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Manual Pages  — MOUSED


moused – pass mouse data to the console driver



moused [-DPRacdfs] [-I file] [-F rate] [-r resolution] [-S baudrate] [-VH [-U distance -L distance]] [-A exp[,offset]] [-a X[,Y]] [-C threshold] [-m N=M] [-w N] [-z target] [-t mousetype] [-l level] [-3 [-E timeout]] [-T distance[,time[,after]]] -p port

moused [-Pd] -p port -i info


The moused utility and the console driver work together to support mouse operation in the text console and user programs. They virtualize the mouse and provide user programs with mouse data in the standard format (see sysmouse(4)).

The mouse daemon listens to the specified port for mouse data, interprets and then passes it via ioctls to the console driver. The mouse daemon reports translation movement, button press/release events and movement of the roller or the wheel if available. The roller/wheel movement is reported as "Z" axis movement.

The console driver will display the mouse pointer on the screen and provide cut and paste functions if the mouse pointer is enabled in the virtual console via vidcontrol(1). If sysmouse(4) is opened by the user program, the console driver also passes the mouse data to the device so that the user program will see it.

If the mouse daemon receives the signal SIGHUP, it will reopen the mouse port and reinitialize itself. Useful if the mouse is attached/detached while the system is suspended.

If the mouse daemon receives the signal SIGUSR1, it will stop passing mouse events. Sending the signal SIGUSR1 again will resume passing mouse events. Useful if your typing on a laptop is interrupted by accidentally touching the mouse pad.

The following options are available:
  Emulate the third (middle) button for 2-button mice. It is emulated by pressing the left and right physical buttons simultaneously.
-C threshold
  Set double click speed as the maximum interval in msec between button clicks. Without this option, the default value of 500 msec will be assumed. This option will have effect only on the cut and paste operations in the text mode console. The user program which is reading mouse data via sysmouse(4) will not be affected.
  Lower DTR on the serial port. This option is valid only if mousesystems is selected as the protocol type. The DTR line may need to be dropped for a 3-button mouse to operate in the mousesystems mode.
-E timeout
  When the third button emulation is enabled (see above), the moused utility waits timeout msec at most before deciding whether two buttons are being pressed simultaneously. The default timeout is 100 msec.
-F rate
  Set the report rate (reports/sec) of the device if supported.
-L distance
  When "Virtual Scrolling" is enabled, the -L option can be used to set the distance (in pixels) that the mouse must move before a scroll event is generated. This effectively controls the scrolling speed. The default distance is 2 pixels.
  Enable "Horizontal Virtual Scrolling". With this option set, holding the middle mouse button down will cause motion to be interpreted as horizontal scrolling. Use the -U option to set the distance the mouse must move before the scrolling mode is activated and the -L option to set the scrolling speed. This option may be used with or without the -V option.
-I file
  Write the process id of the moused utility in the specified file. Without this option, the process id will be stored in /var/run/moused.pid.
  Do not start the Plug and Play COM device enumeration procedure when identifying the serial mouse. If this option is given together with the -i option, the moused utility will not be able to print useful information for the serial mouse.
  Lower RTS on the serial port. This option is valid only if mousesystems is selected as the protocol type by the -t option below. It is often used with the -D option above. Both RTS and DTR lines may need to be dropped for a 3-button mouse to operate in the mousesystems mode.
-S baudrate
  Select the baudrate for the serial port (1200 to 9600). Not all serial mice support this option.
-T distance[,time[,after]]
  Terminate drift. Use this option if mouse pointer slowly wanders when mouse is not moved. Movements up to distance (for example 4) pixels (X+Y) in time msec (default 500) are ignored, except during after msec (default 4000) since last real mouse movement.
  Enable "Virtual Scrolling". With this option set, holding the middle mouse button down will cause motion to be interpreted as scrolling. Use the -U option to set the distance the mouse must move before the scrolling mode is activated and the -L option to set the scrolling speed.
-U distance
  When "Virtual Scrolling" is enabled, the -U option can be used to set the distance (in pixels) that the mouse must move before the scrolling mode is activated. The default distance is 3 pixels.
-A exp[,offset]
  Apply exponential (dynamic) acceleration to mouse movements: the faster you move the mouse, the more it will be accelerated. That means that small mouse movements are not accelerated, so they are still very accurate, while a faster movement will drive the pointer quickly across the screen.

