How to get Tap To Click back on your Debian 9 XFCE Linux install

We are at an early point in Debian 9, and therefore many of the “downstream” distributions in Linux-Land these days.

Debian just made Debian 9, Stretch, the Stable version.  It also came out with an upgrade to 9.1 a couple days ago.

Since my own laptop was a Debian 9.0 install, I had a problem.  The track pad no longer did a “tap to click”.  It was there in the earlier versions, and removed in a Debian 9.0 install.  They migrated to libinst.  It promises to be new and shiny and do many new things but most of these things are in the future – or so my lack of Tap To Click would show.

I don’t use many of the more complex mouse options with my laptop.  It’s a non touch screen, Lenovo Thinkpad T530.  I heavily use Tap to Click so I want it back.  My other laptop, a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga S1 had the same problem.  After a lot of research, this was shown to be a design decision.  Debian is my go-to operating system distribution due to the absolute depth of software and documentation out there.

So I set about to “fix it”.

DISCLAIMER:  I was able to do so on two computers but with some thrashing around.  I will give here the information that I have, but that thrash may make it less solid than my usual “cook book recipe” guarantee of any technical articles that I write.

Give it a shot.  If it works, let me know if you did anything different and I’ll mention it here.

Background – the documentation for Debian 9, Stretch, is still incomplete.  The files that I created had to be placed in Xsession.d and the directories that Debian gave were either missing or empty for me.  What they have is correct for the earlier versions and the docs need to be proofread.

Or I went crosseyed and got the wrong damn directory…

Since this blog is a place I put documentation for my own uses (Linux as well as recipes and photography), I’ll put it here.  I’d rather not have the heat of an official inquiry on me since I live in Florida and it is quite hot enough as it is.

First:  Create a 50-synaptic.conf – the file should probably not be there on a “clean install”

1) edit /etc/X11/Xsession.d/50-synaptics.conf

2) at the top merge (Copy and Paste) in the following lines:
Section “InputClass”
        Identifier  “touchpad catchall”
        Driver  “synaptics”
        MatchIsTouchpad “on”
MatchDevicePath “/dev/input/event*”
        Option  “TapButton1”  “1”
        Option  “TapButton2”  “2”
        Option  “TapButton3”  “3”
# This option is recommend on all Linux systems using evdev, but cannot be
# enabled by default. See the following link for details:
#       MatchDevicePath “/dev/input/event*”
EndSection
Second, copy that file to /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf
Third open terminal and sign into root to install a package:
apt install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics
Fourth: reboot.
On return, you should have tap to click working.  Entering “synclient TapButton1=1” on a command line should give you information for further research.
You may diagnose what the touchpad is doing by running as root “synclient”.
Entering “synclient TapButton1=1” on a command line should give you information for further research.
Further options such as multitouch, double finger tap for scrolling, and coast speeds and so forth are described in detail in the Debian Wiki Synaptics touch pad page at https://wiki.debian.org/SynapticsTouchpad

I just ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I’ll let you know.

What does the fat cow give you?

Teacher: “Kids, what does the chicken give you?”
Student: “Meat!”
Teacher: “Very good! Now what does the pig give you?”
Student: “Bacon!” Teacher: “Great! And what does the fat cow give you?”
Student: “Homework!”

 

A science teacher tells his class
A science teacher tells his class, “Oxygen is a must for breathing and life. It was discovered in 1773.”
A blonde student responds, “Thank God I was born after 1773! Otherwise I would have died without it.”

 

A teacher sent kids home with an assignment to find something that teaches a life lesson.

The next day Mary goes first and says “our chickens laid eight eggs so I thought we’d have 8 chicks, but only 5 hatched”

Teacher asks “what was the lesson?”
Mary says “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”.

Then it’s Bobby’s turn “my uncle was a Marine pilot in Vietnam. He was shot down and as he parachuted down he takes his ‘inventory’. He has a gun with 7 shots, a fifth of whiskey, and a knife. There are 100 men waiting for him on the ground. He drinks the whiskey on the way down and when he lands he kills 7 with the gun and the rest with his knife.”
Horrified the teacher asks “what’s the lesson here!?”

