Getting back/forward mouse buttons working as default

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at
Thu Jan 6 10:15:08 CST 2005

On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 09:44:14 -0000 (GMT), Chris Jones <cmsj at> wrote:
> Hi
> On Wed, January 5, 2005 23:54, Eric Dunbar said:
> > As for imwheel -- it certainly could be used very effectively in a
> > _default_ install of any desktop distro PROVIDED the GUI controlling
> But imwheel is pretty hacktastic and needs lots of per-application
> configuration.

That's _exactly_ why it's a great app with amazing potential. In my
experience, Kensington Mouse Works (for Mac, perhaps also Windows) is
an AWESOME app that does _everything_ that imwheel does (only for
Kensington mice though ;-), but is configurable through an extremely
intuitive interface (I suspect imwheel was modelled after KMW since
KMW pre-dates Linux ;).

imwheel is on the cusp of being able to provide this functionality to
Linux WITH THE SAME EASE OF USE -- the code base and (more
importantly) feature set ALREADY exist in imwheel and are not _that
hard_ to access that is (probably too hard/involved for >50% of
potential users though). All that is needed is an interface to easily
harness its power by:

(a) configuring x11 to (IF NECESSARY) support extra buttons and
running imwheel when x11 is started (EASY);
(b) determining which mouse button sends what signal to the computer (EASY);
(c) determining the "GNOME name" of a particular application (i.e.
what app imwheel has to send a particular instruction too after
intercepting a mouse click) (EASY); and,
(d) configuring what instructions will be sent to an app in response
to a particular click (EASY).

(b)-(d) are all functions provided by imwheel and (a) is something
that's easy enough for *me* to do so a prgorammer could probably whip
up the code to do so in seconds.

Of course, I can say it's "EASY" from my high horse since I'm still a
few years away from possessing the requisite programming skills, but
from my point of view as an intellligent ignoramus most of the hard
work has already been done by the creator(s) of imwheel -- all that's
really needed is a decent GUI to harness its power.

Depending on whether it captures an Ubuntu developer's imagination
this is something that could potentially be in-built into Ubuntu,
setting Ubuntu apart from the other distros (especially if there is a
focus on getting it onto desktops, in FRONT of people's eyes, rather
than behind the scenes where few people really know or care what
happens), or else be a project initiated by some other group or by the
original author/group that built imwheel.

> Fixing up the individual applications to treat more mouse
> buttons sensibly would be far better imho.

It would be useful, especially from the POV of it "just works", but
being able to reprogram your mouse buttons to do what *you* want them
to do is more in line with the configuration philosophy inherent to
Linux (and just because it's configurable doesn't mean that it has to
be hard to do (i.e. CLUI)... I doubt anyone but the hardest hard core
hacker would use the CLUI to configure imwheel if a decent GUI existed

> Personally I really hate the
> buttons draped over every surface of my mouse, but that's just me ;)

Probably *most* people given that Apple has great success with a ONE
button mouse. However, for those who love multiple buttons, you just
can't have too many (I've got five + six and I'd like more!)


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