Tag: linux

Ubuntu: Activate multi-touch on Elantech touchpad

Acer Aspire S7-392-9890

Acer Aspire S7-392-9890 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook (Intel Core i7-4500U Processor, 8GB DDR3L, 256GB SSD)

If like me you recently bought a new computer with an Elantech touchpad, and installed Ubuntu on it, chances are your touchpad lacks the multitouch features, and therefore, you can’t scroll with it. This is extremely annoying to most of us. Tonight, I went back to Ubuntu bug page to realize someone has submitted a fix, and it seems to be working for many users. Just tried it on my Acer Aspire S7, and it worked perfectly for me too. So let me share it with you…

Make sure you have an Elantech touchpad

First, if you aren’t sure your computer was built with an Elantech touchpad, open a terminal, and type the following:

cat /proc/bus/input/devices

You should find a block containing a line looking like this one, which confirms you are on an Elantech touchpad:

N: Name="ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad"

Fix the bug

Download this archive (from Ubuntu’s bug reporting page).

Open a terminal, and follow these steps (after step 4, you will have no mouse at all):

cd ~/Downloads
sudo dkms ldtarball psmouse-elantech-x551c.tar.gz
sudo dkms install -m psmouse -v elantech-x551c
sudo rmmod psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse

Enjoy multitouch!

Source: Original bug discussion on Launchpad

Installing Apache Flex SDK under Linux


Recently, the Apache Flex team released the latest version of Flex SDK: 4.10. This release came with a Linux installer for the first time since Adobe Flex Builder 3 alpha, several years ago. As a member of their user mailing list, I take part in certain discussions, often on the Linux support subject. It seems that users have difficulty installing the Flex SDK, even with the .deb (Debian software package) available on Apache Flex’s website. Taken from those discussions, here’s the easy way to install the Apache Flex SDK under Linux.

AIR dependency

Flex SDK is best installed using the SDK Installer, which requires Adobe AIR 2.6. If you didn’t already know, installing Adobe AIR on Linux isn’t that easy, as it is not supported by Adobe anymore. The easiest way I have found is this one:

  1. If you’re using a 64-bit Linux system, install the ia32-libs (AIR is 32-bit only):
    sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
  2. Go here (http://update.devolo.com/linux/apt/pool/main/a/adobeair/) and download the AIR installer for 64-bit systems (amd64) or 32-bit (i386)
  3. Install the package you just downloaded:
    sudo dpkg -i adobeair_2.6.0.19170_amd64.deb

You’re done with the installation of Adobe AIR.

Installing the SDK Installer

  1. Download the installer (.deb) here: http://flex.apache.org/installer.html
  2. Once you have downloaded the .deb, install it using dpkg (this command will force the installation, even if the AIR dependency is not resolved):
    sudo dpkg -i --force-depends apache-flex-sdk-installer-2.6.0-bin.deb
  3. Once the installer has been installed (you might encounter several warnings and errors, just ignored them), open a terminal and go the installation folder:
    cd "/opt/Apache Flex/Apache Flex SDK Installer/bin"
  4. Run the installer:
    ./Apache Flex SDK Installer
  5. Now you just need to decide where you want the SDK to be installed, and you’re good. Everything should go smoothly.

Uninstalling the SDK Installer

I really suggest that you uninstall the SDK Installer (but not the SDK, of course!) when you’re done, because it will cause you all sorts of errors with apt-get in the future. Errors that look like this:


org.apache.flex.installapacheflex:i386 : PreDepends: adobeair:i386 (>= 1: but it is not installable
E: Unmet dependencies. Try 'apt-get -f install' with no packages (or specify a solution).

This can be done very easily with the following command:

sudo apt-get -f install

As always, feel free to ask any question you might have, I’ll do my best to answer them. Have fun developing with Apache Flex and Linux!

Advanced Linux Mouse Configuration Made Easy

logitech-mouseThose of you using a mouse with multiple buttons, such as the one shown here, probably already know how painful it can be to make it work just as you’d like on Linux. I have myself been postponing the configuration of my Evoluent VerticalMouse for years. I recently gave myself a little kick in the butt, and came up with the following solution.

Identify your mouse

First, find the exact name of your, and copy it somewhere for later use:

xinput list

Mine is: “Evoluent VerticalMouse 4”

Learn your mouse’s buttons’ positions

Install xev if not already installed:

sudo apt-get install xev

Open a terminal, and run xev from the command line. A small white window will open. Put your mouse in that window, and try clicking one of your mouse’s buttons. You will get a lot of output for every click. You need to find a block that looks like this, the most important part being near the end (button 3 in this case):

ButtonPress event, serial 36, synthetic NO, window 0x3c00001,
 root 0x269, subw 0x3c00002, time 14058208, (44,38), root:(1725,240),
 state 0x10, button 3, same_screen YES

Now you can easily write down the number associated to every button of your mouse.

Choose the right order for your buttons

We will use xinput to change the button mapping. Starting with the button map you have just written down, you can easily swap buttons to match your preferences. For example, here’s what I had at first (my mouse has three buttons like in the old times, and two thumb buttons) :

  1. Left click
  2. Middle click (paste selected text in Linux)
  3. Right click
  4. Wheel scroll up
  5. Wheel scroll down
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. Upper thumb click (back)
  9. Wheel click (forward)
  10. Lower thumb click

Here’s what I wanted :

  1. Left click (1)
  2. Right click (3)
  3. Forward (9)
  4. Wheel scroll up (4)
  5. Wheel scroll down (5)
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. Back (8)
  9. Paste selected text (2)
  10. Lower thumb click (unused… 10)

In my case, the xinput command looks like this:

xinput -set-button-map "Evoluent VerticalMouse 4" 1 3 9 4 5 6 7 8 2 10

You can run this command in the terminal to test if your configuration works well. You can always come back to default with :

xinput -set-button-map "Evoluent VerticalMouse 4" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Make your command run at startup

We’re almost done… Now create a file in your home directory with a name something like .mouse_config, and paste your xinput command in it. Open the automatic startup program that comes with your OS. Its name in Ubuntu 12.04 is Startup Applications. Add a new entry that points to your script, add a name and a description if you want to, and that’s it! Enjoy a perfectly working mouse!

Linux Mint 12: Making a Bootable USB Stick

Linux MintWith the release of Linux Mint 12 “Lisa” on November 26th, the distribution gets a lot of attention these days. If you’re like me, you probably like to try “new” distributions from time to time. This is why I felt like giving a try to Mint this week.

Creating the bootable device

  1. Download a Linux Mint image from here
  2. If you’re under Ubuntu, use Startup Disk Creator (installed by default)
  3. If you’re under Windows,  use Univeral USB Installer, free and available here
  4. The rest is pretty straightforward…

Fixing a common problem

Once your USB device is “ready”,  you will get the following error if you try booting from it:

vesamenu.c32: not a COM32R image

After some short research I found the following fix, which is very simple to apply, and completely solves the problem:

  1. Browse the USB device to the syslinux folder
  2. Open and edit the syslinux.cfg file
  3. The first line should read: default vesamenu.c32
  4. Change it to: default live
  5. Save and close the file

That’s it! You’re now ready to try/install Linux Mint 12 “Lisa”.

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