Bobby replies “don’t mess with my uncle when he’s drunk”

 

 

3 old guys were talking about their health problems

Old guy 1: I’m 75 and every morning at 7 i wake up but i just can’t pee. I’m too old and something is restricting it i don’t know.
Old guy 2: Ohh thats nothing, I’m 85 and everytime I wake up at 8 I just can’t poo. I feel so bloated all day.
Old guy 3: I’m 96. I don’t know about you, but at 7 i pee , at 8 i poo and at 9 I wake up

 

Mother and son in Grocery store.

A mother and her young son returned from the grocery store and began putting away the groceries. The boy opened the box of animal crackers and spread them all over the table.
“What are you doing?” his mother asked.
“The box says you can’t eat them if the seal is broken,” the boy explained.
“I’m looking for the seal.”

 

Border officer: Do you have anything to declare?

Traveller: Only an undying love of travel puns.
Border officer: …You just crossed a line, kid.

 

The housemaid has some bad and good news.

A housemaid calls her boss and says “I’ve got some good and bad news”
“Well give me the bad news first”
“Your dog died”
“My dog died! When did that happen?”
“After the horse kicked it”
“Well why in the world did the horse kick it?”
“Because the stables were on fire”
“The stables were on fire! I just feckin built them!”
“Well the flames managed to spread from the house somehow…”
“The house! The house caught fire? How the hell did that happen?”
“A candle fell off of your dad’s coffin”
“My dad died? When did THAT happen?”
“Soon after your mothers funeral I believe”
“My mother died too? How has such tragedy struck me on my holiday to Spain? Well damn you woman! What’s the good news?”
“Well, the heat from the flames brought the dandelions up high before the spring!”

 

A woman found a little boy crying on the street.
She asked him: “Why are you crying, boy?”
He answered: “A classmate of mine threw my sandwich away!”
“On purpose?” The woman asked.
“No,” he responded, “on the ground!”

 

What Is The Height Of Misunderstanding?
A Man Marrying His Own Secretary Thinking That She Will Still Follow His Orders As Before.

 

Why did the bald man paint rabbits on his head?
Because from a distance they looked like hares.

What do you call a fart in a funeral? Rip in peace.

I asked my friend, “if you had to get rid of one body part what would it be?”
He said, “My spine, it holds me back.”
“Or I’d get rid of my legs, because it stood me up.”

 

3 blondes are stuck on a river bank and can’t cross it. They find a bottle in the sand, and as they open it, a genie pops out.

“I will promise you 3 wishes. Pick carefully.” Says the genie.
“I want a boat.” Says the first one. The genie grants her wish, but the river current is too powerful and she drifts away to her death.
“I want a motorboat.” Announces the second blonde. However, it had no fuel. Off she goes to die.
“I want black hair.” Says the third one, and then she crosses the bridge.

 

I’m going to steal a news van.
It’s the perfect crime. How will they ever report it?

 

Why was everyone confused when a crab walked straight into the bar?
Because crabs only walk sideways.

 

How to install a southern home security system

Go to Goodwill and buy a pair of size 15 men’s work boots, and place them on your porch with a copy of Guns & Ammo magazine.
Place four of the biggest dog bowls you can find on the porch next to the boots and magazines.
Leave a note on the door that reads:

Bubba,

Me, Jimbo and Buck went to get more beer and ammo. Be back in a bit. Don’t mess with the pitbulls, they got the mailman real bad yesterday. I don’t think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, locked ’em all in the house, so you better wait outside. Be right back.

-Cooter

 

I absolutely love the earth’s rotation…
it really makes my day.

 

My friend, Boo, died on July 4th.

Sam, affectionately nicknamed “Boo”, died in a motorcycle incident this week. It was July 4th, and there was some drinking involved, hence the crash.

Just goes to show you guys, Boos and motorcycles don’t mix.

 

A hamburger walks into a bar
The bartender stares him down, and says “We don’t serve food here!

 

Why did the octopus cross the reef?
To get to the other tide.

 

What type of currency do people use in space?
Starbucks.

 

After all these years of marriage, my wife is still hot
However now it comes in flashes.

Using a Manifest to Recreate your Linux System Selectively

Last week, I had finally had enough of not being able to hibernate my computer.  There was enough “chaff’ and weird things happening.

