How to disable touchpad tapping (clicking) with Ubuntu


My original post described how to install the qsynaptic utility to fix this problem, but it turns out that the settings are lost every time you restart your computer, so I have found a much quicker fix to disable touchpad tapping. Just add this line to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

Option "TapButton1" "0"

If I get some time I will re-visit this issue to see why the other method doesn’t save.

Broken Method – Doesn’t Save Settings!

One thing that always frustrates me when I install Ubuntu on a laptop, is that the default behaviour for the touchpad is to allow “tapping” as a left button click. Perhaps it’s just me with my fat fingers, but I am constantly clicking by accident. However, thankfully it is easy to fix with 4 simple steps.

  1. Simply edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, find the labelled “Synaptics Touchpad” and add the following line to the end of that section:
    Option "SHMConfig" "on"
  2. Install the qsnaptics utility with
    sudo apt-get install qsynaptics
  3. Now you need to load these new settings by rebooting x windows. To do this press CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE simultaneously.
  4. Finally, when you have logged back in, press ALT + F2 to bring up the run window. In this type qsynaptics and then click run. This will load qsynaptics where you can disable tapping on the tapping tab.

Managing SSH Keys in Mac OS X

For some reason that I haven’t yet worked out my OS X SSH Agent has stopped prompting me for a password when I load it up to add my private key. So I wondered what’s involved to manage my ssh keys with the command line instead.

First up, I had to install my public and private keys in ~/.ssh/

drwx------    5 paul  paul    170 Apr 24 20:32 .
drwxr-xr-x   40 paul  paul   1360 Apr 18 23:19 ..
-rwx------    1 paul  paul    951 Oct  6  2006 id_rsa
-rwx------    1 paul  paul    218 Oct  6  2006

Note the folder needs to be owned by your user with 700 permissions.

Once the keys are in, the actual process of starting an ssh-agent and adding a key is pretty straightforward:

eval `ssh-agent`
ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa

You will be prompted for a password and then that’s it! To confirm your key has been added correctly, you can list all the keys in your agent with:

ssh-add -l

How to fix the backspace key in screen

I’m running Ubuntu 7.04 on my home server, and for some reason today the backspace key stopped working correctly in screen. Whenever I pressed it, it would give a ‘Wuff Wuff’ error! It turns out that screen was treating it like the delete key instead, and so since there were no characters in front of the cursor, it was giving an error. To fix this however, is relatively straightforward:

First edit your .bashrc file and add an alias for screen:

$ vim ~/.bashrc
alias screen='TERM=screen screen'

Then run:

$ source ~/.bashrc

And that's it!

Mac Mini + Ubuntu + Quagga join LINX

We had a dilemma at work last week. We were joining the London INternet eXchange, and had to find some suitable BGP routers to install in their racks, but since power is somewhat limited in London data centres at the moment, we had to find something that used less than 150W of power draw.

The solution? A pair of Mac Minis running Ubuntu and Quagga with two 24 port HP gigabit switches.