From ThinkWiki
Revision as of 07:25, 9 March 2011 by Tonko (Talk | contribs) (IBM UltraNav)
Jump to: navigation, search
IBM UltraNav


The classic integrated pointing device in ThinkPads was always a trackpoint. With the T30 IBM introduced UltraNav, a combination of both the traditional TrackPoint coupled with a programmable touchpad. The technology for this combined pointing device comes from Synaptics. The TouchPad features several customizable features, including scrolling by movement along the edges, tap zones, and ignoring accidental touches.

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.

Select ThinkPads (at least some of R61) have ALPS dual pointing device (instead of Synaptics). This leads to some problems since ALPS refuses to provide specs how exactly TrackPoint is separated from TouchPad. Currently the choice is to configure TrackPoint to scroll properly with middle button pressed using generic "mouse" driver in X.Org OR apply tiny patch posted to bugzilla and configure 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 finger on right border of touchpad), often taskmanager shows an application/window on its first tab named "Syn Visual Window". Sometimes this stays on the screen and in task manager. It is a 1x1 pixel large window that is usually white. If you move the mouse directly over this pixel, a little icon appears like if the middle trackpoint button is used to scroll. This pixel can be removed by terminating SynTP* processes in taskmanager. Some claim that it can be removed by using the middle trackpoint button, although this is not always the case. So far this problem has been reproduced on T60P and T41P, but only by scrolling large wegpages in Firefox. After Firefox was closed, the pixel is still 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 to Synaptics or their driver developers, because Firefox "is not supported". Guess IBM only wants you to use IE. This bug is quite annoying because people think it's a wandering defective pixel.

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


Models featuring UltraNav