When the subsystem checkout page does not have enough space to discuss issues with a particular item, it is extended here.
The touch panel has no separate buttons; rather, it has
clickable corners. Out of the box it was frustrating to use, and it has
taken some user training and some configuration file editing to win it
a green rating. See
man 4 synaptics for driver parameters.
Some but not all of this discussion is Linux specific;
on Microsoft Windows there is a configuration GUI.
Palm suppression is not on by default, and it is very sensitive to stray touches. I need to experiment with the driver's palm suppression settings.
There is only one clicker, involving physical motion of the lower edge of the panel. Which button is emitted, depends on where you touch. By default the bottom edge is split in half for the left or right buttons. Use the SoftButtonAreas option to make a space for the middle button.
When you move the panel edge to click, your finger necessarily moves, causing the pointer to move, which is bad. Use the AreaBottomEdge option to reserve an area for clicking only, not for cursor motion. But it also disables tapping in that area; too bad.
With the default settings, if you tap (touch and quickly release) with one finger, it emits button 1 (left). If you tap with two fingers, it emits button 2 (right), and three fingers give button 3 (middle). However, getting this to work reliably involves user training. The tap must be long enough and firm enough; maybe longer than 100 msec, but not too long. Also it is prone to double events, e.g. emitting button 3 twice. When precision is essential, use the clicker.
Drag and drop is supported: touch, quickly release, then quickly touch again, and the driver will emit button 1 down, but will not release it until you lift your finger, after having moved some screen object elsewhere.
To scroll vertically (buttons 4 and 5), touch with two fingers and move vertically. Many apps are sensitive to this signal. To scroll horizontally (buttons 6 and 7) you can do similarly with horizontal motion, but this is not on by default and I have not yet successfully made it turn on.
Here is my supplement to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf -- put it in the same directory with a higher number, e.g. 60-synaptics-J.conf
# For Synaptics touchpad on Sony Vaio. See man 4 synaptics . Section "InputClass" Identifier "Jimc clickpad buttons" MatchDriver "synaptics" # (This is in 50-synaptics.conf, try to override it:) # SoftButtonAreas parameters: right(left right top bottom) middle(lf rt top btm) # 0 = extends to infinity in that direction. 0 0 0 0 = disable area. Taps # outside these areas are as normal, i.e. left button unless tapping disabled. Option "SoftButtonAreas" "67% 0 82% 0 33% 67% 82% 0" # To disable the bottom edge area so the buttons only work as buttons, # not for movement, set the AreaBottomEdge Option "AreaBottomEdge" "82%" # Horizontal scrolling is not on by default, and this failed to enable it: Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "True" EndSection
The keyboard is
full size, 19mm key spacing. There are
six regular rows with reduced size function and navigation keys in the
top row. A seventh row has the CD eject key, keys labelled
Vaio (which do not produce normal
keycodes), and the power button. At the right of the alphabetic area
is a separate numeric pad, similar to a desktop keyboard. There are
a total of 108 keys; a generic 104 key layout should work out.
Key feel is reasonable, with proper negative resistance when you press the key. So far I haven't noticed any missed keystrokes, nor false activations.
This keyboard is backlit. Controls will be found in /sys/devices/platform/sony-laptop/ (plus other items). The files in this directory are:
The keyboard backlight only comes on when the ambient light is below a certain level, measured as about 40 lux. This is moderately bright nighttime artificial lighting The sensor is in the large round hole above the F7 key. When illumination goes below the limit, the lamp comes on within 2 seconds; when illumination returns, the lamp goes out according to the value in kbd_backlight_timeout, except in about half the documented time. Documentation suggests that the lamp may come on upon any keypress, but this does not happen under Linux; forum posters report that it does happen (when they don't want it) on other Sony Vaio models.
So far I have not discovered how to read the ambient light sensor, though there is a daemon floating around to adjust the screen brightness on certain Vaio models.