new macbook air 4,2: trackpad support

Joshua Dillon jvdillon at
Wed Aug 3 22:36:58 UTC 2011

Hi Chase, thanks for getting back to me.  (I was horrified I would be
introuble for using the wrong list!)

Well, I never heard from Henrik so I modified it myself and it does
seem to work now...

Here is the patch I made:

And here is the build directory with the patch applied and a .deb:

I don't know how to commit this is as the bcm5974-dkms/HACKING file
just says "use bzr to sync with launchpad" and I don't know how to do

Hope this can be helpful to others.

I should add that I had to add to /etc/rc.local:
modprobe -r usbhid && modprobe bcm5974 && modprobe usbhid

Blacklisting usbhid (and also adding it to /etc/modules) didn't work
as per some chatter in the forums.  Is there some proper way that this
load dependency should be resolved?  Please just point me in the right
direction and I can figure it out.

Also, while I have your ear, I am not entirely convinced applesmc is
reading things correctly.  Is Henrik also the point of contact on
this?  Again, I don't mind doing the leg-work but I am having a very
hard time figuring out where to begin to get everything supported....



On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 6:14 PM, Chase Douglas
<chase.douglas at> wrote:
> On 07/28/2011 06:38 AM, Joshua Dillon wrote:
>> Hi all.  I am having trouble figuring out where to assign my bug to
>> and haven't had luck figuring this out from the forums. Apologies if
>> this isn't the best place to ask--I have no experience with brand-new
>> hardware and am not quite sure how to proceed.  (Usually can find some
>> kludge to get along but in this case I seem to have new-to-everyone
>> hardware.)
>> I have the new 2011 macbook air 13" ("MacBookAir4,2") and everything
>> works out-of-the-box except for the 2nd gen sandybridge intel video
>> (which has a bug filed by Robert Hooker; cf. postscript) and the
>> multitouch trackpad.
>> The trackpad works for moving mouse cursor and primary click but it
>> doesn't register in the xorg log file as a multitouch device (hence no
>> gestures or most importantly right-click).  I have inserted the most
>> recent bcm5974 module and tried out two different xorg drivers
>> "xf86-input-mtrack" and "xf86-input-multitouch" but I believe they
>> need kernel support to work.
>> I believe the bcm5974 driver is the likeliest candidate to provide
>> support for this apparently new trackpad.
>> Should I file a request that bcm5974 support the MacBookAir4,2
>> trackpad?  Is there a more appropriate driver to file it against?
> Your intuitions are correct :). This is likely an issue of bcm5974
> needing to be updated for your trackpad. The best thing to do would be
> to send an email to Henrik Rydberg <rydberg at> and CC
> linux-input at Henrik is the maintainer of the driver, and
> he can likely resolve this issue with little effort.
> If you get the issue resolved, please forward patches here as well so we
> can look into cherry-picking them for Ubuntu. Otherwise, Oneiric may
> ship without support in the default kernel. The deadline for this is
> fast approaching though, so no guarantees.
> Thanks!
> -- Chase

Joshua V. Dillon
College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
765-532-4643 / jvdillon at /
"If you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
   -- Conan O'Brien

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