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Synaptics Multitouch

That week went quickly! Must be the sunshine currently covering the UK, which meant I nearly forgot about my promise for a multi-touch trackpad on the Samsung NC10, enabling two-finger scrolling. This is also late, as I should have posted this yesterday. But we ended up having a lovely team lunch in Bath followed by a busy couple of hours late yesterday afternoon. Sorry about that.

Back to the problem at hand though. Just like the screens I wrote about last week, there's some disparity between features that you know a piece of hardware supports, and getting those features to work in your chosen distribution. What's worse is that even after you get something working, there's no guarantee it will stay working. And so it has been with the NC10's trackpad.

I mainly run Ubuntu's UNR on my netbook, dual-booting alongside a version of Moblin that I never use. And Ubuntu UNR has gone through quite few seismic sized changes in how it handles hardware, breaking Synaptics trackpad compatibility several times and completely changing the system for using it. What's worse is that both the mouse and Touchpad configuration panels in UNR promise multi-touch compatibility as an option, but fail to make it a reality. The solution is to get your hands dirty.

Initially, you could drop the lines for configuration directly into Xorg.conf. After this, my configuration moved to HAL fdi files (here's one that used to work). Then, for the latest UNR release, HAL was dropped completely in favour of UDEV. I ported my configuration to the new configuration file, which can be grabbed here. This worked up to and including the UNR 10.04 release candidates, but somewhere between the final RC and the eventual release, it stopped working. And I haven't been able to fix it.

Fortunately, I'm not alone, and a solution has been posted on the Ubuntu forums, and it doesn't involve configuration files at all. Instead, just type the following from the terminal:

xinput set-int-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Two-Finger Scrolling" 8 1
xinput set-int-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Two-Finger Scrolling" 8 1 1
xinput set-int-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Two-Finger Pressure" 32 10
xinput set-int-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Two-Finger Width" 32 8

You should find that multi-touch features like two-finger scrolling now work, and this solution should work for lots of other devices too. The only problem is that it doesn't continue to work if you restart your machine, but that can easily be solved with a script.

Incidentally, yesterday's Astronomy Picture of the Day was one of the best I've seen for ages, and perfect as a desktop background.

Your comments

We forgive!

We forgive you (I speak for myself :D), because you bring such amazing mag! Already looking forward to the next one, although I still have to read the tut section from this months mag! (I'm trying not to read everything at once so I have fun the whole month :D)

Thank You!

Thank's so much, this is my only gripe with Lucid. Thank's!

Thank you so much! This

Thank you so much! This solved the problem for my Acer Aspire 5740.

Synaptic touchpad - Dell Vostro V13

Hi Graham,

I have a Dell Vostro v13 with Ubuntu 10.04. The problem is the Synaptics Driver does not load. It is reported as a bug in launchpad:

Bug #380126
Bug #545565

I doubt your fix works but I will certainly try it. The main reason I buy computers from Dell with linux on is to avoid linux hardware issues but if you upgrade then it is likely the os will no longer work and Dell does not support you -- v. frustrating. This issue causes the mouse to skip and no side-scroll. The issue started after 9.04 and has not been fixed yet!

Is there any way to expedite getting a bug fixed in linux. I even wrote to ubuntu and asked if I could buy a single support incident but never heard back...

thanks, Simon

Thank you! This was my last

Thank you!
This was my last remaining issue of functionality using Fedora 13 on my Asus eee 1001P.


Glad to have two-finger scrolling back, thanks.

You rock - but one more question :)

How can I easily disable edge scrolling? I tried a couple variations...


How to do it.

Go to System, Preferences, Mouse, Mousepad, disable side scrolling.

Two-finger tapping to simulate middle-click?

Great tip, thanks.

Btw, any idea how to enable two-finger tapping to simulate middle-click on the mouse?

Or you could use synclient

To find out all the functions your synaptics touchpad supports
in a terminal type:

synclient -l

To enable vertical two finger scrolling:
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1

To enable horizontal two finger scrolling:
synclient HorizTwoFingerScroll=1

You can enable two-finger tapping, chiral scrolling, palm muting, mess with cursor thresholds, etc.... etc....... and so on....

check both synclient -l and synclient -h

Just like graham's solution you can add the above parameters to a script.

Love the mag.

What a piece of useful info

Here I spent 30 mins browsing on other pages to no use. Still couldn't get it working on my Thinkpad T61 with 10.04 ubuntu. This method worked in the first instant. That is some really good info you provided there. Thanks !

Kind of works but not quite

Kind of works but not quite

THANK YOU! This was driving

THANK YOU! This was driving me nuts in Ubuntu. Fixed, finally.


This was one of the last issues I was having switching from a MacBook, edge-scrolling was creating some really funky c&p issues in my terminal with accidental swipes, so having two finger scrolling back is a life (and ego) saver!


Thanks a lot for the post, WORKSFORME :D

What do the integers mean?

First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I have a few questions. I am guessing that the integers are for fine tuning it. Do you know what each integer does? This does enable the two-finger scrolling on my laptop, but it is not as smooth as it was when I used Ubuntu 12.04 (I am switching to Ubuntu 10.04). Can anyone shed some light to this?

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