LeftHand settings for synaptics touchpad tap

I’m left-handed and I use both mouse (on the left side) and the touchpad. So I always change the mouse settings as per left-handed people.

In doing this, also the first and third button on the touchpad are swapped and tapping no longer works as expected (because is mapped to third button click).

This is a little frustrating mostly if you (as I do) prefer tapping for both click and for drag and drop. To resolve this issue you have play a little with Synaptics configuration and Gnome Sessions.

This guide suppose you are using Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10), but I think it works (with some adjustments) with previous Ubuntui versions and also with other distros.

First we have to enable shared memory for synaptic touchpad. For Ubuntu 8.10 you can follow the instructions below. For all the Ubuntu version you can also check here.

Create the file /etc/hal/fdi/policy/shmconfig.fdi

sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/shmconfig.fdi

and paste into it the following lines:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
 <deviceinfo version="0.2">
 <match key="input.x11_driver" string="synaptics">
 <merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">True</merge>

save and close.

The package xserver-xorg-input-synaptics, installed by default, contains the synclient utility. We’ll use that utility to set the touchpad tapping.

create and open a file into your $HOME/bin directory:

gedit $HOME/bin/gnome-left-hand

and copy in it the following lines:

# This script contains gnome settings for left-handed people
#swap tap settings from button1 to button3
synclient TapButton1=3

Save and close.

Let the file executable by issuing the following command (in a shell):

chmod u+x $HOME/bin/gnome-left-hand

Now you have to add the script to the list of ones loaded in your session. Simply open System->Preferences->Sessions and click on the Add button.

In the popup:

in the Name: field write “Left-Hand Settings script”

in the Command: field write /home/yourusername/bin/gnome-left-hand

you can leave the Descritpion: field blank.

Click onv the Add button, close the panel, logoff and login and you will have the tapping working as expected.

If you want to change the mouse cursors as well and want to use a left-hand mouse coursor theme, please read this post I wrote.

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