What is the BYD touchpad like?

Hello team,

I just want to know how the touchpad (or trackpad) really is. I ask because the situation right now is really sad as the only laptop manufacturer that does the job, is Apple. Is it compareable to Apples touchpad? (not gesture wise but hardware wise)

Key usability thing for me is the “click everywhere and it feels the same”. It should always, no matter where I click or press, feel the same. Even if I am not a big Apple fan, THAT thing they do right. So, how is it? :smiley:

Thanks a lot

One does no simply clone the new patented Apple Force Touch trackpad into Mordor…

I don’t have a Librem yet but I’ll certainly have a look at this once I receive mine.

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I just received my Librem 13 running Qubes OS. I’m typing this on my mid-2012 MacBook Air, which I hoped to replace with the Librem.

I think the Air is hardware perfection when it comes to touchpads. By contrast, the touchpad on the Librem has been a painful experience. I want to emphasize that (1) I’m running (for now) Qubes OS 3.1 because I wanted to switch to a security-centric OS, and (2) I’m a recent convert to Linux, so there may be workarounds for my issues but I haven’t found them yet. With those caveats, my experience over the past couple of days has been dreadful.

Qubes OS sees the trackpad as a standard mouse. So I have been unable to figure out how to perform a right click. It is also “all over the place” in that when I try to click and scroll in a window, the pointer flies over to the left (usually) or else a few cm off the target. I’m running Qubes 3.1 from the ISO off of Qubes website (Librem came with 3.0). I’m runing xfce instead of KDE. I have no idea if that matters.

So, as of now, I can’t add columns in Evolution (for email) because I can’t right click. I can barely navigate around the OS because the trackpad just acts “jeeky”.

You didn’t ask about the keyboard, but I really like the keyboard. The trackpad, however, sucks (for me).

I’m going to give the Librem about a week, and if it doesn’t get any better I’m probably going to sell it for whatever I can get for it and probably just get another Air.

Hi David. Everything works in PureOS, I’m not sure about Qubes. Have a look at BYD touchpad - tap to click and see if any of the suggestions there might help.

Try updating to Qubes R3.2. I have a Librem 13 running Qubes R3.2 and I don’t experience any of the problems you report.

I was originally running Qubes R3.0 on my Librem 13 and I did see most of the problems you report. So just upgrade.

Let’s be clear the touchpad on Librem-13 is far from good, but not that bad. It does not compare to Apple (my previous laptop was MacbookPro10,1) at all.

For instance I think that two finger scrolling is not yet supported (at least it still does not work on my Debian testing with bleeding edge kernel).

Bruno, two-finger scrolling does work with PureOS.

Are there any instructions or pointers you can provide on how to enable two-finger scroll and other advanced mousepad features on a stock Debian / Linux install? I’m happy to patch the kernel or whatever else is necessary or pull the relevant files in from the pureOS repo.

I’ll have this checked with our developer and report back.

So, from my limited testing so far, I don’t see a problem with the touchpad hardware per se. It’s glass-smooth, it detects my fingers, and it physicall clicks fine. Sure, it would be nice to have the “taptic” force touch trick that Apple uses in their newest Macbooks, but I can live with the current system where the touchpad clicks with less force required at the bottom than at the top.

The biggest area of improvement I can see is on the software/driver side, and that’s good news. The driver (as I tested in PureOS 2.1) is not perfect by any means, but if we were to look at it collectively we should certainly be able to improve it in no time. For starters, I would like to have palm rejection, movement cancellation while clicking, better interpretation of multi-finger scrolling and gestures, etc. And it should have a few options exposed in the GNOME Control Center for controlling “touch to click” and scrolling.

For what it’s worth, the current implementation is not (significantly) worse than other trackpads I’ve seen on Linux OSes so far, including the newer Thinkpad trackpads (without physical buttons). I think that if we were to nail down the software aspect of it, it might work just as well as the Macbook trackpads.

And if you install gpointing-device-setting, may be it could help to manage the trackpad. It’s made for! I’ve not a librem, I used a macbook pro under Ubuntu 15.10, and I don’t need to use gpointing, but I know that was done to set a mouse or a trackpad.

Any news about this? I can’t find anything on the purism’s github except for the https://github.com/purism/PureOS-kernel/tree/master/byd-mouse/drivers/input/mouse (which looks almost identical to the upstream driver). If PureOS includes some additional patches that make the touchpad actually useful and those are not available to the PureOS’ users, that’s a violation of GPL.


Looking at the symbols exported by the psmouse.ko from http://repo.pureos.net/pureosrepo/pool/main/l/linux-source-4.5.5-byd-update-pureos/linux-image-4.5.5-byd-update-pureos_4.5.5-byd-update-pureos-10.00.Custom_amd64.deb

0000000000002f50 T byd_detect 00000000000029e0 t byd_disconnect 0000000000000240 r byd_ext_cmd_data 0000000000002c30 T byd_init 00000000000002e0 r byd_init_param 0000000000000300 d byd_model_data 0000000000002a00 t byd_process_byte 0000000000003210 t byd_reconnect

It seems that they just ported the driver from here: https://github.com/raedwulf/linux/blob/byd/drivers/input/mouse/byd.c

Worth so much fuzz on the blog…

From the links you provided, and the merge request, it shows that people from the pureos/purism community provided improvements to an existing driver to get the basics of the Librem touchpad working. Then, as part of this community, there is plenty of opportunity for you to improve upon that driver and contribute patches too. From what I understand, the touchpad part supplier never provided docs so it’s essentially reverse engineering for the time being.

Well, I still don’t know if the driver I found is what PureOS uses or there are more changes made on top of it. Like I said, not providing users with the source code is a GPL violation. Exactly what you’d expect from the freedom-respecting laptop team.


Any report so far?

I am still unable to have two finger scrolling with stock Debian on my librem-13 :-/

Since we don’t get any response, I posted on hacker news about GPL violation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12565327. Please upvote. Maybe in that way we can actually get our freedoms respected.

Hello Aliaksey,

You can refer the changes done in the github,

The more history on the changes you can find

I work on a different timezone (IST) so I would not be able follow up this thread,
Please update me if you have any questions.

Pureos developer

Except that it’s not a GPL violation. The code was out there for everyone to see, as Hema pointed out when she finally stumbled upon this forum thread… is there any more information that you were looking for?

I looked at the commits, it’s a bit of a mess but at least it was out there while waiting for a new place to host it. I heard there’s a lot of infrastructure work going on to organize the code, bug reports, etc. into a proper central place for everyone to get involved in, it just takes time.

Well, I still don’t know if the driver I found is what PureOS uses or there are more changes made on top of it.

I don’t even know how to check for that myself. How would you verify that? I’d love to know.

Like I said, not providing users with the source code is a GPL violation.

There is no GPL violation whatsoever. As was pointed out above, the code has been publicly out there for months.

Exactly what you’d expect from the freedom-respecting laptop team.

Please refrain from making snarky remarks like that, it does not help your cause in any way, and it shows that you’re coming into the discussion with a negative bias instead of an open mind.

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