The exp value specifies the exponent, which is basically the amount of acceleration. Useful values are in the range 1.1 to 2.0, but it depends on your mouse hardware and your personal preference. A value of 1.0 means no exponential acceleration. A value of 2.0 means squared acceleration (i.e. if you move the mouse twice as fast, the pointer will move four times as fast on the screen). Values beyond 2.0 are possible but not recommended. A good value to start is probably 1.5.

The optional offset value specifies the distance at which the acceleration begins. The default is 1.0, which means that the acceleration is applied to movements larger than one unit. If you specify a larger value, it takes more speed for the acceleration to kick in, i.e. the speed range for small and accurate movements is wider. Usually the default should be sufficient, but if you're not satisfied with the behaviour, try a value of 2.0.

Note that the -A option interacts badly with the X server's own acceleration, which doesn't work very well anyway. Therefore it is recommended to switch it off if necessary: "xset m 1".

-a X[,Y]
  Accelerate or decelerate the mouse input. This is a linear acceleration only. Values less than 1.0 slow down movement, values greater than 1.0 speed it up. Specifying only one value sets the acceleration for both axes.

You can use the -a and -A options at the same time to have the combined effect of linear and exponential acceleration.

  Some mice report middle button down events as if the left and right buttons are being pressed. This option handles this.
  Enable debugging messages.
  Do not become a daemon and instead run as a foreground process. Useful for testing and debugging.
-i info
  Print specified information and quit. Available pieces of information are:

port Port (device file) name, i.e.amp; /dev/cuau0, /dev/mse0 and /dev/psm0.
if Interface type: serial, bus, inport or ps/2.
type Protocol type. It is one of the types listed under the -t option below or sysmouse if the driver supports the sysmouse data format standard.
model Mouse model. The moused utility may not always be able to identify the model.
all All of the above items. Print port, interface, type and model in this order in one line.

If the moused utility cannot determine the requested information, it prints "unknown" or "generic".
-l level Specifies at which level moused should operate the mouse driver. Refer to Operation Levels in psm(4) for more information on this.
-m N=M Assign the physical button M to the logical button N. You may specify as many instances of this option as you like. More than one physical button may be assigned to a logical button at the same time. In this case the logical button will be down, if either of the assigned physical buttons is held down. Do not put space around ‘=’.
-p port Use port to communicate with the mouse.
-r resolution Set the resolution of the device; in Dots Per Inch, or low, medium-low, medium-high or high. This option may not be supported by all the device.
-s Select a baudrate of 9600 for the serial line. Not all serial mice support this option.
-t type Specify the protocol type of the mouse attached to the port. You may explicitly specify a type listed below, or use auto to let the moused utility automatically select an appropriate protocol for the given mouse. If you entirely omit this option in the command line, -t auto is assumed. Under normal circumstances, you need to use this option only if the moused utility is not able to detect the protocol automatically (see Configuring Mouse Daemon).

Note that if a protocol type is specified with this option, the -P option above is implied and Plug and Play COM device enumeration procedure will be disabled.

Also note that if your mouse is attached to the PS/2 mouse port, you should always choose auto or ps/2, regardless of the brand and model of the mouse. Likewise, if your mouse is attached to the bus mouse port, choose auto or busmouse. Serial mouse protocols will not work with these mice.

For the USB mouse, the protocol must be auto. No other protocol will work with the USB mouse.

Valid types for this option are listed below.

For the serial mouse:

microsoft Microsoft serial mouse protocol. Most 2-button serial mice use this protocol.
intellimouse Microsoft IntelliMouse protocol. Genius NetMouse, ASCII Mie Mouse, Logitech MouseMan+ and FirstMouse+ use this protocol too. Other mice with a roller/wheel may be compatible with this protocol.
mousesystems MouseSystems 5-byte protocol. 3-button mice may use this protocol.
mmseries MM Series mouse protocol.
logitech Logitech mouse protocol. Note that this is for old Logitech models. mouseman or intellimouse should be specified for newer models.
mouseman Logitech MouseMan and TrackMan protocol. Some 3-button mice may be compatible with this protocol. Note that MouseMan+ and FirstMouse+ use intellimouse protocol rather than this one.
glidepoint ALPS GlidePoint protocol.
thinkingmouse Kensington ThinkingMouse protocol.
mmhitab Hitachi tablet protocol.
x10mouseremote X10 MouseRemote.
kidspad Genius Kidspad and Easypad protocol.
versapad Interlink VersaPad protocol.
gtco_digipad GTCO Digipad protocol.

