Thoughts on mouse buttons

Daniel Borgmann spark-mailinglists at
Sun Sep 19 04:10:25 UTC 2004


there are two mouse related issues which bother me right now, but I'm
not sure what can be done about it, so I'd like to discuss this before
filing any enhancement requests. 

The first is emulating the third mouse button. This is currently default
in Ubuntu, but it breaks games. For example in Quake, you can't press
the left and right mouse at the same time and have both actions
executed. That's a deal breaker. :) This is really too bad, because
Ubuntu is shaping up to become a great distribution for geek gamers.
I think the ideal solution would be to make emulating the third mouse
button a userland feature of GNOME, making it possible to enable it from
the GNOME mouse settings and disabling it by default (on X, it does no
harm on the console). But I'm not sure... Of course another solution
would be to ask this at the installation like most other distributions
do, but this just feels wrong to me (just like running dpkg-reconfigure
feels wrong to me).

My second worry is, that no Linux distribution managed to correctly set
up mouses with more than three buttons and a wheel yet. This is really
frustrating, because it's impossible to get right without excessive
googling, editing some obscure config lines and sometimes running an
obscure X command. I can do that, but it's no fun and I wouldn't want to
recommend it to anyone.
Maybe the extra buttons don't seem so valuable to most people, but they
are very important for gamers and they could also be a very valuable
addition to the desktop if it would be possible to map them to certain
shortcut functions or simply to other keys. It just sucks, that every
modern mouse seems to downgrade to a simple three button mouse on
Linux. :/

Is there any hope?

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