Synaptics UI change

Scott James Remnant scott at
Sun Feb 24 12:55:34 GMT 2008

On Sun, 2008-02-24 at 10:59 +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:

> Jesus, no, I'm on crack - I missed the fact that the source name had 
> changed. But in any case, this is dreadful UI. One option would be to be 
> more intelligent about whether there's another input device, which I can 
> look into - but if the trackpad is the only input device, or if we can't 
> tell, I'm not going to go with this.
There is no device that I'm aware of that only has a touchpad, and no
other input device.  If you can provide a reference to one, then I'm
happy to take your concerns a little more seriously.

The ability to disable the touchpad is a very common feature request,
not just via ISVs; there are many users who find them intrusive since
they occupy the space where they usually rest their wrists.

(At least one of the users I regularly use for testing Ubuntu was
 positively delighted that they could disable the touchpad now.)

The worst you can do is click the checkbox to disable the touchpad,
realise that you've disabled the touchpad, and use the keyboard to turn
it back on again.

It's no worse than the option immediately below it which lets you
disable clicks with the touchpad -- an equally mythical device might
have a touchpad without any physical buttons that relies on

And it's no worse than the "Mouse Orientation" option which stops your
mouse-click from working -- what happens if you click them when you only
have one mouse button?  We have real devices like that, not just
invented ones.

We have discussed the UI of this widely; including whether this was
suitable for Instant-Apply or whether you should at least be required to
separately Apply the change.

All of the other options are Instant Apply and we think that this makes
the most sense since the (possibly undesired) effect is immediately
obvious -- and can be immediately undone.  A separate Apply button would
mean you could accidentally toggle the option, and not find out until

Your comment of "I'm not going to go with this" seriously concerns me.

Ubuntu is maintained as a team: we develop it as a team, we discuss
changes to it as a team and we maintain those changes as a team.

We do not have Debian-style package maintainers, and we certainly do not
have "I'm going to revert your changes because I don't like it/you/etc."

As a core developer from the earliest days, and as a member of the
Technical Board, you should know this; and especially given the latter,
behave in responsible manner -- not go around demanding developers undo
their work because you don't agree with them.

If there are worries about the change, we have processes for dealing
with them:

First up, we can evaluate the impact of the change.  How many bug
reports is it generating, how many users are reporting issues with it?

I have already been through the bug list of the packages, and could not
find a single one about this issue.  I am subscribed to the bug lists as
per Ubuntu RP so I'll be the first to know of any issues.

As far as I can tell, you are the first person to complain about this --
which I find mildly ironic since last time I saw you, your laptop didn't
*have* a touchpad.

Assuming that the bug isn't causing real problems out in the field, we
can have an open discussion about whether there are simple improvements
that can be made to the UI to improve the experience.

Not just of this option, but the others that might prevent you from
"unclicking" one you mistakenly chose.

I'm happy to make sure that input configuration is on the UDS schedule,
with this particular topic on the agenda -- whether or not we come to a
consensus in the meantime.

If all else fails, and you're determined to remove the checkbox at all
costs - there's the Technical Board to go to to resolve the dispute (you
and I are both members, so we know this!).  To get around the difficulty
of Quorum with two TB members being the disputing parties, I might
suggest that others stand in our place (e.g. Colin Watson and perhaps a
member of the MOTU Council?) or that we ask the Community Council to
rule instead.

Even if the TB can't decide, you can appeal to SABDFL for a decision.

There are plenty of means to discuss, debate and reach consensus on the
ability to disable the touchpad from the UI.  Hopefully this mail can
begin that process.

Honestly though, I fear that the only reason you're objecting to this
change is simply because I uploaded it.  It's the second time you've
reacted like this to one of my uploads.  (I am of course assuming you
don't react like this to other people's uploads.)

I realise that you have various personal issues with me -- but this
should not stop you from being professional within the community and
discussing your concerns and achieving a consensus within it.

Scott James Remnant
scott at
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
Url : 

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list