How To: Setup Your VAIO F Series Touchpad in Ubuntu

I recently installed Ubuntu 10.04 alongside Windows on my VAIO F12 and I was pretty happy with it until I tried to use it in the car.  The ALPS touchpad wouldn't respond at all and wasn't listed in xinput list.  This is obviously very annoying, but the fix is easy.  I found this after a lot of searching in the Ubuntu forums, so credit goes to the guys who discovered this fix in their log files.

1. Run sudo gedit /etc/default/grub and you should see GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""
2. Add i8042.nopnp in-between the quotes (GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="i8042.nopnp")
3. Run sudo update-grub
4. Reboot

You may also need to add the touchpad to Xorg.conf.  I did this as part of my early troubleshooting and left it there.  If updating grub doesn't help then you may need to do this as the final step.

1. Backup Xorg.conf: sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf-backup
2. Run sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
3. Add these lines:

Section "InputDevice"
          Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
          Driver "Synaptics"
          Option "sendCoreEvents" "true"
          Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
          Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
          Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "0"
          Option "SHMConfig" "true"

Besides the touchpad, there are a few other annoyances that I think are worth mentioning.  Ubuntu enables Bluetooth every single time X server is restarted or the PC is rebooted, but this can be fixed with scripts.  The keyboard's backlight stays on constantly, even in the light and the keys can't be held down.  I don't have any audio and, finally, the Nvidia graphics card was a real pain to get working.  Twice I had to use low-graphics mode to fix the Xorg.conf file, which had become non-existent.  I think I have the Bluetooth and Nvidia issues resolved and I'll be working on the other problems later.

I found a nice blog completely devoted to running Ubuntu on a VAIO here (vaioubuntu.wordpress.com).  There is some good stuff there, including a script to fix Bluetooth.

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lengau said...

I'd like to direct anyone who this bug affects to a set of bug reports on Launchpad.

Jeremiah said...

Thanks for the post. Saved me tons of time chasing down the same touchpad issue on my dual-booted Vaio.

Christopher Maddalena said...

I'm glad this helped out!