Why can’t I click icons? Hmm. The right-click menu is not appearing and the buttons no longer seem to work. Did the Ubuntu desktop just lock up?
“Nooo! I need to save, but nothing is responding. The mouse quit working! Help!”
As good as the R.A.T. 7 mouse is, there are a few issues to be aware of when used with Ubuntu 10.10. This article will provide a few solutions and tips that make the R.A.T. 7 play well with Ubuntu.
You might be wondering, “What is the Cyborg R.A.T. 7?” It’s a USB mouse. Correction: A high-end USB mouse featuring a 6400 dpi laser system for precise control. The construction uses black matte plastic built around a metal base giving the mouse a solid, durable feeling of quality. Not only is its design unique, it is also well-built and highly sensitive.
The R.A.T. 7 is also customizable by adjusting its weights, grips, finger rests, and tracking dpi. Parts can be switched around to give it a different appearance. This is truly a mouse-tinkerer’s dream.
Even though the R.A.T. 7 is advertised for the PC and Mac, it is fully compatible with Ubuntu without needing to install drivers. Just plug and play. However, there is an issue with Ubuntu 10.10 where the mouse buttons become unresponsive a few moments after powering up the computer. The cursor still moves, but the buttons quit working.
One way to resolve this is by restarting X (Left Alt + PrtScrn + k or Ctrl + Alt + Backspace, depending upon your configuration), but this must be performed each time the mouse acts up. Is there a better way to make Ubuntu recognize the mouse?
1. Modify xorg.conf
Append the following section to /etc/X11/xorg.conf
(In a terminal, enter sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf)
Section "InputClass" Identifier "Mouse Remap" MatchProduct "Saitek Cyborg R.A.T.7 Mouse" MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*" Option "ButtonMapping" "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 0 0 0 0" EndSection
This eliminates the need to restart X and makes the mouse completely usable every time Ubuntu starts. Just modify xorg.conf with the section above and the R.A.T. 7 functions perfectly. Say goodbye to restarting X.
Update: The R.A.T. series of mice are now sold under the Mad Catz label, not Cyborg. Because of this, the Mad Catz product string might need modification to make the RAT work in Ubuntu. This means changing the Cyborg portion of the identification string (used to identify the USB device) to the string the Mad Catz RAT sends to the computer in order for X to recognize the RAT without freezing the buttons. Instead of using the string
MatchProduct "Saitek Cyborg R.A.T.7 Mouse"
the Mad Catz might use something else (not tested). Product strings much match to avoid the button freeze issue.
2. Button Map
Ubuntu recognizes mouse buttons by their numbers, so you will need to know the button numbers in case you want to map buttons to specific functions, such as rotating the desktop cube.
|2||Middle (Wheel button)|
|4||Mouse wheel up|
|5||Mouse wheel down|
|8||Side Back ►|
|9||Side Forward ◄|
At this time, the small red button and thumbwheel cannot be mapped, so they are unused. This has never been a problem for me since I never use them.
3. Compiz button mapping
Switch viewports (Rotates cube if enabled)
This rotates the cube (switches viewports) when the cursor is over the desktop and the mouse wheel is scrolled or clicked. This is to avoid rotating the cube when the cursor is inside a window and you want to scroll the contents.
In the CompizConfig Settings Manager > Viewport Switcher > Desktop-based Viewport Switching tab,
|Move Next||Button 5 (Mouse wheel down)|
|Move Prev||Button 4 (Mouse wheel up)|
|Initiate plugin action||Button 2 (Wheel button)|
(CompizConfig Settings Manager is available in the Ubuntu repository. Open the Ubuntu Software Center and search for Compiz to find it.)
This rotates the cube no matter where the cursor may be located. Very useful. The desktop cube must be enabled.
Go to CompizConfig Settings Manager > Rotate Cube > Bindings tab > Rotate Cube,
|Rotate Left||Button 9 (Side Back ►)|
|Rotate Right||Button 8 (Side Forward ◄)|
4. Use a light-colored surface for the mouse pad
When moved on a dark surface, the R.A.T. 7 works, but if it is lifted, respositioned, and set back down, it takes about half a second for the mouse to become responsive again. This can become annoying. However, light-colored surfaces do not produce this effect, so use a white or other light-colored mouse pad for the R.A.T. 7.
There you have it! A working Cyborg R.A.T. 7 in Ubuntu without any need to install drivers. Have fun!