I am currently configuring my touchpad and noticed that I can put my Synaptics configuration file (50-synaptics.conf) in two different locations :




Both are working fine. Which one is better to use in this case? Or is this completely irrelevant ?

/etc/ is the nerve center of your system, it contains all system related configuration files in here or in its sub-directories. A "configuration file" is defined as a local file used to control the operation of a program; it must be static and cannot be an executable binary. - TLDP.org

/usr usually contains by far the largest share of data on a system. It contains all the user binaries, their documentation, libraries, header files, etc.... X and its supporting libraries can be found here. In current Unices, /usr is where user-land programs and data (as opposed to 'system land' programs and data) are. Some people may now refer to this directory as meaning 'User System Resources' and not 'user' as was originally intended. - TLDP.org

1 Answer 1


The location /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf is used by the package xserver-xorg-input-synaptics.

If you want to overwrite the configuration, then you could use this configuration file. But it will be removed when you delete the package xserver-xorg-input-synaptics with a purge command.

And as you can read in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

# DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE, your distribution will likely overwrite
# it when updating. Copy (and rename) this file into
# /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d first.

Use /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ and rename the file as noted, but you have to place a number as prefix. By this number the order of processing is affected.

  • I don't understand the renaming part. Why renaming ?
    – hg8
    Nov 4, 2015 at 11:19
  • I do not think that renaming is needed. It seems to be more a recommendation.
    – A.B.
    Nov 4, 2015 at 11:47
  • The traditional placement for X11 touchpad configuration files is indeed /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/*insert file name here* (the file name does not significantly matter, there are just traditinal filenames like 50-synaptics.conf which would work just as well as touchpad.conf) Renaming is not needed, but it must have been advised in case the file would find it's way onto a distribution that overwrites the config file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ or something like that, it can probably be ignored on all distros though, since that would be a really bad practice, and I doubt anyone does it.
    – Cestarian
    Nov 4, 2015 at 13:56

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