Ubuntu – Proper touchpad thumb & palm detection with libinput


So libinput its nearing its first stable release with a release candidate

Which adds proper support for thumb / palm detection on touch pads
along with swipe & pinch gesture support something dearly missed in Linux for multi touch capable laptops.

Can anyone provide a good instruction on how to install it on Ubuntu 15.04

As I believe we wont be seeing it as default in a Ubuntu installation for a while.

Best Answer

This is how to install libinput to Ubuntu.

  1. Install some needed packages

    sudo apt-get install git build-essential autoconf automake pkg-config libtool
    sudo apt-get install libmtdev1 libmtdev-dev libudev-dev libevdev-dev xutils-dev libwacom-dev
  2. Install xserver-xorg-dev. For 14.04.3 it may be xserver-xorg-dev-lts-vivid. Be careful. You need to check what xserver-xorg package is installed.

    sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-dev
  3. Clone libinput and xf86-input-libinput.

    git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/wayland/libinput
    git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/xorg/driver/xf86-input-libinput
  4. Build and install.

    cd libinput
    ./autogen.sh --prefix=/usr
    make && sudo make install
    cd ../xf86-input-libinput
    ./autogen.sh --prefix=/usr
    make && sudo make install
  5. Add to file conf/90-libinput.conf string Option "Tapping" "True" before EndSection to the touchpad section.

  6. Copy config file to enable libinput.

    sudo cp conf/90-libinput.conf /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/

Log off and log on.

You will see that libinput is used by running xinput list-props <your_touchpad_id>.

If you do not like using libinput, you can always disable it by

sudo rm /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-libinput.conf

I just installed it, now I am figuring out how to setup palm detection. It looks like it is enabled by default, but I do not quite understand yet how does it use kernel reported width and pressure.

It looks like currently there are no major advantages of using libinput in Ubuntu.

xf86-input-libinput just wraps it to Xorg and nothing else. So extra gestures are not supported. At least I do not know if they do. Wayland or Mir will be more capable, I guess.

After some testing I found an advantage. There is an issue with xorg-synaptics that when you put a finger on button area, you can't use another finger to move cursor. That is inconvenient for people who like to use hardware buttons for clicking. That problem has been reported many times as a bug.

In libinput there is no this issue at all.

That was a fun to test. Thanks for the question.

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