I hate computer mice. A lot.

The closest I've gotten to liking a pointing device is an acquiescence to the TrackPoint on the laptops I use. That's the little red dot in the middle of the ThinkPad keyboards. My problem with computer mice is the context switch between "typing-mode" and "mousing-mode." Moving between the modes is jarring and inefficient. I've been using StumpWM and other similar window managers for years now and as my need for the mouse decreases my irritation with needing to use a mouse increases.

I've been struggling for a few months with a bit of a problem: Several months ago I got a new bigger ThinkPad, a T510, while it has my beloved TrackPoint there is also a TouchPad. After years of only using laptops with the red dot, this was very disconcerting. How did I keep from triggering the touchpad with my wrists? Couldn't I just turn the damn thing off?

I did, and everyone who tried to use the computer after that was dismayed, and I didn't care. Except, I found out that, apparently, disabling the touchpad also disables all non-TrackPoint pointers. So when I plugged the laptop into the docking station, the external mouse didn't work.


The solution to disabling and enabling the mouse on the fly, that follows isn't as pretty as I'd like, but it works.

UPDATE: Turns out that my original procedure only appears to work. I've made the following modification to the toggle-mouse script, using a stock xorg.conf file.

File: /usr/bin/toggle-mouse


TOUCHPAD=`xinput list | egrep "TouchPad" | sed -r 's/.*id=([0-9]*).*$/1/'`

if [ xinput list-props "$TOUCHPAD" | egrep -o "[0-9]$" | head -n1 -eq 0 ]; then xinput set-prop "$TOUCHPAD" "Device Enabled" 1 elif [ xinput list-props "$TOUCHPAD" | egrep -o "[0-9]$" | head -n1 -eq 1 ]; then xinput set-prop "$TOUCHPAD" "Device Enabled" 0 else xmpp-notify "Your mouse is probably screwed up somehow" fi

Test the output of "xinput list | egrep "TouchPad" | sed -r 's/.*id=([0-9]*).*$/\1/'", and inspect "xinput list" to make sure that the value of $TOUCHPAD is the xorg id of the touchpad (or other device) that you want to disable.

I'd actually recommend not putting this in /usr/bin/, but just so long as it's in the path. Then run toggle-mouse at the command line. You may need to run this as root-suid, for your system system is configured. Tweak the TOUCHPAD variable as needed.

If you have a better solution, I would be terribly interested in hearing about it.