unity in 11.10 changes 3 finger tap behaviour

Bug #839769 reported by shane on 2011-09-02
This bug affects 29 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Won't Fix

Bug Description

unity does not allow me to use 3 finger taps on my touchpad the same way as other distributions/DE's/OS's

I am accustomed to using the finger tap as middle-click which I use for opening links and tabs and closing tabs in web browsers as well as pasting text.
I am able to do this in unity in natty as well as kubuntu oneiric, gnome shell, unity 2d in oneiric, windows 7 and every other linux distribution I have tried (lots).
In unity oneiric, 3 finger tap invokes "unity MT grab handles". After disabling the plugin, 3 finger tap invokes window moving.
If I disable the move windows plugin, 3 finger tap does nothing.

Omer Akram (om26er) on 2011-09-06
affects: unity → utouch
shane (shane-animail) wrote :

I see the bug has been changed to affect utouch rather than unity.
Thing is... I just happened to look and NONE of the utouch packages are installed.
I did go as far as installing utouch, which made no difference to the behaviour

Chase Douglas (chasedouglas) wrote :

Hi Shane,

You are correct that this is a Unity "bug". By design, Unity uses three touch gestures. This precludes the use of three touch taps for other actions, like middle click.

We are working on a new architecture for utouch that may allow for this behavior to be restored, but that is a ways off at this time.

FYI, the utouch package itself is merely a meta-package for developers. If you have unity installed, then utouch is there too.

affects: utouch → unity
Changed in unity:
status: New → Won't Fix
Susanne Schlensog (sschlensog) wrote :

I really don't understand why configurability of an input device is disabled by design.

shane (shane-animail) wrote :

Would it not have been possible to initiate window moving by holding down the fingers or dragging, leaving the 3 finger tap for middle clicks?

Susanne Schlensog (sschlensog) wrote :

I agree with shane. Holding down seems more logical to move a window than a 3-finger-tap.

bwat47 (bwat47) wrote :

This behavior really needs to be restored. Being able to use 3 finger tap to middle click is essential for many users, Its extremely useful for browsing in firefox with a touchpad for instance. 3 finger tab to open page in a new tab and to close a tab.

Nearly every other distro has this behavior by default. ubuntu's default behavior is extremely inconsistent and will confuse users.

shane (shane-animail) wrote :

Like I said, what's wrong with using both?

In Windows 7, I can use 3 finger TAPS as middle-click for opening tabs etc and I can ALSO use 3 finger PRESS for user configured actions, such as launching an application, or for application specific stuff.

Stuart Bishop (stub) wrote :

Is there a work around for issuing a middle click? There are a number of Unity features that require a middle click.

Dirk Mcbratney (djmcbratney) wrote :

I'm not certain that I understand why this is considered a duplicate of #754000. That bug refers to clickpads and the three-finger click, while this bug refers specifically to the Synaptics three-finger tap.

The question of the design choice is a separate issue. Middle click emulation with a rocker button (once it's enabled) is an annoyance, almost unusable, and the middle click is used extensively in browsers and at least in one feature in the Unity interface itself, for launching new windows for a running app. I can't imagine using the MT Grab Handles even remotely as often, so this is, to me, a bad design decision. But again, that's a separate question from whether or not this is in fact a duplicate of a bug that seems to me to be expressly referring to another issue.

shane (shane-animail) wrote :

Yes I think the reports do need separating again.
The author of the other bug has clearly stated the problem affects click pads (such as on Macbooks/Airbooks) where the entire touchpad clicks whereas this one is affecting TAPS on regular, non-clicking touchpads.

But as the previous poster mentioned, not only is this bug affecting functionality of other applications running in unity, it is affecting functionality of unity itself which seems to make the whole situation all the more odd.

So is there a way to restore the old behaviour in Oneiric?

jezhill (jeremy-hill) wrote :

This design decision is really irritating. I just moved from 11.04 to 11.10, and have now found that a really basic functionality, that I use hundreds of times a day, has been disabled.

This is clearly not a duplicate of 754000: "Please note this bug is about physically "clicking" a clickpad with 3 fingers. 3 finger tapping is different and has been intentionally overridden in Unity 3D by new gestures."

Where are the three finger gestures for which three finger touch this has been disabled? If I could see the benefit of this decision, the reasons that have been proposed might be a bit more convincing.

Chris Lasher (chris.lasher) wrote :

jezhill is correct, this is not a duplicate of bug #754000. This is a separate issue regarding a design decision of the Unity developers.

Chris Lasher (chris.lasher) wrote :

FWIW, the workaround I'm doing at the moment is re-compiling unity after having commented out the multitouch functionality. Middle-click now pastes the hightlighted buffer. Workaround source: at http://askubuntu.com/a/90383/11439

Andrey (abelt) wrote :

Unity three-finger gestures doesn't work on my touchpad. So I can't use my touchpad three-finger-drag to move windows and I can't use three-finger-tap for middle click. That's a pretty stupid desing decision.

Andrey (abelt) wrote :

Ubuntu 12.04 have some workarounds for this problem. They are described in bug #754000.

shane (shane-animail) wrote :

Workarounds don't solve the problem.
Someone who is able to use 3 finger taps for middle click on every other OS should not have to run commands or scripts to get back behaviour that was always there before unity took it away.
Especially when 3 finger taps don't do anything else at all.

And this is not a duplicate of of bug #754000 THE DUPLICATE STATUS IS WRONG

Why is this issue being ignored?

shane (shane-animail) wrote :

Not only that, the "workaround" of using synclient doesn't work after the computer goes into sleep mode, one has to re-run the command each time the computer wakes up.

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