktop/build && wget

Then download the Ubuntu source package for synaptic

apt-get source xserver-xorg-input-synaptics

What the next series of command will do is to move into the directory of the Ubuntu synaptic package just downloaded and from then into a directory named “debian” and another named “patch”, extract the suse synaptic patch and apply it to the Ubuntu synaptic source package. (Honestly its not as confusing as I made it sound. Just follow the commands step by step and you should* be fine)

cd xserver-xorg-input-synaptics*
cd debian
cd patches
tar xfvj ../../../synaptics-suse-patches.tar.bz2
ls -1 2*.patch >> series
cd ../..

Next thing is to build the Ubuntu synaptic package from source, but before that the dependencies needed to get a successful build would first have to be installed

sudo apt-get build-dep xserver-xorg-input-synaptics

Then the actual building of a new synaptic package into a deb for easy installation

dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc -rfakeroot

If everything goes fine, 2 .deb files would be created in the root of the “build” directory (created earlier)
Both can be installed with the follow

sudo dpkg -i ../xserver-xorg-input-synaptics_1*.deb
sudo dpkg -i ../xserver-xorg-input-synaptics-dev*

All that is left now is to log out and log in back (Better still restart) and the clickpad should have both multitouch and right click support

Kubuntu users can go to systemsettings –> Input Devices –> Touchpad to tweak the clickpad to suit their taste.

Known issues

  • Double tapping the LED to disable touchpad still doesn’t work
  • Click and Drag sadly still doesn’t work :(

The work for better clickpad support is still a work in progress on Linux generally. But you can follow the bug here.

Thanks to David Härdeman for providing the documentation for this patch.

Hope this helps someone

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

This entry was posted in KDE, kubuntu, Multitouch, Ubuntu and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Pingback: Enable MultiTouch Support for Clickpad On Ubuntu 10.10 | bigbrovar

  • Matthew Martz

    Worked great! 

    Nice work… much appreciated!

    • bigbrovar

      u are welcome

  • Jorge Pereira

    Thank you. I had been looking for this for quite some time! The right and middle button areas at the bottom of the pad are now working.The only drawback I could notice is that before I could also use “synclient AreaBottomEdge=4100″ to avoid the cursor moving when clicking the bottom button areas, but now that also disables the clicks.

    I also suggest “synclient JumpyCursorThreshold=150″ to take care of jittery cursor.

  • Tesuki

    Is this workaround possible for the Ubuntu 10.04 also?

  • Shawn GG

    Works great on hp pavilion dv6 3124tx. Thank you so much

  • Holland

    Works great on HP DM1z. Thanks a lot!

  • Javier Carrasco Reyes

    Thanks a lot! :D

  • ipeacocks fernando

    hi bigbrovar !
    As I understood after this actions you OS use pm-driver not sinaptic firmware. Or I did not understand right ?


  • hrx

    I am trying this on mint 11. But mint can’t find a source package for xserver-xorg-input-synaptics. Then I took it from ubuntu.  Now I need to execute “apt-get build-dep xserver-xorg-input-synaptics” , but it says it cannot be found

    Any ideas? Could importing ubuntu source repos do the trick?

    • bigbrovar

      for this to work, you have to enable the source repositories. I know some distros disable this by default.  I don’t know how Linux mint source list is. but usually source repositories have “src” infront of them unlike normal repos which have “deb” can you post the output of cat /etc/apt/sources.list ?

  • Mattia C.

    Hi! thanks a lot for your work, now my clickpad it’s working correctly! but i have a little problem.
    When i run “apt-get update && apt-get upgrade” i re-install the original “xserver-xorg-synaptic”  and so i will lose the work around…Any idea to block this update? i tried from “package’s manager” but nothing…

    • bigbrovar

      I had that issue too, what I did was to tell apt to hold the package so that it doesn’t get upgraded. I did this with “sudo aptitude hold xserver-xorg-synaptic ” remember to install aptitude which is not installed by default with natty. sudo apt-get install aptitude. 

