Linux Mouse Acceleration?

One thing I miss from my Windows days were the Logitech mouse drivers. Their acceleration curve was a thing of beauty.

The idea behind mouse acceleration is pretty simple. Normally, cursor movement is based only on the distance which the mouse moves. With acceleration, cursor movement is based on both mouse speed and distance. The basic idea is to maintain accuracy for slow movements, yet make it possible to get around without requiring a giant mousing surface. The tricky part is that the acceleration curve has to be so natural that you don’t notice it.

Mouse acceleration on Linux has always been crap. The first problem is that there is no single entity modulating the mouse coordinates. You’ve got to configure X, gpm, SVGAlib, etc. separately. The next problem is that Linux acceleration curves are totally unnatural. They feel horrible. I’d be surprised if anyone used them.

Bah. I need to stop whining and write some code.

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9 Responses to “Linux Mouse Acceleration?”


  1. 1 Chris May 20, 2005 at 7:19 am

    The first problem is that there is no single entity modulating the mouse coordinates. You’ve got to configure X, gpm, SVGAlib, etc. separately.

    Didn’t we talk about this on irc some time back? With linux 2.6, it is all collected by the kernel and output to userspace on /dev/input/mice. If you do any transforms there and tell X, gpm and svgalib to do no accel, you can then have consistent accel from all of the sources.

    -Chris

  2. 2 Administrator May 21, 2005 at 8:05 am

    You’re right, although I wonder if mouse acceleration should be done in kernel mode.

  3. 3 Gabe Ghearing July 21, 2005 at 5:06 pm

    Have you ever used any of Kensington’s mice/trackballs with their Mouseworks software? Mouseworks lets you adjust the acceration curve graphically. Now that’s cool…

  4. 4 Mark July 22, 2005 at 8:37 am

    I’d never heard of that, but it sounds exceptionally cool.

    It looks like you can download the Mouseworks software from their website. I wonder if it works with any old mouse. The Logitech drivers used to be like that.

  5. 5 JoaCHIP May 29, 2006 at 12:35 am

    Acceleration is really something that should be an option. I really can’t control a mouse very well when acceleration is enabled. So right now i’m surfing endless pages hoping to find out how to totally DISABLE acceleration. On the Amiga it was off by default. On Windows you can disable it. On Mac you need “SteerMouse” as far as im told. but on Linux … ??????

  6. 6 Mouse Acceleration September 22, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Come on, Linux. Let’s get some decent mouse acceleration going. It doesn’t seem difficult.

  7. 7 perfectionistictux December 9, 2008 at 3:52 am

    im amazed that mouse dpi settings and poling rates are always left out of the configuration gui’s on linux and there seems to ben no noob proof way of getting the mouse work NORMALY
    I also want to know how to completely disable mouse acceleration curve crap. new linux users playing games for the first time on linux are shocked and have no clue what is wrong with the mouse.
    i want it to move linear not with some stupid speed curve. the whole point and advantage of a mouse is precise control, that is gone to waste with these acceleration curve things that are more suited for a joypad or something. mouse smoothing on the otherhand would serve a purpose but that has a whole other feel to it.

  8. 8 Mark December 9, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Funny that you should say that. About 5 years ago I played more than a few Quake tournaments on a national level. (This was mostly before you could be famous and win thousands of dollars.)

    I played “square mouse” for at least a year before switching to an acceleration curve. Once I did, I got *much* better. You’ve just got to believe two things:

    1. You really *do* want fine control for aim, plus the ability to snap a 180 quickly.

    2. Your brain is way way way smart enough to comprehend the acceleration curve. You *will* get used to it.

    I haven’t played in years though, so I’m out of touch. Maybe all of the modern driver acceleration functions suck.

  9. 9 boe February 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    i just want my accel to match the windows accel because it DRIVES FUNNY


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