Sony Vaio No Touchpad Detected in Debian Squeeze

After 10 years on Fedora I have switched to Debian.

There isn’t really a definitive reason for the switch. It was partly that I didn’t really enjoy using FC16 at work and partly the negative reviews I read when looking to upgrade my own machine from FC14 to FC18. But it was also the fact that I just fancied a change.

I installed Debian two days ago onto my Sony Vaio and so far I like it.

However, out of the box my Vaio touchpad didn’t work.

It took me a while to find a fix, so this is what I did in case anyone else stumbles onto a similar problem.

In my case, the touchpad wasn’t being detected by the kernel at all (nothing in /proc/bus/input/devices and no relevant messages in dmesg).

Debian is a bit behind on the kernel – it uses 2.6.32-5.

But my original FC13 install on the Vaio used kernel 2.6.33 and the touchpad worked, so the first thing I did was update the kernel using the Debian backports.

I used a really nifty guide on nixCraft to upgrade to 3.2.0-0.

Once I’d rebooted I had a working touchpad, but no support for tap-to-click (and I love tap-to-click).

To get that working too, after enabling it in System > Preferences > Mouse [Touchpad], I used this solution to “Tap-to-click not working” on the Debian user mailing list.

For me, after rebooting again, tap-to-click and edge scroll were both working fine.

One happy new Debian user 🙂

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