A little penguin, courtesy of TuxMobil

gksyn: a gkrellm panel to control synaptics touchpads

Romano Giannetti <romano@dea.icai.upco.es>

gksyn in action

gksyn is a GKrellm plugin to control synaptics touchpad behaviour.

Basically, the purpose of this plugin is to select if the touchpad is active or not. The rationale of this is that, when typing on the keyboard, too much often you can touch the active touchpad area an find yourself typing in a completed unwanted position or window.

After enabled, in your gkrellm you will have a new panel with an icon (a grey square with a green check in it) and the word "On" on the rigth. That means that your touchpad is enabled (see image to the right).

If you click on the word "on", it will change to "Auto". Now your touchpad will be enabled only if you are not typing for at least 2 seconds (default value that can be changed with the configuration tab of the plugin). When you type, the touchpad will be disabled and the icon will change to a grey square with a red cross on it.

If you click again on the "Auto" label, the touchpad will be put in a continuos "Off" status. This could be handy when you have an external mouse connected, but quite bad if not... so you can exit from the "off" state by pressing a button on the touchpad.

gksyn is basically a replacement (should I say "a shameless copy") for the syndaemon utility that comes with the synaptics package, with an added graphic interface and interactivity that gives you a nice feedback.

In the summer of 2005, Pietro Franchi proposed a cute patch to extend its funcionality (adding starting state configurability) and enhance the look. That lead to a 1.1.1 release. Moreover, now the software unpacks on its own subdirectory, as suggested by several users.

A change in synaptics source package when going from 0.14 to 0.15 version broke the build of gksyn; that lead to a 1.1.2 release, that should build (take care of the instruction)! on the two versions of synapctics.

Note note note: I am not so fond of the gksyn coding style; well, frankly speaking, it's an awful mess. I #include the syndaemon.c file and mess with #define... but it works for me, and I find it useful, so I am sharing it.

Convinced? So, download gksyn.

To build gksyn, you have to:

  1. have gkrellm 2.1.28 or better installed, included development library;
  2. have synaptics 0.13.3 or better installed and the source directory available; maybe it will work with future versions of synaptics, but I do not know. (What I know: with 0.14.0 it does work ok; to have some of the new enhanced capability you'll need at least 0.14.3. It works with 0.15.2).
  3. Notice that gksyn will compile only if you un-tar it into the synaptics source directory; it will unpack into a gksyn subdirectory. In synaptics version 0.15.0, you need to unpack it in the tools/ subdirectory.
  4. Uncompress the archive into the synaptics build directory or into the tools/ subdirectory if it exists with tar xvzf gksyn-x.y.z.tar.gz
  5. do cd gksyn
  6. then ./build gksyn
  7. move gksyn.so to your plugin directory (typically $HOME/.gkrellm2/plugins)
  8. restart gkrellm, enable plugin and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy the plugin; please drop me a note if you did.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: (and links)

The software was written by a cut'n'paste and #include exercise of other's people software, and more explicitly from:

Now, you can go back to the main Sony vaio page.


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Page authored by Romano Giannetti. Best viewed with your monitor on.