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu is wanting to update the touchpad in the Update Manager, should I? Or will it ruin the fix? 

    • bigbrovar

      No update the “xserver-xorg-synaptic” package would over write the workaround and you would lose the right click support. what I did was to tell the package manager to lock down the package and not allow it to update. synaptic allows you to do this. Just highlight the package and go to menus and select lock version.

  • Brieuc

    thank you much for the analysis of  ”touchpad / clickpad”  question  on *ubuntu  10.10  and  11.04 !
    I did not took  the workaround,  but understand  what is going on   (good diagnostic is half-medecine);

    I use LUBUNTU-11.04  on an Hp-mini-netbook with  some  Synclient  parameters  ( jumpCursorThreshold,    palmdetect,   no-2fingerScroll )  and use the pad as a  ”touchPad / tapPad”;  ( tap for click);

    the remaining  problem is that  the  tap/click  is too sensible and  sometimes unexpected,  because  the hp-mini  touchPad  is electrostatic-implemented   (i.e. detect  finger  at 1mm  before  touch );   that needs  some  fine thresholds,  or a more sophisticated  driver;

    but  the enhancing  10.10  to  11.04,   with your explanations,  are very encouraging.

  • Augustin

    thanks for your tutorial – the touchpad works well, but two things stopped working for me:
    1) I’ve got ThinkPad and so the TrackPoint stopped working, although it was working before
    2) KDE thinks there is no touchpad present so although it works I can’t configure it
    Any ideas what to do with it?

    • Nicolò Valigi

      Thank you very much! I’d given up hope on this thing, and in a couple of months I got used to all kinds of glitches when two-finger scrolling and tapping (spoiled by macbook). Tonight I installed this and the open source broadcom driver. my hp tm2 2101has new life now.
      Disabling touchpad doesn’t work for me either (don’t care) but gnome pointing devices recognizes it

  • Pritish

    i updated everything by mistake after applying the patch
    can you tell me what i can do to get back the right click support

    • bigbrovar

      I am afraid you have to go through the process again and reinstall the package. or if you still have the folder where u installed the package before? you can go in there and install the deb generated during the install process :)

  • Talha_f66


    • bigbrovar

      you are welcome, glad it worked for you :)

  • Diego Diez

    Many thanks works as you told in my HP DM1z (3090-la) on ubuntu 11.04

  • LacerdaPT

    Thanks a lot!


  • Nima

    Woohoo works great on my newly bought hp mini dm1 AMD II E350, running U-Natty.
    Thanks man, great job, keep up your good work.

  • Parthrshah

    Hi I have an ASUS laptop and was looking to enable multitouch gestures on the trackpad….I followed the exact same steps…Its not working for me, didnt get any error messages too. Im using natty narwhal. What went wrong?

  • Joshua -

    Trying it in 11.10, keep getting the error below after trying to build

    Applying patch 203-xorg.conf.d_snippet.patch
    patching file conf/50-synaptics.conf
    Hunk #1 FAILED at 3.
    1 out of 1 hunk FAILED — rejects in file conf/50-synaptics.conf
    Patch 203-xorg.conf.d_snippet.patch does not apply (enforce with -f)
    dh_quilt_patch: quilt –quiltrc /dev/null push -a || test $? = 2 returned exit code 1
    make: *** [build] Error 25
    dpkg-buildpackage: error: debian/rules build gave error exit status 2

    • Eddie Risser

      Same here. Hopefully someone smarter than me can figure this out soon.

  • Ginanjar Rahmansyah

    thanks a lot Eduardo, it works fine now :D

  • Jasony

     hey, not sure if this project is still alive, but im trying to apply this patch for 12.04, without much luck… any ideas??

  • Brieucs

    “touchPad / clickPad”    the  right click  is supported  on  Lubuntu 12.10,  now !
    (the remaining  problem is that  the  tap/click  is too sensible and  sometimes unexpected )