ClickPads and Click Actions

Chase Douglas chase.douglas at
Thu Mar 1 00:46:08 UTC 2012

On 02/29/2012 03:32 PM, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> On Wednesday, February 29, 2012 01:11:30 PM Chase Douglas wrote:
>> 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.
> What happens with the right button area on systems that have physical buttons?

There are no changes for devices that have separate physical buttons.

> Generically, it seems to me that the time for changing long standing defaults
> is LTS+1, not LTS.

When the default behavior is so bad that people use external mice rather 
than deal with the trackpad, it's worth it to try to fix things. I see 
clickpad support as a bug fix. The question is at what point does fixing 
the bug take precedence over potential default behavior changes.

I will note you as a vote for "Disable clickpad support by default", 
since that aligns closest with your thoughts here. Let me know if that's 
not accurate.

-- Chase

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