I got an aluminum Powerbook off eBay since I decided using a Sawtooth manufactured 13 years ago as my everyday computer was sad, and that a Powerbook from 2006 would be slightly less sad. Actually, all the other choices were even less palpable. Maybe I'll write a post about why decided to stick with PowerPC, but for now I wanted to focus on one thing. After putting Debian on my Linux partition and booting into it, wow did this trackpad suck. Like slow as molasses. And it wasn't a hardware problem. It worked perfectly in OS X. After doing a bit of googling, I found out it's a common problem among Powerbooks from 2005-2006 and the solution is in configuring the synaptics driver.
So here's what you do. First, you should already have the driver, xserver-xorg-input-synaptics, installed as part of the Xorg meta package. Next, you want to open Leafpad or whatever text editor you have and paste the following in a new file:
Section "InputClass" Identifier "Touchpad" MatchIsTouchpad "yes" Driver "synaptics" Option "SHMConfig" "true" Option "MinSpeed" "0.3" Option "MaxSpeed" "1.0" Option "AccelFactor" "0.25" Option "LeftEdge" "0" Option "RightEdge" "950" Option "TopEdge" "0" Option "BottomEdge" "645" Option "FingerLow" "3" Option "FingerHigh" "7" Option "TapButton1" "1" Option "TapButton2" "0" Option "TapButton3" "0" Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1" Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "0" Option "LockedDrags" "1" EndSection
These settings give you left-click tapping, vertical two-finger scrolling, and locked dragging where you have to click again to release the drag. The FingerLow and FingerHigh values are very low to compensate for the initial (non) sensitivity of my trackpad. If this is too sensitive for you, you can up the values to 10 and 30, respectively, or higher. You can also look up
man synapticsfor all the options and also
synclient -lfor a list of your defaults.
Next, save the file as synaptics.conf and create a new folder with:
sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
Finally, copy the synaptics.conf file into the newly created folder with:
sudo cp /path/to/your/synaptics.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/synaptics.conf
Now when you restart your X session your new settings should be in effect. In my case it's made for much smoother scrolling, though still not as good as on OS X. Occasionally the trackpad is non-responsive and I have to wake it up with an extra swipe or two.
Another issue specific to these Powerbooks is the keyboard backlight. Via the MintPPC forum, you need to put i2c-dev into /etc/modules and after reboot your keyboard backlight keys should work. Easy.