I’m a software developer who runs Scribophile, an online writing group for serious writers, Writerfolio, an online writing portfolio service for freelancers, and Standard Ebooks, an open source project that produces liberated ebooks for the true book lover.

Turning off “disable touchpad while typing” in Ubuntu 14.04

In older Gnome versions, there was an option called “disable touchpad while typing” in the mouse and trackpad settings dialog. In recent versions of Gnome, the ability to disable that option has been hidden, but the option itself still functions and defaults to “on”.

This makes my day-to-day laptop usage excruciatingly frustrating, because my hands move quicker than the system can enable the touchpad. I’ll be typing something, then move to click with the touchpad, and nothing happens. I have to wait a beat for the touchpad to re-enable itself and try again. I can’t express how grindingly irritating that is—thanks Gnome!

Fortunately there’s a simple fix. The syndaemon binary is responsible for turning off the touchpad while you’re typing, and that’s all it does. So all you have to do is hide that daemon so the system can’t launch it. Here’s how you do that:

sudo mv /usr/bin/syndaemon /usr/bin/syndaemon.bak

That’s it! Once we rename syndaemon, it can’t run and won’t harass your touchpad anymore.