I did realize that I could create a list of everything I had, and then get Linux to import that list and reinstall all my programs.

That would be my Manifest.

I did it knowing that I could be reintroducing the problem that I created with the old system.

I was right.  So I did it over, selectively.

And it worked.  Hibernate and video crashes were problems, and after 17 consecutive hibernate cycles over two days of active use, I’d say I am done.

This was a whole lot simpler.  You see, this scary Manifest thing is nothing more than a text file that is generated within “Synaptic” that contains all the markings of the programs that I installed over the 7 years that I had that Linux install.

I went through that file and deleted everything that I did not expressly know what that particular program was, or anything I knew I did not want.

Easy except the file was in chronological order or … well, lets just pretend it was and leave it at that.  Basically it can be sorted in alphabetical program order simply.

One line in Terminal, just like everything in Linux, would solve it.

Assuming the Manifest is called /home/bill/Desktop/Manifest.txt

In Terminal, issue this command string on one line:

cat /home/bill/Desktop/Manifest.txt | sort > /home/bill/Desktop/SortedManifest.txt

Now you’re in alpha order, and it makes it easier.

I did delete anything that started “lib” as well as KDE, gnome, and mate since I strongly prefer XFCE to all of those.  My choice, no big deal

I simply edited the file in Mousepad, and deleted all things I did not want.

If you want the long form description of all of this, Last Week’s Post is at this link.  However the short form is here:

1) on original install create a Manifest within Synaptic Package Manager.

a) open synaptic

b) Select File, Save Markings As

c) navigate to the place you want to store this file, and give it a name.

d) Tick the box “Save full state, not only changes”

e) Click Save.

2) Verify that your manifest is on removeable media.

3)  Remove any unwanted programs from the Manifest

4) save your important files from the operating system on removable media
/etc/samba/smb.conf,

/etc/apt/sources.list,

the Manifest file

5) Install a fresh copy of your Debian Based operating system on the destination computer.

Debian, *Ubuntu, Linux Mint, whatever…

6) Get the destination computer “up to date” and stable.

7) compare and manually update your /etc/apt/sources.list file from the original computer

copy the installed version to a save file

I copied my own from the original computer in its place and updated

then you will need to update the PGP keys for one or more added such as http://www.deb-multimedia.com

8) install the manifest by

a) open synaptic

b) Select File, Read Markings

c) find and open the manifest.txt file

d) click open

e) verify needed markings have been imported into Synaptic, and click Apply.

f) there will be additional libraries incorporated into your install list due to any new dependencies.

8) you’re done.  Verify everything is OK.  Live with it for a while.

You will want to add in programs like libdvdcss to allow DVDs to play, Samba to share files, but these things will need to be done individually.

9) File Sharing.  I used the Debian Wiki entry at https://wiki.debian.org/SambaServerSimple

a) apt install samba samba-client

b) edit /etc/samba/smb.conf  – or put the one in from the old computer assuming you had it working.

c) add your samba users:  smbpasswd -a USERNAME

replace USERNAME with the correct name, and it will ask you for the password

d) restart Samba:

    # /etc/init.d/samba restart
    or, if you are using systemd
    # /usr/sbin/service smbd restart

The Zombie Bunny Of Doom

The Zombie Bunny of Doom!

I walked out into my yard to find my dog tearing up the lawn with a bunny in its mouth. This was a very unusual sight because my dog always chased bunnies but never caught them. I took a closer look and realized in horror that the bunny belonged to my neighbors.

My family had had some “issues” with these people in the past, and I did not want to deal with another confrontation. I knew what I had to do, and it was not going to be pleasant.

I forced my dog to drop the bunny, which by now was covered in doggy slobber, mud, and dried blood. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, I threw it into the shower. I let water run over it until the water was a pure white, and I got my mom’s hair dryer and fluffed it up until this bunny looked good.

Once my neighbors left to get the mail, I saw my opportunity. I hopped their fence and set up the fluffy, dead bunny in its cage looking better than it ever had been. When I heard my neighbors coming, I scrambled back over the fence.

