Logitech Marble FX mouse

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Logitech TrackMan (R) Marble FX Mouse Basic Setup & Tweak Guide

This is a simple guide for using this marble mouse on my Slackware 12.0 setup.

Since this is a plug and play mouse you will find that the 'auto' protocol of xorg.conf for the mouse works quite well on Slackware for this mouse. There is very little that we need to do to actually use our mouse.

However one of the advantages to a marble mouse, and the reason I decided to write this how-to is a feature commonly referred to as 'drag lock' which is not activated by default using the auto protocol. To me this is a must have feature for me when using a marble mouse and only requires a slight addition to our xorg.conf file.

This guide will demonstrate the following: 1. Setup xorg.conf to allow item (2) and (3) below. 2. Enable the drag lock in our xorg.conf file. 3. Optional: Get drag lock to work in web pages in Mozilla Firefox so we can use our track ball to vertically & horizontally scroll.

I will assume that you are already quite familiar with Slackware's xorg.conf.

Item 1 & 2 Setup for xorg.conf & Enable drag lock.

Below is my xorg.conf for this mouse:

Section "InputDevice"
      Identifier "Mouse1"
      Driver "mouse"
      Option "Device" "/dev/mouse"
      Option "Protocol" "auto"
      Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
#   This is for future use as  button 8 is not supported on Slackware 12 see below.
#   Option "EmulateWheelButton" "8"
      Option "DragLockButtons" "2 1"

For me the important item above is the "DragLockButtons" option above.

What this does is:

- makes the white button up top on the mouse above your thumb (which is seen by Xorg as button 2) activate drag lock on the the lower thumb button (which is seen by Xorg as button 1).


Now we can simply press button 2 with our thumb then use our thumb to roll the marble and scroll scroll scroll away while in the background we are in essence, pressing and holding the one key.

In simpler terms, you can press button 2 of your mouse (the white button above your thumb) with your thumb on the title bar of a program and now use your thumb to roll the marble, allowing you to move the application window. This also works for horizontal scroll bars, vertical scroll bars, or even for selecting text in a web page, word processor, or even moving an icon on your desktop.

As a side note:

There are other options available for this mouse. Personally I am happy with the defaults that Xorg yields on entering my xsession. The following is some of the information presented to us at the bottom of /var/log/Xorg.0.log which re-iterates our settings above *and* also let's us know what defaults it is using for some items that we did not address, that would could tweak further if we like.

(==) Mouse1: Emulate3Buttons, Emulate3Timeout: 50
(**) Option "DragLockButtons" "2 1"
(**) DragLock: button 2 is drag lock for button 1
(**) Mouse1: ZAxisMapping: buttons 4 and 5
(**) Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
(**) Option "EmulateWheelButton" "8"
(==) Mouse1: YAxisMapping: buttons 4 and 5
(**) Mouse1: EmulateWheel, EmulateWheelButton: 8, EmulateWheelInertia: 10, EmulateWheelTimeout: 200

You also see that Option "EmulateWheelButton" "8" in the xorg.conf & our Xorg.0.log? Xorg will allow us to uncomment that line in our xorg.conf file. That *is* what the printout above is for, an xorg.conf file with that line un-commented. However, for some reason it simply won't do anything on Slackware 12.0. It will in Slackware 11.0 and I haven't tested it on Slackware 12.1 rc's yet. It also does work on Debian Lenny, which has the same version of X that Slackware 12.0 does. Which is totally blowing my mind. I have played with all the numerous protocol's, xmodmaps to no avail. Therefore I have left the option in xorg.conf for you above so that you have it for future use, or reference purposes. The number 8 button is the little red button on the mouse on the thumb side of the mouse.

Item 3: How to get the mouse to work in Mozilla Firefox

This is totally optional and not required. There are other ways to achieve this functionality, I simply find this the easiest way.

As stated you can simply use the scroll bar with the draglock feature above. However, since my mouse is not always near the side or bottom of the page, it's nice to activate scrolling of a page from where ever our mouse may be positioned at the present moment while surfing.

To achieve this I use an extension called "Grab And Drag" by Ian Weiner. It is available at the firefox add-ons site.

After installing the extension, and restarting Firefox. Edit Grab and Drag's preferences, click on the "General Tab", under section "Behavior" there is a drop down for "Use the XXX mouse button to grab and drag" . Where "XXX" is a drop-down selection box. I use left for that option.


Now when I'm surfing the web, regardless of where I have my mouse cursor on the page, I can simply click on my button 2 of my mouse, then roll the marble and I have full vertical and horizontal scrolling with my marble.

I have tested this extension with Firefox and Firefox 3.0 beta 5.

Hope This Helps.