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Old 11th June 2013
gmjs gmjs is offline
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Default NetBSD and a Synaptics Touchpad

Hello,

I'm new to BSD and am trying to configure a NetBSD installation on a laptop. The installation runs smoothly (except the NIC isn't supported).

I can use the console and start X, but as soon as I touch the touchpad, the keyboard (and touchpad) no longer respond. A USB keyboard and mouse connected will still work.

dmesg reports:
Code:
pms0 at pckbc1 (aux slot)
pms0: Synaptics touchpad version 7.2
pms0:Palm detect
pckbc1: using irq 12 for aux slot
wsmouse0 at pms0 mux 0
I've tried adding a 'driver "synaptics"' line to xorg.conf, but then a USB mouse no longer works and the problem stands.

Do I have to compile a kernel with synaptics support, or is there something simple I haven't done to get this working correctly?

Many thanks for any help.
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Old 11th June 2013
Ninguem Ninguem is offline
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You may need to edit the xorg.conf file. The NIC will be detected when booting. The output from
Code:
dmesg
will tell you what the NIC is. Look up with
Code:
apropos $NIC_NAME_WITHOUT_NUMERICAL_VALUE
to see if a driver is available.
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Old 11th June 2013
gmjs gmjs is offline
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There is a driver available (it's a JMicron ethernet controller) but the jme driver doesn't work (even after switching to base10T as recommended in some man pages). Still, I don't much mind that.

The touchpad is more of a problem. If I catch it by accident when typing, I lose keyboard input and have to power off.
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Old 11th June 2013
shep shep is offline
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Based on my own prior research and this prior post
Thinkpad nvram in NetBSD I have been under the impression that a custom kernel was needed.

In Arch Touchpad Wiki it is possible to disable the touchpad upon external mouse detection.

I also believe that some notebooks have a Fn Key to disable the touch pad.
You may be able to use something like xdotool(1) run in .xinitrc/.xsession to disable when starting X.org. Note that xdotool is wip in NetBSD and the referenced manpage is from FreeBSD.
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Old 11th June 2013
gmjs gmjs is offline
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I've just checked the "GENERIC" config file for compiling the kernel (it's not something I've done before---but I think I'm in the right place).

The following options for wscons are listed, suggestingthat support for the touchpad should be available in the generic kernel (amd64):

Code:
# Console Devices

# wscons
pckbc0		at isa?			# pc keyboard controller
pckbd*		at pckbc?		# PC keyboard
pms*		at pckbc?		# PS/2 mouse for wsmouse
#options 	PMS_DISABLE_POWERHOOK	# Disable PS/2 reset on resume
options 	PMS_SYNAPTICS_TOUCHPAD	# Enable support for Synaptics Touchpads
options 	PMS_ELANTECH_TOUCHPAD	# Enable support for Elantech Touchpads
vga*		at pci? dev ? function ?
genfb*		at pci? dev ? function ?
options 	VCONS_DRAW_INTR
wsdisplay*	at vga? console ?
wsdisplay*	at wsemuldisplaydev?
wskbd*		at pckbd? console ?
wsmouse*	at pms? mux 0
The pms driver man page has an interesting paragraph:

Code:
The pms driver has been updated to attempt to renegotiate mouse protocol
     after seeing suspicious or defective mouse protocol packets, or unusual
     delays in the middle of a packet; this should improve the chances that a
     mouse will recover after being switched away or reset (for instance, by a
     console switch).

Perhaps there's something wrong with the data that is being sent when the touchpad is pressed? I wouldn't know how to check though.
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Old 10th July 2014
gmjs gmjs is offline
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Since installing NetBSD 6.1.4 there appears to have been changes that mean I now have a working network connection with the jme driver. Good news!

The way the touchpad is detected also seems to have changed. Initially, I thought that the touchpad isn't recognized at all in 6.1.4, as it is no longer listed in the dmesg output, and still causes the keyboard to stop working if pressed.

However, if I press the touchpad or one of its buttons at the GRUB bootloader (I'm booting with other OSs and am using GRUB2 from an ArchLinux installation to chainload the NetBSD partition) the touchpad is recognized and appears to be working correctly (pms0 detects a Synaptics Touchpad 7.2 "Palm Detect").

So I was wondering if anyone can suggest why this could be and if there's something I can do to force NetBSD to look for the touchpad. I can't decide if it's how I'm booting NetBSD, or something I need to get NetBSD to do at bootup.