Not two seconds later, I heard a blood curdling scream from the neighbors’ house. Acting like a good neighbor, I rushed to the fence and said, “What happened, what happened?”

The neighbor looks at me, her face ghost-white, and says, “Two weeks ago, the bunny died, and he’s back!!!”

The Value of a Mule

A used car salesman retired and moved to the country. He bought a yearling stallion and a couple mares. He thought his pastoral life was pretty sweet, until the stallion started misbehaving. So, he asked his neighbor down the road what to do.

“You need a mule.” the old farmer said. “Will that help?” the salesman asked. “Absolutely. The only thing more pig-headed than a young stallion is a mule. He’ll have that horse playing second fiddle in no time.” “Well do you have a mule I could buy?” “Sure do. I’ll sell you Murphy, he’s a great mule, and i’ll only charge you $100.”

The salesman thought that was a great deal, and handed the farmer the $100 straight away. Later that week, he came by to pick up the mule.

“I’m here to pick up Murphy!” the salesman announced. “You know, I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” the farmer said, “but Murphy died two nights ago. “Well, can I have my $100 back then?” “No, I spent it already, I can pay you back, it’ll just be a while.” “Never mind that, I’ll just take the dead mule.” “What do you want with a dead mule?” “Does it matter? I’m paying you $100 for a dead mule.”

The farmer shrugged, and figured if this guy wants to buy a dead mule, that’s on him. So he helped load it up.

Several weeks later, the farmer met the salesman in passing, and just could not help but ask him about the mule.

“How did you ever come out on that dead mule?” “Great. I made $98 profit on that mule.”

The farmer couldn’t believe it.

“How did you get someone to pay $198 for a dead mule?” “I didn’t. I had a raffle, and the winner got the mule. I sold 100 tickets at $2 apiece.” “But wasn’t the winner upset when he found out the mule was dead?” “Of course he was.” said the salesman. “So I gave him his $2 back.

Migrating To A New Linux Computer With A Manifest

With Windows, you buy a new machine.  You copy a few things off the old one that you know are most important.  You make a token effort to re-create your old environment.  Then something Microsoft did gets in the way or you can’t find your original discs and you just keep it in the closet because you are afraid you will have lost all your data.  Because that’s what your buddy did down the block.

I’ve been told anyway.  I’ve also been told that most people have spare Windows computers that are taking up space.

Mac people can use a backup from Time Machine.  I’ve actually done that, and it is pretty slick.

I ran into a very different problem  My backups were perfect clones of the original.  But my original was “broke”.

Note:  This migration process is SO very easy that it takes about a half hour of actual hands on keyboard “work” and about 3 hours of processing time.  I have done this a couple times in a short span of time and am now getting “Creative” with the process.

Narrative:

Once upon a time, I installed Linux, and it was good…

Actually I installed Debian.  I figured that if there are so very many distributions of Linux that were forked from Debian, that Debian itself was safest.

I think I was right, no proof, just my opinion.  I have done my distribution hopping and had a machine in 1995 that was still being used in 2010 with CentOS 4.  Still stable, I just had much better hardware by then than my old Panasonic Omnibook with a Pentium 3 chip in it.  Yes, a 15 year long stretch with a computer is a long time, and I was the third owner of the machine.  It was my “pet”

I ran Debian 7 along side my Windows machines, and slowly found myself using Linux more than Windows.  I still use windows today, Windows 8.1 specificially, and I have an XP virtual machine With The Embedded Patch so I can get windows updates, but I don’t think I have run that within a month.

The only thing I use Windows for now is Photoshop, and really there are Linux programs like Gimp and Inkscape that will do what I need.

My original install was in my Dell.  Seven years ago in 2010.  First generation i7.  Dell Precision M4500. Blasted thing was built like a tank.  It loved, and once again loves, Linux.  I lived there for a year or more.  Then I was given upgrades, a couple times.  The original install went from machine 1 through 4.  Along the way Debian got upgraded to Debian 8, then recently 9 although I joined 9 back when it was “Testing”.

You see with Linux, you can clone the hard drive, take the clone, plug it into a new machine, and it just may work.  All you need is a USB caddy for the destination drive and as long as your drive names line up it works.  dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=4M conv=noerror,sync

For the most part it did but there were weird video affects and strange hibernate and resume problems. This cropped up as a result of taking machine 1’s operating system and making it stable in machine 2 and 3 and later 4.

