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Author Topic: How to disable touchpad (and not trackpoint) in VL 5.8 OR ACPI vs APM?  (Read 5244 times)
dawnsboy
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« on: August 29, 2007, 11:34:11 am »

This question is somewhat similar to Granny Geeks recent post in Hard Ware but the issue is different.  I have an older PII HP Omnibook 900 with an IBM Trackpoint mouse and a touch pad.  There is a PS/2 port to which I often attach a PS/2 optical scroll mouse. 

The system BIOS presents a way to use both the trackpoint mouse and the touchpad OR disable one or the other.  IE, I can disable the touchpad and continue to use the trackpoint mouse.  Plugging an external mouse into the PS/2 port automatically disables both the trackpoint mouse and the touchpad.  This feature of the BIOS settings has worked well in VL 4.0 and 5.1 Standard.

The problem is that VL 5.8 Standard Gold refuses to acknowledge the BIOS setup.  If an external mouse is plugged in the trackpoint mouse and touchpad are disabled as desired but if there is no external mouse plugged into the PS/2 port then both the trackpoint mouse and touchpad are active. 

I usually employ an external mouse but there times (right now for instance) when I just grab the laptop and rely on the trackpoint mouse (at a hotspot for instance).  Having the touchpad active is just to annoying.  I don't know how many times I have inadvertently relocated the cursor or clicked a link just by dropping my wrist or dragging my thumb (ever so slightly).

I should also mention the following:

I did not select ACPI from the initial configuration dialogue for selection of services and hardware to load.  ACPI apparently loads anyway.  During initial startup ACPI reports that the battery is absent (even when I am running on battery power).  Torsmo cannot report battery status, but gkrellm and XFCE battery plugin can report battery status.  The system also reports that APM is not compiled in the kernel yet when setting up for multi user during boot up the system reports successfully setting up APM.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2007, 03:39:47 pm »

Hi, Dawnsboy, looks like we are alone on this one... I was looking around on this. I think you have some options.
1- May be there is some option in the kernel config to avoid the bios override. If there is something like that (may be one of our kernel gurus wants to jump in) I think is the better option. If this is not possible, lets go to number 2.

2- Downgrade to a lower kernel. Since your machine has some years, I think you dont lose too much but less boot time, may be. If the newer kernels didnt solve a problem for you, I think this is a choice.

3. Since you want to disable the touchpad for ever and ever, that should be easy. We need to find something like a kernel module for it and put it in the blacklist, or comment the proper xorg.conf section.
You want to plug your ps/2 mouse and automagically disable the trackball... I dont think this can be done. May be finding a way to disable the trackball at a software level, make a script and then launch the script with an udev rule when the mouse is plugged. I dont know if something like that can be done, and the two first options seem more doable.

Ok, looks like I am not being very helpful, but is a start  Roll Eyes may be this bring ideas to others...
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Joe1962
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2007, 03:51:39 pm »

I had a Thinkpad P1, years ago, with only the trackpoint thingy. I found that once you get the hang of it, you simply can't stand going back to a touchpad... Roll Eyes  If this is your case, and the laptop is out of warranty, I would google for instructions on opening it up, then just cut the wires to the touchpad... Wink


EDIT: In fact, that would be a nice excuse for a thorough internal cleaning job... Grin
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 03:53:47 pm by Joe1962 » Logged

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rbistolfi
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2007, 03:57:31 pm »

I had a Thinkpad P1, years ago, with only the trackpoint thingy. I found that once you get the hang of it, you simply can't stand going back to a touchpad... Roll Eyes  If this is your case, and the laptop is out of warranty, I would google for instructions on opening it up, then just cut the wires to the touchpad... Grin

That looks easier and more effective than a kernel recompile, and indeed, a touchpad deserves that Grin.
Lucky Joe, looks like you owned a nice number of laptops...  Wink I am still writing letters to Santa, may be the next year...
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

--
Jumalauta!!
Joe1962
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2007, 04:26:43 pm »

Lucky Joe, looks like you owned a nice number of laptops...  Wink
Actually, they have all been from work, though I get to use them full time, which is probably even luckier, considering my track record with laptops... Wink

Only the old IBM and an Asus P3 500 have been really strong and durable, all the rest (Toshes and HPs) have barely made it to the full 2 years. The previous 17" HP went to the warranty repair, so that made it to less than a year. Oh, and I just switched that new Acer for another one exactly like it, it started to show lockups, BSODs and, in the end, the XP CDs (tried 2 of them, with SP1 and SP2, and I had installed the SP1 on it earlier) would not even pass the initial hardware detection stage of the install anymore (the first black part, before the blue installer screen, lol), though VL and W2K did. So some really weird goings on... Shocked  The worst of it is that I treat the friggin' things like they were  a puppy or a child... Angry