Many thanks.
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Old 10th July 2014
shep shep is offline
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Your initial post, over a year old, indicated you were new to BSD. If in the interim you have developed an attachment to NetBSD you can ignore what follows. IMHO, Touchpads are best supported in OpenBSD. They often work out of the box and are easy to customize with synclient(1).

Last edited by shep; 10th July 2014 at 11:13 PM. Reason: punctuation
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Old 10th July 2014
gmjs gmjs is offline
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I hear you. OpenBSD does run the touchpad "out of the box" on the same machine, so I think I should really go with that instead. It was just the fact that pkgsrc was created for NetBSD that made me want to use it (although it looks well supported in OpenBSD too). And it seemed so close to working tthat I thought I'd post just in case someone had seen this problem before. Thanks for your patience though!
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Old 10th July 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmjs View Post
It was just the fact that pkgsrc was created for NetBSD that made me want to use it (although it looks well supported in OpenBSD too).
While NetBSD's pkgsrc effort claims support of OpenBSD:

http://www.netbsd.org/docs/software/...html#platforms

...recognize that the NetBSD project does not have the resources to ensure that each & every available application has been extensively tested on all supported operating systems. If you are going to use OpenBSD, check to see if the applications you want and/or need can be found in OpenBSD's own package system first:

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq15.html

Even officially supported applications in OpenBSD receive only nominal testing, but you will find more willing ears in that community to help troubleshoot problems using officially ported applications than with those installed through pkgsrc. While the pkgsrc effort is phenomenal & provides lots of options, the further one moves from NetBSD, the more you will be on your own.
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Old 12th July 2014
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Ah, I think I'm just showing lack of understanding. So the packages made available on OpenBSD ftp servers are the result of a completely separate effort to pkgsrc and NetBSD binary packages? The list of available binary packages looks great, so I'm sure I'll be giving OpenBSD a go. Thanks.
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Old 12th July 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmjs View Post
So the packages made available on OpenBSD ftp servers are the result of a completely separate effort to pkgsrc and NetBSD binary packages?
Correct. FAQ15, as previously mentioned, will give a number of details.
Quote:
The list of available binary packages looks great, so I'm sure I'll be giving OpenBSD a go.
Three places which can be used to search for third-party applications available on OpenBSD are:If the ports tree is installed locally, FAQ15 discusses how searches can be done there.
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Old 12th July 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmjs View Post
It was just the fact that pkgsrc was created for NetBSD that made me want to use it (although it looks well supported in OpenBSD too).
That is a bald–faced lie! I am probably the last person who tried to bootstrap pkgsrc on OpenBSD around times of OpenBSD 4.6 for education purposes. It failed miserably. Since then I learnt that pkgsrc even on NetBSD itself is tested only on amd64 maybe i386. NetBSD guys use cross compiling for all other architectures which means that pkgsrc is likely to fail on let say NetBSD VAX port because it has not been tested on the real hardware. Their support for other OSs is verbal at best. DragonFly switched to DPorts after couple of years fighting pkrsrc. MINIX is still using pkgsrc but MINIX is little bit more alive than GNU/Hurd. Unless somebody show me that pkgsrc actually works on Solaris, HP UNIX or anything else I don't believe a single PR bullshit from pkgsrc documentation.

Last edited by Oko; 12th July 2014 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 12th July 2014
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I agree with Oko on the quality of NetBSD pkgsrc. In days gone by it tended to work on more platforms. Lately, Linux has taken the drivers seat and most of the software now utilizes Linux api's like pulseaudio, systemd, hal, udev, network manager .........
It took a heroic effort to port Gnome3 to OpenBSD and the developers actually have a business supporting Gnome3. KDE4 in FreeBSD was largely due to PC-BSD who are trying to capitalize on that desktop.

