The gpm executable is meant to act like a daemon (thus, gpmd would be a better name for it). This section is meant to describe the command-line options for gpm, while its internals are outlined in the next section.
Due to restrictions in the ioctl(TIOCLINUX) system call, gpm must be run by the superuser. The restrictions have been added in the last 1.1 kernels to fix a security hole related to selection and screen dumping.
The server can be configured to match the users taste, and any application using the mouse will inherit the servers attitude. From release 1.02 up to 1.19.2 is was possible for any user logged on the system console to change the mouse feeling using the -q option. This is no longer possible for security reasons.
As of 0.97 the server program puts itself in the background. To kill gpm you can just reinvoke it with the -k cmdline switch, although killall gpm can be a better choice.
Version 1.10 adds the capability to execute special commands on certain circumstances. Special commands default to rebooting and halting the system, but the user can specify his/her personal choice. The capability to invoke commands using the mouse is a handy one for programmers, because it allows to issue a clean shutdown when the keyboard is locked and no network is available to restore the system to a sane state.
Special commands are toggled by triple-clicking the left and right button -- an unlikely event during normal mouse usage. The easiest way to triple-click is pressing one of the buttons and triple-click the other one. When special processing is toggled, a message appears on the console (and the speaker beeps twice, if you have a speaker); if the user releases all the buttons and presses one of them again within three seconds, then the special command corresponding to the button is executed.
The default special commands are:
|Reboot the system by signalling the init process|
|middle button (if any)|
|Execute /sbin/shutdown -h now|
Execute /sbin/shutdown -r now
As an example, -S ":telinit 1:/sbin/halt", associates killing init to the left button, going single user to the middle one, and halting the system to the right button.
System administrators should obviously be careful about special commands, as gpm runs with superuser permissions. Special commands are best suited for computers whose mouse can be physically accessed only by trusted people.
Available command line options are the following:
|Set the acceleration value used when a single motion event is longer than delta (see -d).|
Start up with selection pasting disabled. This is intended as a
security measure; a plausible attack on a system seems to be to
stuff a nasty shell command into the selection buffer
(rm -rf /) including the terminating line break, then all the
victim has to do is click the middle mouse button ..
As of version 1.17.2, this has developed
into a more general aging mechanism; the
gpm daemon can disable (age) selection pasting
automatically after a period of inactivity. To enable this mode
just give the optional limit parameter (no space in between !)
which is interpreted as the time in seconds for which a selection is
considered valid and pastable.
As of version 1.15.7, a trivial program called
disable-paste is provided. The following makes a good
addition to /etc/profile if you allow multiple users to
work on your console.
case $( /usr/bin/tty ) in
/dev/tty[0-9]*) /usr/bin/disable-paste ;;
|Set the baud rate.|
|Set the button sequence. 123 is the normal sequence, 321 can be used by left-handed people, and 132 can be useful with two-button mice (especially within Emacs). All the button permutations are allowable.|
|Set the delta value. When a single motion event is longer than delta, accel is used as a multiplying factor. (Must be 2 or above)|
|-D||Do not automatically enter background operation when started, and log messages to the standard error stream, not the syslog mechanism. This is useful for debugging; in previous releases it was done with a compile-time option.|
|With glidepoint devices, emulate the specified button with tapping. number must be 1, 2, or 3, and refers to the button number before the -B button remapping is performed. This option applies to the mman and ps2 decoding. No button is emulated by default because the ps2 tapping is incompatible with some normal ps2 mice|
|-h||Print a summary of command line options.|
|Set interval to be used as an upper time limit for multiple clicks. If the interval between button-up and button-down events is less than limit, the press is considered a double or triple click. Time is in milliseconds.|
|-k||Kill a running gpm. This can be used by busmouse users to kill gpm before running X (unless they use -R or the single-open limitation is removed from the kernel).|
|Choose the inword() look up table. The charset argument is a list of characters. - is used to specify a range and \ is used to escape the next character or to provide octal codes. Only visible character can appear in charset because control characters cant appear in text-mode video memory, whence selection is cut.|
|Choose the mouse file to open. Must be before -t and -o.|
|-M||Enable multiple mode. The daemon will read two different mouse devices. Any subsequent option will refer to the second device, while any preceding option will be used for the first device. This option automatically forces the repeater (-R) option on.|
The option works similary to the -o option of mount; it is
used to specify a list of extra options that are specific
to each mouse type. The list is comma-separated. The options
dtr, rts or both are used by the serial
initialization to toggle the modem lines like, compatibly with
earlier gpm versions; note however that using -o dtr
associated with non-plain-serial mouse types may now generate
And by the way, use -o after -m and after -t.
