I've been a user of Linux on the desktop off and on again over the years. I very nearly switched my primary computer to Ubuntu prior to the release of Windows 7. There were a few, but significant issues at the time that prevented wholesale adoption, mostly tethering with my phone and lousy VPN Client.

One key component I could count on was the Accessibility features. I have recently installed Ubuntu 10.10 and am considering giving it another try, but it appears Ubuntu has taken a leap backwards in that it no longer has a click lock feature for the mouse.

Basically I need the ability to press and hold the left button to trigger a locking of the button so I can move the mouse by way of a trackpoint with my prosthesis. I absolutely require this feature and it is a deal breaker if it won't work. I've tried the Dwell keys but this is a chaotic control at best. I've never been able to manage a drag of any kind.


Have you looked at xte? It's part of the xautomation package.

sudo apt-get install xautomation

It's pretty stable, so you shouldn't need to do any compiling or hacking.

Typing xte "mousedown 1" on a console seems to do what you're looking for. It simulated a click and hold of the first mouse button. The button appears to stay clicked until I click another mouse button.

To make the UI work the way you want, you could add xte "mousedown 1" to a keybinding. When you hit that key, you'll get the click-and-hold you describe.

If you want the click-and-hold behaviour on a mouse click, you could try looking at Compiz. I believe Compiz allows binding commands to mouse button presses.

  • Where in compiz is this?
    – djeikyb
    Feb 14 '11 at 7:14
  • Open 'CompizConfig Settings Manager' then go to 'Commands' and hit the 'Button Bindings' tab. I've never used them, but I know they're there. :-)
    – Erigami
    Feb 14 '11 at 19:15
  • You may have to install the compizconfig-settings-manager package with Synaptic or whatever. I've never seen the package installed with the base install.
    – Mei
    Feb 17 '11 at 0:34
  • I like the idea of xte, but it suffers the same disadvantage of xorg's draglockbuttons: an extra click. And Compiz is replaced by Unity in the upcoming release..I'm sure there are ways around that though, maybe with xmodmap.
    – djeikyb
    Feb 17 '11 at 2:07
  • I'm sure Unity will have key bindings.
    – Erigami
    Feb 17 '11 at 4:17

I don't have a for sure answer yet, but here's what I've got so far:

The mousetweaks package ought to have what you want. Only, at least in my 10.10 netbook install, it doesn't. I found some documentation, and it looks like there is an additional set of features under the heading mousetweak5. It includes the sort of single click dragging you're talking about. I asked a a question on launchpad to find out more. From all appearances, it isn't implemented. Or possibly was removed. I logged a bug in launchpad against the mousetweak project.

I found an input driver for X called evdev. It's already used by default in Ubuntu 10.04, and you can edit the rules file: /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf. I got it working, but it sucks. Basically, you assign one of your buttons as go-into-click-lock-mode. You click it, then click the button you want locked. To unlock, you click the special button, then click the locked button. Anyway, what you do is edit that 10-evdev.conf file to add the line Option "DragLockButtons" "8". Change 8 to whatever mouse button you want to be the special lock mode button. You can find the numbers of your buttons by running xev It's in the last line of output after clicking. See also: http://www.xfree86.org/current/mouse5.html

What I want to see is an intelligent click lock for mice and trackballs like the synaptic driver provides for touchpads. Ie, a click and drag gesture is active until you tap a second time.

  • yeah, the mousetweak5 is not implemented. I'm trying to avoid hacking the crap out of my system to get it functional. Ubuntu seems like it has a lot of promise, but accessibility should be a core component. The Dwell Click is more aggravating than useful. Not sure why they did away with the clicklock. It was much more useful. At least they didn't throw out sticky keys. I can't find good documentation for btnx, the man page link won't load.
    – user10133
    Feb 4 '11 at 5:54
  • You, know, this whole time I'm forgetting you're using a trackpoint, aka nub-thingy. I think it might be controlled by synaptic. Run this command and lemme know if it does what you want: synclient LockedDrags=1.
    – djeikyb
    Feb 14 '11 at 10:40

I assume you have looked at the mouse accessibility options and the keyboard can be set to mimic a mouse not sure if either of these help.

  • I'm almost positive this functionality was in the mouse accessibility options sometime before 10.04, and OP remembers this too. Wouldn't have set that bounty if it were that easy ;p Your second solution looks promising in light of Erigami's answer, but you'll need to flesh it out.
    – djeikyb
    Feb 12 '11 at 23:11
  • Unfortunately the gpointing-device-settings doesn't include the click lock configuration option. not sure why accessibility is losing traction. fortunately this is a core component of Win 7. I've looked at all the accessibility options, apparently Ubuntu purged some choices.
    – user10133
    Feb 21 '11 at 2:42

Have you looked at gpointing-device-settings yet? It's in the universe repository, and supposed to replace gsynaptics eventually. It may have a more comprehensive set of options for your trackpoint. I don't know, I don't have a trackpoint to test with.

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