Linux Getting Fixed Up For Handling Pointing Sticks On Some Touchpads

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 27 May 2020 at 07:09 AM EDT. 5 Comments
For input devices on some laptops that are a combination of a pointing stick and touchpad, the Linux kernel's multi-touch driver will finally begin handling them correctly.

At least for Synaptics and Elan devices that offer a combination of a pointing stick and touchpad, the Linux kernel has been ignoring the input events from the pointing stick. But with Linux 5.8 that will change in properly handling the combo multi-touch devices via the hid-multitouch driver and this change is set to be back-ported as well to the various Linux kernel stable series being supported.

Following this bug report by Kai-Heng Feng of Canonical's hardware enablement team of the pointing stick not working on Synaptics touchpads, Benjamin Tissoires as one of Red Hat's input experts devised a solution.

Due to the hardware and how it was engineered for Windows 8 requirements, the mouse emulation collection was being ignored by the kernel for the pointing stick events. This patch in HID-next now adds a quirk class for dealing with this situation and also marks the Elan and Synaptics devices for employing this quirk. It's also possible (likely) other hardware vendors will need this quirk as well moving forward upon additional testing.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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