The actual process:

So here I am, creating from scratch Son Of Original Install. Debian 9 with XFCE4.  Oh, and a lot of extra “baggage” that I don’t need but it is easier that way.

I decided that I would create a list of programs that I could reinstall on the New Machine and see how it works.  Also this is done with me in XFCE4.  We Linux People are if nothing else, flexible.  If it is not where I said it is, poke around a bit.

Step 1.  New Machine, is a Thinkpad T530, and gets a clean “Bare Metal” install of Debian 9. I ended up doing it a couple times, and so far the only weirdness is that it insists that I do “sudo su” if I want my terminal session to be and remain root.  They also renamed the network devices that have been used for decades.  So when I get to the network tweaks that I will have to do, I may have to edit a configuration file. Most likely samba.conf.

Success.  I’m typing this from that machine now.

Step 2.  Create Manifest and install it from Synaptic. (Menu, System, Synaptic)

Step 2a.  On Original, open Synaptic.  After giving it the password for Root create a manifest by clicking “File, Save Markings As” and ticking a box at the bottom of the window that says “Save full state, not only changes”.

Synaptic created the file with everything and in next step, it will place everything where I need it.  Yes, it will add a lot of software I don’t really need, but with Synaptic and Linux, I can purge all that stuff with a simple “apt purge” and it will remove it all, completely.  Put it on a chip or USB stick and place it on the new machine.

You can edit the file and delete anything out that you know won’t be needed, but you will have to trust Synaptic to realize what you’re trying to do.  Best if you did the removal in the next step.

Step 2b.  On New install on the new machine, open Synaptic and select “File, Read Markings”.  Tell it where that file is.  It will read it in and select all your “markings” from the manifest and instruct Synaptic to later install.

I did that in bed.  It was 8GB worth of upgrades on a replacement for my old 7 year lived in install.

Here is where I am second guessing and should have removed the other programs and window managers that I don’t use.  I like XFCE4, it’s light, fast, and configurable.  Others prefer KDE or Gnome.  I have them all installed.  Why not, it’s a seven year old install.  If you remove it before telling Synaptic to update, Synaptic will get rid of the chaff along with it.  I didn’t want to, I wanted “What I Had On The Old Install”.

Step 3.  Bring over my home directory.  I cloned the Original install on a backup drive.  I took that drive and plugged it into an external case.  Plugged that into the USB port. It is copying.

Step 4.  Live with it.

I have to go with this new install for a while spotting problems.  And I haven’t gone back to the old machine since.

Step 4a) The first one was I had to be able to play DVDs.

Change, as root, the /etc/apt/sources.list file by editing it and adding four lines:

#2017-07-08 to add libdvdcss

deb http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/stable/ /
deb-src http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/stable/ /

Then install as root by “apt install libdvdcss2”.

VLC worked by playing Futurama in Spanish.  Leela is a babe.

Step 4b) network shares on windows are not yet accessable.

SAMBA was installed on Original, and it was happy.  It took a lot of twiddling to get that there.  Luckily I could copy over and merge it into my bare bones samba.conf file.  I saved the new one as installed, then copied the one over from Original, then restarted.

Fixed the access to my network shares.  It did not fix the share I had on the new machine.  I’ll work on that.

Step 5) Conclusion is that this process works.

Worked.  I’m on day 6 of all of this.

Two problems cropped up:

1) The network share on my “new” machine still hasn’t been fixed but I will deal with that later

2) Flash does not work.  Flash, as a platform, is dying. The only place it irks me is on www.imgur.com when I run across a short video to play.  I’ll look into that at my leisure.

Step 6) Epilogue:

Furthermore…  I got bored and did it again with another machine.  I had it working once the updates happened.  It’s a first generation Thinkpad Yoga S1 and has its own problem.

That’s the thing, there will always be quirks.  Be prepared.  They happen because the new computer has different hardware than the original one.  You may need drivers, and you may need to remove software.

After all you still have your old machine and its backup, so you can go back if you want.  This “migration” is completely safe to your original data.