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The classic integrated pointing device in a ThinkPad was always a TrackPoint. Starting with the T30 onward, IBM introduced the UltraNav, a combination of both the traditional TrackPoint coupled with a programmable touchpad. The technology for this combined pointing device comes from either Synaptics, ALPS, or ELAN. The touchpad features several customizable features, including scrolling by movement along the edges, tap zones, and ignoring accidental touches/palm rejection.

Linux Support

Both the TrackPoint and the TouchPad (UltraNav) work with the standard ps2 mouse driver of Linux kernels.

For advanced configuration of the touchpad, see the Synaptics TouchPad driver for X page.

Some ThinkPads (at least some of the R61 models) has an ALPS dual pointing device (instead of Synaptics). This leads to some problems since ALPS refuses to provide specifications on how exactly is the TrackPoint is separated from touchpad. Currently, the only choice to configure the TrackPoint to scroll properly with middle button pressed is to use the generic "mouse" driver in X.Org OR apply the tiny patch posted to bugzilla and configure the touchpad as Synaptics (but this breaks TrackPoint scrolling). To enable TrackPoint scrolling and use the ALPS touchpad, apply following patch: http://userweb.kernel.org/~akpm/mmotm/broken-out/input-mouse-alpsc-handle-touchpoints-buttons-correctly.patch, which has been merged into the main kernel 2.6.31-rc1.

If you wish to disable the touchpad, you can do so in the BIOS, or on modern HAL-enabled distributions, create a file /etc/hal/fdi/policy/disable-touchpad.fdi with the following content:

<match key="info.product" string="SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad">
 <merge key="input.x11_options.TouchpadOff" type="string">1</merge>

Windows Support

The UltraNav driver from IBM is based on the Synaptics driver. It contains a bug leading to "defective pixels".

If the scroll-function of the touchpad is used (moving a finger on the right border of the touchpad), the task manager will often show an application or a window on its first tab named "Syn Visual Window". Sometimes, this stays on the screen and in the task manager. It is a 1x1 pixel large window that is usually white in color. If you move the mouse directly over this pixel, a little icon appears as if the middle TrackPoint button is used to scroll. This pixel can be removed by terminating the SynTP* processes in the task manager. Some claim that it can be removed by using the middle TrackPoint button, although this does not always seem to be the case.

So far, this problem has been reproduced on the T60p and the T41p, but only by scrolling through large webpages in Firefox. Even after Firefox is terminated, the pixel would still be there. IBM was able to reproduce this by installing Firefox on a fresh recovery image in their labs. But they refuse to fix this or pass it onto Synaptics or their driver developers, because Firefox "is not supported". Guess IBM only wants you to use IE. This bug is quite annoying because it makes people think that it's a wandering defective pixel.

Recently, a T42 with Windows XP and Internet Explorer 7 was also able to reproduce this issue.

External Sources

Models featuring this technology