ClickPads and Click Actions

Chase Douglas chase.douglas at
Wed Feb 29 21:11:30 UTC 2012

Hi all,

I'm sending this to both ubuntu-devel and ubuntu-desktop to try to get a 
larger pool of feedback.

I recently added "ClickPad" support in Precise. This is automatically 
picked up by most Synaptics and all Apple Macbook trackpads. It will 
soon be picked up by more Synaptics trackpads and the Apple Magic 
Trackpad. ClickPad support entails the ability to press the trackpad 
with one finger and perform a drag by moving a second finger.

The problem we face is that currently "ClickPad" support conflicts with 
"click actions". Click actions is the term for supporting right button 
behavior by clicking on the trackpad with two fingers. This has been 
supported for years, and has helped people perform right clicks on 
clickpad devices before the clickpad support landed in Precise. 
Unfortunately, we can't have clickpad support and click action support 
at the same time yet (ran out of time for Precise).

One feature that hasn't been turned on by default yet is a right button 
area. On Synaptics trackpads, the lower right area of the trackpad is 
marked as a right button. If you enable the right button area and then 
press with one finger in the area, a right button click will be emitted.

We can enable the right button area by default for all clickpads. The 
problem is that Apple trackpads do not have a marking for a right button 
area, and OS X doesn't provide such a feature. People coming from OS X 
will have to figure out that we a) don't have click action support, and 
b) if you click in the lower right area you will perform a right button 
click. However, people coming from OS X also expect to be able to click 
and drag with two fingers...

Our options are:

* Disable clickpad support by default
* Enable clickpad support, but disable right button area by default
* Enable clickpad support and right button area by default

We can have a different default for Apple trackpads and everything else.

The next Precise kernel will enable clickpad support for all known 
trackpads by default, but right button area remains disabled. Until 
then, you can manually enable support by finding your trackpad device id 
using 'xinput', then running the following scripts:

If you have tried all the options and have an opinion on which option we 
should take, please send your thoughts.


-- Chase

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