In this post, I explain how I configure my trackball through xorg.conf file and ask what I should do instead, knowing that xorg.conf is deprecated.

Long Introduction:

I've been using a Logitech Trackman Marble trackball under a GNOME desktop for a while and I'm very happy with the feeling. ( http://www.logitech.com/fr-be/mice-pointers/trackballs/devices/4786 )

Unfortunately, when you plug it under any Linux distribution (tested with Ubuntu, OpenSuse GNOME and Fedora), there's no middle click and no scrolling. Only basic mouse movement and left and right click are working.

What I want to achieve is the following:

  • big left button : standard click
  • small left button: middle click
  • big right button: right click or enabling ball scrolling when big left button pressed
  • small right button: disabled (not easily clickable anyway)

That configuration is achievable by creating /etc/X11/xorg.conf with the following content:

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Marble Mouse"
Driver "evdev"
MatchProduct "Logitech USB Trackball"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
MatchIsPointer "yes"
Option "ButtonMapping" "1 9 3 4 5 6 7 2 8"
Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "3"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false"


1) Knowing that xorg.conf is deprecated, what should be the best way to configure my trackball ?

2) Is there any way to configure it in user space to allow different users to have different configuration (e.g. one is left handed) ?

3) The current default configuration for this device is completely suboptimal. Against which project should I report a bug in order to have a better default plug-n-play configuration ?

4) Is there any project to offer a graphical configuration tool for that ?

Bonus question: If you use the same device, do you have any trick to avoid the ball being blocked by the finger grease? ;-)


2 Answers 2


The new place to put tweaks is: /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf which may be elsewhere according to distro, eg /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf

For more info see the Arch Wiki for Logitech (there's a GNOME bug which is also mentioned in the Ubuntu writeup.)

The arch wiki also shows how to set it up per-user with ~/.Xmodmap or ~/.xinitrc


Use xinput -- start with list and list-prop options and work your way for available parameters -- like this for middle button emulation

$ xinput --set-prop "Logitech USB Trackball" "Evdev Middle Button Emulation" 1

  • 1
    Thanks for the information. I didn't know about xinput (which is provided by xorg-x11-apps under Fedora). Unfortunatly, not all options are available (see x.org/archive/X11R7.5/doc/man/man4/evdev.4.html#sect5 ). Basically, only the one you wrote is useful.
    – ploum
    Jan 4, 2012 at 12:10

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