Yes, you missed something big. You’re focusing on emulating missing buttons. I keep saying that as long as buttons are missing and therefore in need of emulation, I’m stuck in an environment that provides such emulation. The hardware constraint that has been put on the Librems is that you only get to use one mouse button, so you have to make that one mouse button function as if it were two or three mouse buttons. I can’t use LXDE, for example, because it doesn’t emulate missing mouse buttons. I don’t need complex virtual mouse button emulation. What I need is actual, hardware mouse buttons for use in an environment that expect actual, hardware mouse buttons to be present.
Not everyone wants one of the heavy-handed desktops such as GNOME. Sure, GNOME can handle bizarre hardware such as this, but it comes at the cost of forcing bizarre behaviour on the user. There are a multitude of features in GNOME that frequently get complaints from thousands of people, who just want a way to turn them off. People even send in pull requests to add configuration options to disable such features. These pull requests get declined because the GNOME team thinks that their way is the one and only right way to do things, even if it pisses off the user, or doesn’t go well with the user’s workflow. The GNOME team deosn’t even need to solve the problem of how to make these things configurable. Users are doing that for them and sending in the code, but they don’t want such features to be turned off by anyone. And it’s not just GNOME doing that. Xfce does it too, and while I’m not overly familiar with KDE Plasma development, it wouldn’t surprise me if the KDE developers had a similar mentality. Choosing a desktop that works well for your personal workflow is pretty important, especially given that the teams working on the complex desktops tend to disregard what users need and want and try to force their one-true-use-case setups.
Yes, I game on the go. And the games I play make use of all three mouse buttons, though I could make do without the middle one. Gaming isn’t the main problem, but I brought it up as another reason emulation doesn’t get the job done. I guess that’s irrelevant though, as the fact that emulation isn’t always available makes problems with the emulation, such as an inability to press multiple virtual mouse buttons at once, a moot point. With only one hardware mouse button, I have no right click. At all. I have no middle click. At all. That is, unless I use a desktop that drives me up the wall in a few months, such as GNOME, Xfce, or KDE.
Complex desktop environments aren’t doing anything for me, besides getting on my last nerve. I’m not relying on them for anything, but rather, I’m stuck on them because this laptop is missing a hardware left and right mouse button split.
I don’t blame the Librem for “all things I cannot achieve”. I blame the Librem for not having a left and right mouse button, when every other laptop I’ve ever owned in my entire life has had a left and right mouse button, as these are pretty vital buttons to have. I’ve had laptops without a middle mouse button, but I’ve never come across a laptop so foolishly made that it didn’t have a left and right hardware mouse button. Since running into problems on this laptop, I’ve done research and found that some other laptops suffer from the same shortcoming, so you don’t need to tell me the Librems aren’t the only ones. But I’ve never seen such machines in person, and as far as I can tell, they’re not that common. Most manufacturers have the sense to include the two most important mouse buttons, even if they don’t include the third. Where the Librem goes wrong is that it assumes every user is going to want to use GNOME, which provides emulation for the missing buttons. But even assuming users want to stick with GNOME, having hardware mouse buttons on GNOME can be very helpful. Similar to how Apple removed the headphone jack to to make their iPhones thinner, which was something no one was asking for, it seems like Purism chose not to include mouse buttons to make their laptops look nicer at the cost of a loss in functionality. Not exactly a great idea, if you ask me.
My guess is that the hardware I’m on now is a lost cause. I’ll need to replace it, and probably pretty soon. I have no delusions that a trackpad-with-buttons combo will be produced that can be swapped in to replace the current trackpad-with-one-button-under-it component. My hope though is that Purism will provide options on their future machines; variants with hardware mouse buttons. (A track stick option would be much appreciated as well, though I’d settle for just the mouse buttons.)