For the bus and InPort mouse:
busmouse This is the only protocol type available for the bus and InPort mouse and should be specified for any bus mice and InPort mice, regardless of the brand.

For the PS/2 mouse:
ps/2 This is the only protocol type available for the PS/2 mouse and should be specified for any PS/2 mice, regardless of the brand.

For the USB mouse, auto is the only protocol type available for the USB mouse and should be specified for any USB mice, regardless of the brand.
-w N Make the physical button N act as the wheel mode button. While this button is pressed, X and Y axis movement is reported to be zero and the Y axis movement is mapped to Z axis. You may further map the Z axis movement to virtual buttons by the -z option below.
-z target Map Z axis (roller/wheel) movement to another axis or to virtual buttons. Valid target maybe:
  X or Y axis movement will be reported when the Z axis movement is detected.
N Report down events for the virtual buttons N and N+1 respectively when negative and positive Z axis movement is detected. There do not need to be physical buttons N and N+1. Note that mapping to logical buttons is carried out after mapping from the Z axis movement to the virtual buttons is done.
N1 N2 Report down events for the virtual buttons N1 and N2 respectively when negative and positive Z axis movement is detected.
N1 N2 N3 N4 This is useful for the mouse with two wheels of which the second wheel is used to generate horizontal scroll action, and for the mouse which has a knob or a stick which can detect the horizontal force applied by the user.

The motion of the second wheel will be mapped to the buttons N3, for the negative direction, and N4, for the positive direction. If the buttons N3 and N4 actually exist in this mouse, their actions will not be detected.

Note that horizontal movement or second roller/wheel movement may not always be detected, because there appears to be no accepted standard as to how it is encoded.

Note also that some mice think left is the negative horizontal direction; others may think otherwise. Moreover, there are some mice whose two wheels are both mounted vertically, and the direction of the second vertical wheel does not match the first one.

Configuring Mouse Daemon

The first thing you need to know is the interface type of the mouse you are going to use. It can be determined by looking at the connector of the mouse. The serial mouse has a D-Sub female 9- or 25-pin connector. The bus and InPort mice have either a D-Sub male 9-pin connector or a round DIN 9-pin connector. The PS/2 mouse is equipped with a small, round DIN 6-pin connector. Some mice come with adapters with which the connector can be converted to another. If you are to use such an adapter, remember the connector at the very end of the mouse/adapter pair is what matters. The USB mouse has a flat rectangular connector.

The next thing to decide is a port to use for the given interface. For the bus, InPort and PS/2 mice, there is little choice: the bus and InPort mice always use /dev/mse0, and the PS/2 mouse is always at /dev/psm0. There may be more than one serial port to which the serial mouse can be attached. Many people often assign the first, built-in serial port /dev/cuau0 to the mouse. You can attach multiple USB mice to your system or to your USB hub. They are accessible as /dev/ums0, /dev/ums1, and so on.

You may want to create a symbolic link /dev/mouse pointing to the real port to which the mouse is connected, so that you can easily distinguish which is your "mouse" port later.

The next step is to guess the appropriate protocol type for the mouse. The moused utility may be able to automatically determine the protocol type. Run the moused utility with the -i option and see what it says. If the command can identify the protocol type, no further investigation is necessary on your part. You may start the daemon without explicitly specifying a protocol type (see EXAMPLES).

The command may print sysmouse if the mouse driver supports this protocol type.

Note that the type and model printed by the -i option do not necessarily match the product name of the pointing device in question, but they may give the name of the device with which it is compatible.

If the -i option yields nothing, you need to specify a protocol type to the moused utility by the -t option. You have to make a guess and try. There is rule of thumb:

  1. The bus and InPort mice always use busmouse protocol regardless of the brand of the mouse.
  2. The ps/2 protocol should always be specified for the PS/2 mouse regardless of the brand of the mouse.
  3. You must specify the auto protocol for the USB mouse.
  4. Most 2-button serial mice support the microsoft protocol.
  5. 3-button serial mice may work with the mousesystems protocol. If it does not, it may work with the microsoft protocol although the third (middle) button will not function. 3-button serial mice may also work with the mouseman protocol under which the third button may function as expected.
  6. 3-button serial mice may have a small switch to choose between "MS" and "PC", or "2" and "3". "MS" or "2" usually mean the microsoft protocol. "PC" or "3" will choose the mousesystems protocol.
  7. If the mouse has a roller or a wheel, it may be compatible with the intellimouse protocol.

