X.Org 1.5.x, evdev and HAL

The move to X.Org server 1.5.x was not quite the smooth ride I expected it to be. It took me the better part of a Saturday afternoon to get everything in working order again. Some time ago (actually already 2 month have gone by) I used the opportunity to do this, while fiddling with Ubuntu 8.10 on an externally connected USB drive. I compiled the X-server in a chroot environment on my standard os partition.

The first good thing I noticed after rebooting into my standard Gentoo environment was, that all of my 9 mouse buttons were correctly working. The bad news was, that each time I pressed the Cursor Up key, that the KDE screen snapshot utility would open. I tried multiple changes in the Input section of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, all to no avail. The first break through came, when I completely removed all sections from the xorg.conf file having something to do with the keyboard or the mouse. After that it was only additional configuration for the HAL subsystem, to report the correct keyboard type. For this I created the file /etc/hal/fdi/policy/10-x11-input.fdi with this content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
    <match key="info.capabilities" contains="input.keys">
      <merge key="input.xkb.model" type="string">evdev</merge>
      <merge key="input.xkb.layout" type="string">de</merge>
      <merge key="input.xkb.rules" type="string">evdev</merge>

I think, the best way to diagnose any problems is to look at the /var/log/Xorg.0.log file. For my particular keyboard/mouse the output looks like this:

(II) config/hal: Adding input device HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G)
(**) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): always reports core events
(**) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): Device: "/dev/input/event2"
(II) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): Found keys
(II) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): Configuring as keyboard
(II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G)" (type: KEYBOARD)
(**) Option "xkb_rules" "evdev"
(**) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): xkb_rules: "evdev"
(**) Option "xkb_model" "evdev"
(**) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): xkb_model: "evdev"
(**) Option "xkb_layout" "de"
(**) HOLTEK Wireless Keyboard/Mouse(2.4G): xkb_layout: "de"

The xkb_* options are the important places here. Before I managed to set xkb_layout to “de” through HAL, the log file would report “us” here, which in turn had the affect of opening the snapshot dialogue when pressing Cursor Up. Another problem was the xkb_rules option. Some blog article I found through googling suggested to set xkb_rules to xorg. This does not work however, since xorg is a symbolic link in the /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules directory and links to base, which is not the correct rules set for the evdev-driver.

These three articles (part1, part2 and part3) from the Cybso blog were very helpful. In particular if you are using lineak. You should look at part 3 and install the lineakd keyboard file for the evdev-driver. These two links were helpful as well (1, 2

The Gentoo folks have created an update guide in the meantime, which wasn’t available, when I started out.

One thought on “X.Org 1.5.x, evdev and HAL

  1. Thanks for posting this article. I tracked down the same issue with my Gentoo install after a recent upgrade and identified the issue via ‘(**) Option “xkb_layout” “us”‘ in the X11 log file and then found your post via Google which pointed the blame at HAL (which I had to re-install recently). The advice on creating the /etc/hal/fdi/policy/10-x11-input.fdi file worked perfectly and I now have the correct keymap! Thanks again

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