Finally solved: Touchpad x/y sensitivity differs with screen aspect ratio!

For the longest time, one of my biggest gripes about Linux in general is that my Synaptics touchpad was more sensitive in the x direction than the y direction. I figured that this was due to having a 16:9 laptop screen, and assumed that the driver scaled to screen aspect ratio by default. This was confirmed when I plugged in an external monitor, and (when the monitors were arranged side-by-side), the cumulative x-dimension was used to calculate the touchpad aspect ratio. This resulted in a much higher sensitivity in the horizontal direction than the vertical direction.

After finding zero helpful information on almost every website, I finally stumbled across a solution here (note that the first answer idiotically suggests that you check the mouse panel under system settings):

Solution for Ubuntu 11.04:
Add the options

Option "VertResolution" "75"
Option "HorizResolution" "75"

To the file /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

After doing that, mine looks like:

Section "InputClass"
     Identifier "touchpad catchall"
     Driver "synaptics"
     MatchIsTouchpad "on"
     MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
     Option "VertResolution" "75"
     Option "HorizResolution" "75"

Now log off and log back in, and it should be fine! 🙂

I’m running Linux Mint 11, and it works just fine for me.

Gnome 3 via PPA with Ubuntu 11.04

If you have Ubuntu 11.04, you can install Gnome 3 using the following commands from the terminal (thanks to for the info):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Now, every time I’ve tried this, Gnome 3 is already installed after these 3 lines. However,’s post lists a 4th line, which you can try if the above 3 don’t do the trick:

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Some other tweaks
Here are some things I had to do to get it working right on my laptop (Compaq Presario CQ-56 115DX w/ ATi Radeon Mobility 4200). I was getting graphical corruption when using the fglrx drivers, so in order to revert back to the open source drivers, I did this:

sudo apt-get remove fglrx
sudo rm -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Also, when I installed via PPA, the theme didn’t look right… Looked like something straight out of Windows 95. To fix things, I did the following:

Install Half-Left’s Gnome 3 Shell theme, “Elementary”:

Install Half-Left’s “Adwaita Improved” window theme:

I also made some tweaks to the gnome-shell.css file that comes with the Elementary theme. I did that by typing the following into the terminal:

sudo gedit /usr/share/gnome-shell/theme/gnome-shell.css

I’m not a big fan of large or bold fonts for a UI, so I just set all bold fonts to normal font-weight, and set the sizes to 8pt.

Installing Flash Player 64-bit for Chrome in Linux

Download the 64-bit Linux version of the plugin. The version I used was here, in tar.gz format.

Next, extract the file into your home directory. It should extract one file,

Finally, open a terminal, and type the following:

sudo mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins


sudo mv ~/ /opt/google/chrome/plugins/

Restart Chrome, and type


into the address bar. You should see the flash player plugin you just installed!

Compiling GLUT in Linux

This is just a quick supplement to my post on OpenGL on OSX.

To get the same code running under Linux, I simply changed the includes to the following:

#include <GL/glut.h>
#include <GL/gl.h>

…and compiled the code using the following line in the terminal:

gcc glutTest.c -lGL -lGLU -lglut

(Note that I’m using gcc because I’m now compiling a .c file. If it were a .cpp file, I would use g++ instead)

If you’re getting errors such as ” has incomplete type” or “invalid use of GLvoid”, simply replace all instances of GLvoid with just void, and it should work.