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Mouse Setup Tips

Copyright (C) 2003 by Steve Litt
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Obviously, you use this document at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage or injury caused by your use of this document, or caused by errors and/or omissions in this document. If that's not acceptable to you, you may not use this document. By using this document you are accepting this disclaimer.

Switching Between Regular and Wheel Mice

Various distributions have their own GUI tools for changing between regular and wheel mice, but the XFConfig file methods remain constant across distros (except the file might be called XF86Config or XF86Config-4).

The following chart is a summary of the setup differences between wheel and regular mice, in the mouse section (Section "InputDevice", Identifier "Mouse1"):
Regular mose
Wheel Mouse
"ZAxisMapping" No option "4 5"
Option, but no argument
No option
No option

All changes must be followed by a restart of X to enable the changes.

To switch from regular to wheel

  1. Change the "Protocol" option from "PS/2" to "IMPS/2"
  2. Add the following line:
  3. Delete option "Emulate3Buttons"
  4. Delete option Emulate3Timeout"
  5. Restart X

To switch from wheel to regular

  1. Change the "Protocol" option from "IMPS/2" to "PS/2"
  2. Delete option "ZAxisMapping"
  3. Add the following 2 lines in the mouse section:
  4. Restart X

Speeding Up the Mouse

The mouse speed of a default Linux setup is too slow for many users. The user needs to move the mouse as much as 4 inches to move the pointer from the screen's bottom to the screen's top. In my personal opinion (and I am neither a doctor nor a lawyer, this is just a personal opinion), this could put one at risk for repetitive motion injuries. I like a much faster mouse.

The main problem is the ratio of physical mouse movement to screen pointer movement. The way to change it is by adding the proper "Resolution" option to the mouse section of XF86Config or XF86Config-4, as appropriate for your distro. Add the following line:
Option "Resolution" "1600"
Then restart X.

The preceding speeds the mouse quite a bit, but some of you might be like me and want it even faster. In that case, accellerate the mouse with the xset command. The xset command for mice looks like this:
xset m accelleration threshold
where accelleration is the amount it's sped up, and the threshold is the number of pixels which must be traversed in a short time before the accelerated rate "kicks in". I've found the following to be an excellent setting for a machine that's already been set up with the "Resolution" tweak to XF86Config:
xset m 3 2

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Copyright (C)2003 by Steve Litt. -- Legal