I decided to put some work into getting the advanced features of the touchpad on my MacBook working. These include double and triple tap for middle and right clicking and scrolling using the touchpad.
I started with the instructions on Simon van der Linden’s “MacBook: emulate a Synaptics touchpad with Ubuntu GNU/Linux” page. The patch on the Ubuntu forums is required to support the touchpad. However, even though this supports the touchpad, it’s fairly jittery and difficult to use.
So, next step was to apply another patch from Jason Parekh which helps fix that jitter and improves the multi-tap recognition.
Finally, I tweaked Jason’s patch a small bit, and I find it improved the jitter a bit more. Here’s the complete patch to appletouch.c that I’m using at the moment. With this, I load the appletouch.ko module with
modprobe appletouch tap_threshold=5 track_threshold=1
To do this automatically on boot, put the following into /etc/modprobe.d/options (you may have already put in a similar line from Simon van der Linden’s howto, so just edit it in that case)
install usbhid /sbin/modprobe appletouch tap_threshold=5 track_threshold=1 && sleep 2 && /sbin/modprobe –ignore-install usbhid $CMDLINE_OPTS
I have noticed some issues with slight jitters and when using the scrolling in Firefox. While using Firefox, I’ve noticed phantom clicks, which can get annoying when in the middle of a blog post and the browser’s back button gets mysteriously clicked! What I suspect is that I hit the touchpad and bring up the right-click menu, and I end up hitting the “Back” option there. Other than that, it works well, and I’m sure once I get used to it, I’ll wonder how I ever did without it!
Since I recently (finally!) got broadband installed into our new house, I got started on the long-awaited upgrades to both my Macbook and my AMD64 desktop.
Starting with the Macbook, I installed Dapper on it about 9 months ago. Obviously, there were hacks needed to get some stuff working, and other bits just didn’t work at all!
I got started on the upgrade last week. This broke some things, well, not so much broke them, but changed them to work in a way I didn’t want! The most obvious one was the F keys. I like to use Alt + F(1-4) to switch virtual desktop. However, the Edgy kernel defaults the F keys to be the equivalent of Fn + F key. To undo this, put the following into a file in /etc/modprobe.d.
options usbhid pb_fnmode=2
If you’re using the Feisty kernel, the above option needs to be sent to hid instead of usbhid.
The wireless card seems to work much better under the later kernel in Edgy. Under Dapper’s kernel, the wireless connectivity was shaky to say the least. It’s a lot more stable under Edgy, I’m glad to see.
Also, under Dapper, whenever I closed the lid on the laptop and re-opened it, the screen remained dark. This seems to have been fixed under Edgy. So, suspend to RAM looks good to go!
The last remaining obstacle for me with the Macbook was the microphone. I wanted to be able to use Skype under Ubuntu, but without a working mic, this wasn’t possible. I found this page though, which explains how to fix the issue. Having followed these instructions, the mic now works perfectly.
I haven’t bothered touching on any of the stuff that already works like direct rendering, sound, touchpad, keyboard etc. The iSight camera apparently works, but I don’t know what I’d use it for, so I haven’t set it up.
I found this page to be an invaluable resource after the initial upgrade.