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Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 on Ubuntu March 1, 2012

Posted by claudio in Uncategorized.
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A colleague working in our IT-helpdesk found an old Logitech TrackMan Wheel in his drawer. “Old” as in out-of-production model launched around 2002. The thing was good as new: the trackball was still in his original package and the documentation and CD package were sealed. The person that ordered the thing years ago didn’t get used to it after one try. Lucky me :).

So I gave it a try and wow… I have gone ergonomic! While it took some minutes to kill the reflex to move the mouse around, I got used to the trackball mechanism very fast. When I got home I ordered the heir of this model, the Wireless Trackball M570.

At its arrival, my Virtualbox Windows VM was ready to be booted in order to pair the mouse and the wireless adapter. Sadly, Logitech only provides a MS Windows and Mac OS X binary. Once paired, the interwebs agree on this, the combination works on whatever OS you connect it too.

Big was my surprise, when everything worked out of the box in Ubuntu (11.10). Logitech seem to do the right thing nowadays and the devices are already pre-paired. Letting the pairing to the customer seems medieval when you thing about it. Logitech++.

So, everything works fine. The trackball is fantastic. The only complain is that the scroll-wheel makes a cheap plasticky sound when clicked, and as a UNIX user, it’s something you do often. This new model has 2 additional buttons compared to the original TrackMan. Out of the box, they are configured as Back and Next (e.g. while browsing in Firefox).

I don’t care much about these buttons and not at al for the Back and Next function. They are out of the way, so if you don’t use them, they won’t drive you crazy. Anyway, while they are there, why not give them a shot and assign them a useful task: easystoke to the recue! (“sudo apt-get install easystroke” from the shell, or search for “easystroke” on the Ubuntu Software Center)

I configured the additional buttons as Page Up and Page Down, something I really do use often (I find it easier on the hand than using the scroll wheel). I followed the instructions from the Archlinux wiki. Being a wiki, I copy the short instructions in case it get removed or moved:

easystroke is a mouse gesture application, but it can be used to manage mouse buttons as well. It’s main advantage o-ver btnx is that it’s more versatile. On the other hand, it’s user-based, so any user has to configure it to reflect his own needs.

In order to set up easystroke to manage your extra mouse buttons, you’ll need to do this (example features Back/Forward mouse buttons) : run:

easystroke -g

Go to Preferences tab > Additional buttons > Add, and add any special button.

Go to Action tab > Add action, give the new action a name, as Type choose “Key”, as Details set “Alt+Left” for Back button, “Alt+Right” for Forward button, as Stroke click the proper mouse button (confirm if a warning is displayed), and voilà! Your mouse button is configured.

I add some screen-shots for your comfort that illustrate my specific configuration. Nota Bene: to get Shift+Page Up/Down working (e.g. scrolling in a terminal), you need to add the combo to easystroke.

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Comments»

1. JoZ3 (@JoZ3_69) - March 13, 2012

WOW thanks a lot for the tip, my G500 work great!!!

2. Zibiedeedee - September 26, 2012

Going to buy M570 then I pause at checkout, oh noes the propriety dongle, will it work on my GNU plus Linux / Ubuntu workstation? The Stallman will interject me endlessly, a quick bing and I end up here! So it does work, thank you good Sir for sharing!

3. Derek Maurer - October 15, 2012

The proprietary USB dongle was detected out-of-the-box on my Ubuntu 11.10 and 12.04 workstations.


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