After many years of working with X-series thinkpads, I have come to love these devices. Great keyboard, powerful while very portable and durable and so on. But I am especially an addict of the trackpoint. It allows me to use the mouse from time to time without having to move my fingers away from the typing position. The x230 was the first model I used that additionally features a touchpad. Well, I hate these touchpads! I keep moving the mouse pointer with the balls of my thumbs while typing, which is particularly irritating since I have my system configured to “focus-follows-mouse”. Now with the x230 that was not a big problem, because the I could simply disable the touchpad in the BIOS and keep using the trackpoint and the three mouse buttons that are positioned between keyboard and touchpad. So far so good.
Since three weeks now, since my start at Red Hat, I am using an x240. It is again really nicely done. Great display, very powerful, awesome battery life, … But Lenovo has imho committed an unspeakable sin with the change to the touchpad: The sparate mouse buttons are gone, and instead there are soft keys integrated into regions of the touchpad. Not only are the buttons much harder to hit, since the areas are much harder to feel with the fingertips than the comparatively thick buttons of the earlier models, but the really insane consequence for me is that I can’t disable the touchpad in the BIOS, since that also disables the buttons! This rendered the laptop almost unusable unless docked, with external mouse and keyboard. It was a real pain.
But two days ago GLADIAC THE SAVIOR gave the the decisive hint: Set the TouchpadOff option of synaptics to value 1. Synaptics is, as I learned, the Xorg X11 touchpad driver. And this option disables the touchpad except for the button functionality. Exactly what I need. With a little bit of research I found out that my brand new Fedora 21 supports this out of the box. Because I am still finding my way around fedora, I only needed to find the proper place to add the option. As it turns out,
is the appropriate file, and I added the option to the section of “Lenovo TrackPoint top software buttons”.
Here is the complete patch that saved me:
--- /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf.ORIG 2014-12-18 22:53:18.454197721 +0100
+++ /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf 2014-12-19 09:03:44.143825508 +0100
@@ -57,13 +57,14 @@
# Some devices have the buttons on the top of the touchpad. For those, set
# the secondary button area to exactly that.
# Affected: All Haswell Lenovos and *431* models
# Note the touchpad_softbutton_top tag is a temporary solution, we're working
# on a more permanent solution upstream (likely adding INPUT_PROP_TOPBUTTONPAD)
Identifier "Lenovo TrackPoint top software buttons"
Option "HasSecondarySoftButtons" "on"
+ Option "TouchpadOff" "1"
Now I can enjoy working with the undocked thinkpad again!
And thanks of course to the developers of the synaptic driver…