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Re: Mouse configuration during installation needs improvement

On Tue, May 27, 2008 at 12:57:11PM -0700, Stephen Powell wrote:
> Per the suggestion of J?r?my Bobbio when he closed Bug
> # 481514 against installation-reports, I am posting
> this item to the debian-devel mailing list.
> The Debian installer needs some improvement when it
> comes to mouse configuration.  Currently, if the user
> requests a "standard system" and a "desktop
> environment" in the Debian installer, the X Window
> System will be installed in such a way that it drives
> the mouse directly, rather than going through gpm; and
> gpm is not installed.  I recommend that gpm be
> installed whenever a mouse is detected on the system;
> and if the X server is also installed, it should
> always be configured to get mouse events from the gpm
> daemon rather than drive the mouse directly.
> This will allow the use of the mouse both in a virtual
> console and in X.  Not only that, but "hot swapping"
> the mouse will be far less disruptive for X users. 
> When the X server drives a standard PS/2 mouse
> directly, if the user unplugs the mouse and plugs in
> another one while the system is running, he must stop
> and restart the X server, losing all of his X
> applications in the process, in order to regain the
> use of the mouse.  But when using gpm, all he must do
> is stop and re-start the gpm daemon to make the mouse
> work again.  The X server is unaffected and the X
> applications are unaffected.
> With this recommendation, you should also move gpm to
> CD-ROM number 1.

With current kernels, if you use /dev/input/mice, the port can be shared
by gpm and X at the same time, and all mice you connect (no matter what)
show up in that device.  Of course PS/2 mice can not be connected while
the system is on, since the hardware simply is not designed for that (I
believe it can actually be damaged by trying although I have no seen it
happen.).  On a few systems it seems to work if you plug in a ps/2 mouse
on the fly, but on the vast majority it does not work until you reset
the system.  USB mice of course are hot plug and hence much simpler.

I like gpm, and use it, but I no longer point X at it like I used to
now that the kernel allows mouse sharing at all times (as long as you
don't try to use the obsolete /dev/psaux device to access the mouse).

gpm would also be on the first CD already, if lots of people used it.
Apparently they do not.

Len Sorensen

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