Xubuntu + Dell Latitude D505 Tips

A couple quick tips for some nagging problems, and fixes, I encountered on my old Dell Latitude D505 laptop after a fresh Xubuntu 8.04.1 install:

  • You might experience a “pop!” sort of sound (NOT a system beep) every few seconds, or minutes. You might also have discovered that the screen slightly goes dark sometimes after each “poppping” noise. This is most likely due to a shoddy AC Power adapter hooked up to your laptop. It was the case for me — so much for power adapters from eBay. Anyway, the reason why Xubuntu is playing this “pop” sound (which you notice is simply a sound file, since you can kill it if you mute the sound) is because it considers the unplugging of your AC Power cord as an “error”, and plays this sound, which represents a generic system “error.” So to disable the sound, you need to disable the sound: click on Menu -> Settings -> Settings Manager -> Screensaver -> Power Management, and from here, go to the General Tab and uncheck the Use sound to notify in the event of an error checkbox. Tada! And, to disable the screen from flickering each time, go to the On Battery Power tab, and uncheck the Reduce backlight brightness option. Problem fixed! (Or of course, just get a good AC Power adapter.) Credits.
  • The touchpad “tap” or “tapping” feature to click on a button or item is too sensitive for me by Xubuntu’s default settings. Unfortunately, there is no way you can disable this setting, unless you manually edit the usual /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Just follow CJ56‘s instructions as stated here on post #5. In case the forum is down, here is what he said: add the lines Option “MaxTapTime” “0”” and also Option “MaxTapMove” “0” under your “InputDevice for your “SynapticsTouchpad” value. Now, your touchpad’s tapping functionality is gone. Of course, you can comment out those lines or delete them if you want tapping back.
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4 thoughts on “Xubuntu + Dell Latitude D505 Tips

  1. i’m trying to set up xubuntu/intrepid on an old dell latitude cpx, & this tap-clicking crap makes the machine just about unusable:-P

    so i eagerly editted xorg.conf…and THERE IS NO SynapticsTouchpad section!@#$%^&*()^%$#@%^&*^ WTF!?!?!?!

    no wonder linux isn’t pushing windoze aside:-(

  2. Here are the relevant parts from my current xorg.conf for my Dell Latitude D505. BTW, I recommend Arch Linux — the installation process alone is very educational and will teach you a lot about how Linux is structured. And its wiki pages are top-notch as well. (I followed the synaptics wiki page from the Arch Wiki to get my touchpad set up and to disable tapping).

    Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "X.org Configured"
    Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
    #Screen 1 "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
    InputDevice "SynapticsTouchpad" "SendCoreEvents"
    InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    EndSection

    Section "Module"
    Load "dbe"
    Load "extmod"
    Load "glx"
    Load "dri"
    Load "xtrap"
    Load "freetype"
    Load "synaptics"
    EndSection

    Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "SynapticsTouchpad"
    Driver "synaptics"
    Option "AlwaysCore" "true" # send events to CorePointer
    #Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
    Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
    Option "SHMConfig" "false" # configurable at runtime? security risk
    Option "LeftEdge" "120" # x coord left
    Option "RightEdge" "830" # x coord right
    Option "TopEdge" "120" # y coord top
    Option "BottomEdge" "650" # y coord bottom
    Option "FingerLow" "14" # pressure below this level triggers release
    Option "FingerHigh" "15" # pressure above this level triggers touch
    Option "MaxTapTime" "0" # max time in ms for detecting tap
    Option "VertEdgeScroll" "true" # enable vertical scroll zone
    Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "true" # enable horizontal scroll zone
    Option "CornerCoasting" "true" # enable continuous scroll with finger in corner
    Option "CoastingSpeed" "0.30" # corner coasting speed
    Option "VertScrollDelta" "20" # distance finger needs to move to scroll; shorter distance = faster scroll speed
    Option "HorizScrollDelta" "20" # horizontal scroll speed
    Option "MinSpeed" "0.50" # speed factor for low pointer movement
    Option "MaxSpeed" "0.60" # maximum speed factor for fast pointer movement
    Option "AccelFactor" "0.20" # acceleration factor for normal pointer movements
    EndSection

    Notice how you need the synaptics module installed. I think you can do this by installing the gsynaptics package as mentioned in the link to the Ubuntu forums in my original post. I don’t use Xubuntu anymore (I’m strictly Arch Linux + Xmonad now), so I might be wrong about gsynaptics. Hope this helps.

  3. thanx 4 the suggestion, but i 4got 2 mention: i have no internet connection…the broadcom wireless card i have (a linksys wpc54gs) sees my WAP (after installing the b43 firmware) but refuses to stay connected:-P

    yet another reason linux isn’t displacing windoze…

    but i will give arch a try…oh, wait: “optimized for the i686 and x86-64”
    guess i’m sol with my p3:-(

  4. By p3 you mean Pentium 3? The PIII is an i686 — according to this page — so Arch should build just fine on there. BTW, you don’t have ethernet? How do you plan to go on the net for help if your wifi breaks (at least during intial config/testing stage)? I suggest you go to any one of the Linux distro support forums (Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.) — there will be many people willing to help you there.

    NOTE: I will edit/modify future comments from you regarding your Linux migration problems — since I am not a Linux tech support guy (also see the “About This Blog” page).

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