To test if the selected protocol type is correct for the given mouse, enable the mouse pointer in the current virtual console,

    vidcontrol -m on

start the mouse daemon in the foreground mode,

    moused -f -p <selected_port> -t <selected_protocol>

and see if the mouse pointer travels correctly according to the mouse movement. Then try cut & paste features by clicking the left, right and middle buttons. Type ^C to stop the command.

Multiple Mice

As many instances of the mouse daemon as the number of mice attached to the system may be run simultaneously; one instance for each mouse. This is useful if the user wants to use the built-in PS/2 pointing device of a laptop computer while on the road, but wants to use a serial mouse when s/he attaches the system to the docking station in the office. Run two mouse daemons and tell the application program (such as the X Window System) to use sysmouse(4), then the application program will always see mouse data from either mouse. When the serial mouse is not attached, the corresponding mouse daemon will not detect any movement or button state change and the application program will only see mouse data coming from the daemon for the PS/2 mouse. In contrast when both mice are attached and both of them are moved at the same time in this configuration, the mouse pointer will travel across the screen just as if movement of the mice is combined all together.


  device to control the console
/dev/mse%d bus and InPort mouse driver
/dev/psm%d PS/2 mouse driver
/dev/sysmouse virtualized mouse driver
/dev/ttyv%d virtual consoles
/dev/ums%d USB mouse driver
  process id of the currently running moused utility
  UNIX-domain stream socket for X10 MouseRemote events


    moused -p /dev/cuau0 -i type

Let the moused utility determine the protocol type of the mouse at the serial port /dev/cuau0. If successful, the command will print the type, otherwise it will say "unknown".

moused -p /dev/cuau0
vidcontrol -m on

If the moused utility is able to identify the protocol type of the mouse at the specified port automatically, you can start the daemon without the -t option and enable the mouse pointer in the text console as above.

moused -p /dev/mouse -t microsoft
vidcontrol -m on

Start the mouse daemon on the serial port /dev/mouse. The protocol type microsoft is explicitly specified by the -t option.

    moused -p /dev/mouse -m 1=3 -m 3=1

Assign the physical button 3 (right button) to the logical button 1 (logical left) and the physical button 1 (left) to the logical button 3 (logical right). This will effectively swap the left and right buttons.

    moused -p /dev/mouse -t intellimouse -z 4

Report negative Z axis movement (i.e., mouse wheel) as the button 4 pressed and positive Z axis movement (i.e., mouse wheel) as the button 5 pressed.

If you add

    ALL ALL = NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/killall -USR1 moused

to your /usr/local/etc/sudoers file, and bind

    killall -USR1 moused

to a key in your window manager, you can suspend mouse events on your laptop if you keep brushing over the mouse pad while typing.


kill(1), vidcontrol(1), xset(1), keyboard(4), mse(4), psm(4), screen(4), sysmouse(4), ums(4)


The moused utility partially supports "Plug and Play External COM Device Specification" in order to support PnP serial mice. However, due to various degrees of conformance to the specification by existing serial mice, it does not strictly follow the version 1.0 of the standard. Even with this less strict approach, it may not always determine an appropriate protocol type for the given serial mouse.


The moused utility first appeared in FreeBSD 2.2 .


The moused utility was written by Michael Smith <Mt msmith@FreeBSD.org>. This manual page was written by Mike Pritchard <Mt mpp@FreeBSD.org>. The command and manual page have since been updated by Kazutaka Yokota <Mt yokota@FreeBSD.org>.


Many pad devices behave as if the first (left) button were pressed if the user "taps" the surface of the pad. In contrast, some ALPS GlidePoint and Interlink VersaPad models treat the tapping action as fourth button events. Use the option "-m1=4" for these models to obtain the same effect as the other pad devices.

Cut and paste functions in the virtual console assume that there are three buttons on the mouse. The logical button 1 (logical left) selects a region of text in the console and copies it to the cut buffer. The logical button 3 (logical right) extends the selected region. The logical button 2 (logical middle) pastes the selected text at the text cursor position. If the mouse has only two buttons, the middle, `paste' button is not available. To obtain the paste function, use the -3 option to emulate the middle button, or use the -m option to assign the physical right button to the logical middle button: "-m2=3".

MOUSED (8) May 15, 2008

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