I am still writing letters to Santa, may be the next year...
Wish you luck then...
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http://joe1962.bigbox.info
Running: VL 7 Std 64 + self-cooked XFCE-4.10
nubcnubdo
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2007, 05:30:40 pm »

I dont claim to understand exactly what your problem is, but if you have a laptop with APM power management, there are a few things you could try. For example, towards the end of a standard VL installation, you are asked if you would like to enter extra boot parameters. One such optional boot parameter is "noacpi". This step will place appropriate appends in etc/lilo.conf. If that option has already passed, you can also manually edit (append) lilo.conf to enable the power management of your choice.
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The Headacher
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2007, 01:02:00 am »

Quote
Only the old IBM and an Asus P3 500 have been really strong and durable, all the rest (Toshes and HPs) have barely made it to the full 2 years.
Indeed, I haven't had any really big trouble with my old Compaq Armada M300's ( p2 333 MHz and p3 600 MHz), except a dying harddrive and powersupply. They were second hand when I bought them, and kept going strong. The Asus I bought new less than 2 years ago is having more serious trouble. I'm really disappointed in the quality of modern laptops. One would think that if they could make nearly indestructible laptops a couple of years ago it should still be possible now. "Modern" plastic laptops get deep ugly scratches (why are they all painted grey metallic anyways?), whereas my old Compaqs' casings where made of magnesium and don't have a single scratch that's damaged the case, just the paint.

It looks to me like todays laptops are not built to last much longer than there warranty period. I bet todays computer companies consider a laptop good if it breaks down the day after warranty expires, so you have to buy a new one. Quality has dropped with the prices.

Quote
The worst of it is that I treat the friggin' things like they were  a puppy or a child...  Angry
You can't just hit a laptop because it doesn't listen, they are too delicate for that! Grin
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dawnsboy
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Posts: 135



« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2007, 08:14:57 am »

This post has produced some interesting responses!  Grin

nubcnubdo posted:

Quote
I dont claim to understand exactly what your problem is, but if you have a laptop with APM power management, there are a few things you could try. For example, towards the end of a standard VL installation, you are asked if you would like to enter extra boot parameters. One such optional boot parameter is "noacpi". This step will place appropriate appends in etc/lilo.conf. If that option has already passed, you can also manually edit (append) lilo.conf to enable the power management of your choice.

Actually, I have used the noacpi boot parameter.  It is the only way to keep acpi from loading.  However, I do not gain the full use of APM by doing that.  What I do get is a message during boot up that states "setting up AMP     OK". 

However when I check to see if APM is properly setup I get a message back "no apm support in kernel".

Additionally, the BIOS settings continue to be ignored.  So no loss and no gain by doing that in this case.

joe1962 posted:
Quote
I had a Thinkpad P1, years ago, with only the trackpoint thingy. I found that once you get the hang of it, you simply can't stand going back to a touchpad... Roll Eyes  If this is your case, and the laptop is out of warranty, I would google for instructions on opening it up, then just cut the wires to the touchpad... Wink


EDIT: In fact, that would be a nice excuse for a thorough internal cleaning job... Grin

Thanks Joe!  I think I will use your suggestion.  Kill that touchpad and clean up.  As much as I use this old box it will probably benefit greatly from the cleaning.  I am with you on the trackpoint.  I started using trackpoint on old IBM laptops years ago and got used to it.  There is no other built in pointing device comparable as far as I am concerned.

I would prefer to avoid downgrading the kernel just because VL 5.8 Standard works quite well on this box and I like the software available for use with this OS.  The only issue other than the subject of this post is XFCE4 which runs surprisingly well on this old laptop.  The problem is that XFWM4 cannot properly render Windows and Window frames for certain applications.  Among these apps are anything run in WINE.  Certain games like anagramarama and frozen bubble also suffer from this issue.  XFWM4 renders Windows and frames that are badly distorted when running these apps so I have had to fall back on other window managers.  Otherwise I would just run XFCE4!  VL 5.8 is a beautifully crafted OS and a great pleasure to use.


Headacher posted:

Quote
Only the old IBM and an Asus P3 500 have been really strong and durable, all the rest (Toshes and HPs) have barely made it to the full 2 years.

I will be happy if this old HP lasts two more years!  It was built in 1998.  I got it used with the original install cd, manuals, external drives and Win98 book with certificate of authenticity still in the original shrink wrap.  It looks like this laptop was issued to a corporate employee that had no use for it.  A card identifying the employee by name, number, location, etc was still in a sleeve glued to the bottom of the laptop.  The laptop itself bore no sign of wear on case or keyboard and the display is flawless.  So maybe I have some time before this thing gives up the ghost.  I am with Headacher though, I like the old IBM laptops.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 07:56:35 am by dawnsboy » Logged

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