The 2x click Optical Mouse … and Slackware.

The other day I finally got a 4-port USB hub, a cheap headphone and microphone set, and a nice, hand-size optical mouse with that snazzy yet pretty useless (for me) 2x click button (it performs the double-click function so you don’t have to double click anymore). The hub as well as the headphone and microphone cost Rs 100 each, while the mouse was a decent 250.

The USB hub worked out of the box on Slackware. I’ve my external USB keyboard attached to it. The optical mouse put up resistance, though. Prior to getting this, I was using another normal optical mouse plugged into the PS/2 port on my lovely ThinkPad T21. I had only one InputDevice section defined in xorg.conf, and both the previous mouse and the TrackPoint on the ThinkPad coexisted peacefully. The scroll wheel didn’t work as setting the appropriate parameters in xorg.conf to enable wheel scrolling made the TrackPoint go mad (plus the mouse refused to work sanely as well). However, as I plugged in this 2x click optical mouse and restarted X, I found only the TrackPoint to be responding. I frantically tried different settings, rebooted the system, booted into an older release of Slackware I’ve installed on the laptop, but couldn’t get anywhere.

Frustrated and disappointed as I had been excited to use that mouse, I went over to ##slackware on to solicit help. Old_Fogie there was kind enough to bear my questions. He suggested I need two InputDevice sections in xorg.conf: one to account for the TrackPoint, the other for the external PS/2 mouse. I hacked up modifications to xorg.conf, but instead broke the TrackPoint (not physically, but it stopped working altogether). I was stumped. Pissed. Disappointed.

I don’t know how the thought crossed my mind, but I remembered the disable TrackPoint option in the BIOS from a long time. I hurriedly rebooted the laptop, dropped into the BIOS, and disabled the feature. Two minutes later, I was comfortably using the external mouse with a smile across my face.

I also set up xorg.conf properly to get the scroll wheel working. Surprisingly, I had to tweak xorg.conf not more than what is required to get the scroll wheel working to get the 2x click button running. It actually is working as intended. (The relevant settings that go into xorg.conf to enable scroll wheel are provided at the end of this post.)

I am so glad. Next up on the list of things to fix is the sound module on Slackware. Apparently, the system fails to reload the sound modules without disabled sound after a system resume. I’ve tried toying with the OSS modules, but had no dice so far. I will probably have to compile newer version of ALSA library and drivers. I hope that’s sufficient.

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "ExternalMouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

Section "ServerLayout"
# this section has other stuff too, which has been
# snipped out to keep it short.
InputDevice "ExternalMouse" "CorePointer"

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