24 Jun 2016

Enabling Dell E6410 "DualPoint Stick" scrolling in Debian 'Jessie'

Just a quick tip, because I found this information absurdly hard to find online using the search terms I was using. If anyone else out there has a Dell Latitude E6410 laptop, and wants to use it under Linux and achieve the same scrolling behavior as under Windows, using the big center button under the ‘DualPoint Stick’ (Dell’s term for the Touchpoint-ish control in the middle of the keyboard) to scroll, here’s what you need to do:

Create a new file in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/; I called it 60-wheel-emulation.conf, although the filename isn’t especially important as long as it doesn’t start with a number lower than the other files in the directory.

E.g. you can just do:

$ sudo emacs /usr/share/X11/org.conf.d/60-wheel-emulation.conf

In the file, add the following:

Section "InputClass"
   Identifier "Wheel Emulation"
   MatchProduct "DualPoint Stick"
   Option "EmulateWheel" "on"
   Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
   Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
   Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

This activates a feature called (as you may have figured out) Wheel Emulation, which simulates scroll wheel behavior when a button is pressed and the mouse – or in this case, the pointing stick – is moved. In Windows, this is the default behavior for the Dell DualPoint, but in Linux, the default behavior is for that button to behave as an (absurdly large) traditional middle-click mouse button, which pastes the clipboard.

On a regular mouse, the Linux behavior (paste) is arguably a lot more useful, particularly if you also have an actual scrollwheel. But on the E6410, with the pointing stick, I think that scrolling is a lot more common of an interaction than paste, and I found that I really missed it.

This restores the functionality to what you may be used to.

Further information can be found at this Unix Stackexchange question which is where I got the original tip. Note that you can’t just copy and paste from that page and have it work on a Dell; the product name is wrong. You can determine the product name as described there, using the xinput --list command, however, if you have another model or brand of laptop.

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