Fixing A Serial Mouse In Ubuntu 10.04

I was upgrading my mythtv boxes from 8.04 to 10.04 today, which went pretty smoothly until I rebooted.  When I got to the login screen I tried to move the pointer but nothing happened.  I wasn’t too worried, I figured that the upgrade just changed my xorg.conf file and that I could just replace it.

It turns out somewhere between 8.04 and 10.04 they took keyboard and mouse configuration out of the xorg.conf file.  It was easy to figure this out because the install left me a nice message in the xorg.conf saying you don’t do that here anymore.  So after searching I found this forum post on Ubuntu forums about getting your old Microsoft serial mouse working with 9.10.  The heart of the solution is to use gpm and input attach to tell X11 about the mouse.   I ran the following commands to test this:

sudo apt-get install gpm
sudo inputattach –microsoft /dev/ttyS0

It worked exactly like promised, I was now able to mouse the pointer around with my mouse. To make it permanent you need to edit /etc/rc.local to add the inputattach line.  (additions are in bold)

sudo vi /etc/rc.local

#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will “exit 0” on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.

## added serial mouse input ##
inputattach –microsoft /dev/ttyS0

exit 0

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