|-p||Forces the pointer to be visible while selecting. This is the behaviour of selection-1.7, but it is sometimes confusing. The default is not to show the pointer, which can be confusing as well.|
|Set the responsiveness. A higher responsiveness is used for a faster cursor motion.|
|Causes gpm to act as a repeater: any mouse data received while in graphic mode will be produced on the fifo /dev/gpmdata in protocol name, given as an optional argument (no space in between !). In principle, you can use the same names as for the -t option, although repeating into some protocols may not be implemented for a while. In addition, you can specify raw as the name, to repeat the mouse data byte by byte, without any protocol translation. If name is omitted, it defaults to msc. Using gpm in repeater mode, you can configure the X server to use its fifo as a mouse device. This option is useful for bus-mouse owners to override the single-open limitation. It is also an easy way to manage those stupid dual-mode mice which force you to keep the middle button down while changing video mode. The option is forced on by the -M option.|
|Set the sample rate for the mouse device.|
|Enable special-command processing, and optionally specify custom commands as a colon-separated list. See above for a detailed description of special commands.|
Set the mouse type. Use -t help to get a list
of allowable types. Since version 1.18.1, the list also shows
which protocols are available as repeaters (see -R above),
by marking them with an asterisk (*).
Use -t after you selected the mouse device with -m.
|-v||Print version information and exit.|
Raise or decrease the maximum level of messages that will be
logged. Thus a positive argument has the effect of making the
program more verbose. One can also give a negative argument to
hush the program; due to getopt(3) rules, any optional
argument needs to be passed without a space in between!
When omitting the argument, the increment defaults to 1.
Default verbosity level is 5 (LOG_NOTICE).
|-2||Force two buttons. This means that the middle button, if any, will be taken as it was the right one.|
Force three buttons. By default the
mouse is considered to be a 2-buttons one, until the middle button
is pressed. If three buttons are there, the right one is used
to extend the selection, and the middle one is used to paste it.
Beware: if you use the -3 option with a 2-buttons mouse, you
wont be able to paste the selection.
To select text press the left mouse button and drag the mouse. To paste text in the same or another console, press the middle button. The right button is used to extend the selection, like in xterm.
Two-button mice use the right button to paste text.
Double and triple clicks select whole word and whole lines. Use of the -p option is recommended for best visual feedback.
If a trailing space after the contents of a line is highlighted, and if there is no other text on the remainder of the line, the rest of the line will be selected automatically. If a number of lines are selected, highlighted trailing spaces on each line will be removed from the selection buffer.
Any output on the virtual console holding the selection will clear the highlighted selection from the screen, to maintain integrity of the display, although the contents of the paste buffer will be unaffected.
The selection mechanism is disabled if the controlling virtual console is placed in graphics mode, for example when running X11, and is re-enabled when text mode is resumed. (But see BUGS section below.)
While the current console is in graphic mode, gpm sleeps until text mode is back (unless -R is used). Thus, it wont reply to clients. Anyways, it is unlikely that mouse-eager clients will spur out in hidden consoles.
The clients shipped out with gpm are not updated, thus there are potential security risks when using them.
gpm is a server program that can handle mouse events. User has to write a client program that will connect to the server and tell the server which events it wants to handle. The client program has to be compiled with libgpm library and in some cases with ncurses library.
$ gcc -lgpm -lncurses client.cPlease see documentation of libgpm and ncurses for more information on interfaces for writing client programs.