If you want to get involved all the BSD's can use the extra help, but NetBSD has lofty goals. In contrast, OpenBSD has more modest goals and actually just reached one, a rewrite of OpenSSL.
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Old 14th July 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
That is a bald–faced lie! I am probably the last person who tried to bootstrap pkgsrc on OpenBSD around times of OpenBSD 4.6 for education purposes. It failed miserably. Since then I learnt that pkgsrc even on NetBSD itself is tested only on amd64 maybe i386. NetBSD guys use cross compiling for all other architectures which means that pkgsrc is likely to fail on let say NetBSD VAX port because it has not been tested on the real hardware. Their support for other OSs is verbal at best.
Just a quote, probably not everything being as bad:
Quote:
Finally ditched homebrew, I've had enough. I'm now using NetBSD's pkgsrc on OS X instead, and first experiences are great. Article coming.
https://twitter.com/fcambus/status/487704396302913536
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Old 14th July 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBSD View Post
Just a quote, probably not everything being as bad:
Let me be clear about one thing. I don't hate NetBSD project. I love it. It was THE BSD of mid 90s. FreeBSD was for PC people. NetBSD was for UNIX hardware. I love not only UNIX but also UNIX hardware. That being said NetBSD is in deep crisis for many years now and worse than a crisis is denial of NetBSD project leadership about it. When Charles Hannum in 2006 predicted collapse of the project if the things don't change he was quickly occused of betrayal. After Wasabi Systems went out of buseness NetBSD was left with nothing IMHO but npf vaporware and similar.

Going to that twit. As an occasional mantainer of OS X (my daughters have MAC book pro) why in the world would I use pkgsrc besides tens of thousand of MAC installation packages and MacPorts? Just think for a moment about that. On another hand NetBSD which is supposedly the most portable operating system lists the following as TIER I supported

amd64 x86_64 64-bit x86-family machines with AMD and Intel CPUs 6.1.4
evbarm arm ARM evaluation boards 6.1.4
evbmips mips MIPS-based evaluation boards 6.1.4
evbppc powerpc PowerPC-based evaluation boards 6.1.4
hpcarm arm StrongARM based Windows CE PDA machines 6.1.4
i386 i386 32-bit x86-family generic machines ("PC clones") 6.1.4
sparc64 sparc Sun UltraSPARC (64-bit) 6.1.4
xen i386, x86_64 Xen Virtual Machine Monitor 6.1.4


Everything on that list with the exception of amd64 is dead. And let suppose that NetBSD really has great support for ARM and MIPS compare that to 20+ platforms on which OpenBSD runs fully tested and native builds. I think you get the idea.

Last edited by Oko; 14th July 2014 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 15th July 2014
gmjs gmjs is offline
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Oh dear, I seem to have started some sort of (what I believe is termed) "flame war" .

Just for completeness, I wiped all OSs from the laptop in question and installed just NetBSD, then just OpenBSD, then just DragonflyBSD, and finally just FreeBSD (latest versions of) and to confirm, the touchpad didn't work in Net, Open and Free BSD. It worked in DragonflyBSD, but X server crashed on exiting, requiring a reboot.

So, I was mistaken that I'd had more luck with the touchpad in BSDs other than NetBSD (sorry) and the laptop isn't a particularly well-known make.

I therefore declare all BSDs "great"--it's just my laptop. .


Thanks to everyone for taking the time to post.

Last edited by gmjs; 15th July 2014 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 17th July 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
That being said NetBSD is in deep crisis for many years now and worse than a crisis is denial of NetBSD project leadership about it. When Charles Hannum in 2006 predicted collapse of the project if the things don't change he was quickly occused of betrayal. After Wasabi Systems went out of buseness NetBSD was left with nothing IMHO but npf vaporware and similar.
I've been quite addicted to OpenBSD for a little while now. However, I haven't been around through much of BSD history. I used and enjoyed FreeBSD for sometime, but it is not the OS for me. I have just begun looking into NetBSD and as far as I can tell it seems very hobbyist like. I am assuming that it is not NetBSD's goal to only be a Hobbyist platform. What is this deep crisis that NetBSD faces? What choice(s), whether acknowledging it or not, is destroying the OS?

Since I have no real history on this subject, I'd really appreciate any input you can advance, time permitting.

I first became interested in NetBSD since it seems to lack many implementations. It seems to be very undeveloped in areas where productivity type initiatives would normally exist. It seems to be very "Stock" or "Base Like". To me, a hobbyist, this is nice since I'd like to learn how to implement my own innovations on a project to project scenario. This gives me a an almost clean slate.

With OpenBSD I find that everything seems to be engineered in a efficient manner. There isn't a lot of unnecessary bull wrapped up into the simplest of utilities and tools, like many other platforms. When I want to setup and use a machine for regular productive use, it seems like the OpenBSD developers know exactly the method in which I'd like to approach configuration while at the same time providing me with the results I'd expect from that approach. I can not thank those persons responsible for OpenBSD enough.
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