Thoughts on mouse buttons

Jan Morén jan.moren at
Sun Sep 19 04:51:47 UTC 2004

On lör, 2004-09-18 at 21:27 -0700, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 19, 2004 at 06:10:25AM +0200, Daniel Borgmann wrote:
> > 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).
> I've thought about this myself.  The middle mouse button isn't needed for
> any critical actions in our desktop UI as far as I know, so even if the user
> had a two-button mouse, they would be OK without emulation.  If middle mouse
> button actions are important to someone, they're likely to have a three
> button mouse.

Open link in a new window/tab. I use it constantly.

> Of course, this is configurable, and it's only a matter of what to choose by
> default.  The question is, which is more common among (potential) users?
> Games of this type, or two-button mice?  And which group should have the
> burden of changing the default?

Many (most?) laptops have only two buttons. They are also becoming
steadily more common as primary machines for people. And bringing along
an external mouse is a surprisingly big hassle - and sometimes, such as
during travel, not an option at all. 

>From my admittedly limited sample of distributions, it seems emulation
is the norm. 

Actually, looking at the mouse configuration dialog, I am surprised that
this option is not covered there. It probably should be.

Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.
Tel. (Japan) 090-3622 8920            Dr. Jan Morén (mr)
                                      Dept. of Cognitive Science    Lund, Sweden

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