3-button mouse: he's probably correct

Story: The Three Button Mouse Phenomenon: A cultural trait found in those who love their computersTotal Replies: 7
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Aug 14, 2009
3:42 PM EDT
I think he's probably correct about 3-button mice: the first mice I used were Sun's 3-button mice, on a Sun 3/260 running "SunView".

I could never understand why the MacTribesfolk were so enamored of a one-button mouse, given that they were always shift-clicking, clover-clicking, and ctrl-clicking, which effectively meant a *4* button mouse.

Of course, I've never understood the Windows, explicit-copy model of cut-n-paste, nor the conflation of focus and "window on top" either.

Color me "fogey".

Oh, yeah, I forget this part of the rant:

Isn't the wheel-mouse a hardware workaround for bad windowing system design? I don't recall ever feeling the need for a wheel-mouse in the early 90s, when I used NeXTStep: instead of the Windows custom (OS/2 or "CUA" custom, perhaps) of having a slider with an up arrow at the top, and a down arrow at the bottom, NeXTStep put a combo up/down arrow pair at the bottom of the slider (I think, might have been the top). You didn't need to do massive mouse slides to change direction of the elevator, just small ones.

Sun's OpenWindows did a similar thing, but the up/down arrows were on the elevator "thumb" itself, not on little buttons attached to panel corners. You didn't do all the mouse-work that Windows/OS/2 require.

But the wheel-mouse is great for dealing with Windows, I gotta admit. It does slightly interfere with X-window style cut-paste-extend 3-button usage, however.

Aug 14, 2009
4:32 PM EDT
OMG three buttons?? No, that's too many! I will go all confused and not be able to ever use Linux!

Aug 14, 2009
5:57 PM EDT
I always thought Linux was designed for three button mice. You can do the right and left at the same time thing to emulate the middle button but three is supposed to be the standard.

I say that as I look at the external mice attached to my laptops when they are stationary on my desk. The netbook has a two button Logitech mouse. The one on the Toshiba, also a Logitech, has, by my count, four buttons. It has the normal right and left, a wheel in the middle which can be clicked and acts like the middle mouse button on a three button mouse, and a strange fourth button on the lower left side in the middle from front to back. Nary a three button mouse to be found.

I always thought a one button mouse was the only thing Macs used. Silly me.

It's good to know that as a Linux user I can never be delusional. If I ever see pigs fly or pink elephants walk by it is oh so reassuring to know that they will be absolutely positively real so long as I run Linux. I must thank the author for letting me know.

Aug 14, 2009
7:20 PM EDT

Put down the old Macintosh and slowly step back.

We're not here to hurt you, I promise.

Easy..... eeeeeasy....

Aug 14, 2009
8:52 PM EDT
/me pops paper bag

Aug 14, 2009
9:16 PM EDT
??? You can plug in a USB mouse to any computer with USB. All mice today are at least 5 button (inc. scroll up and down) or 7 (usually forwards/back near thumb.) They work in any OS. The only difference is that 'official' apple mice look stupid and make it hard to right click.

Aug 14, 2009
9:51 PM EDT
@aronzak: I still see plenty of 2 or 3 button mice at stores near me. The "All mice today" part of your post isn't true. The rest is, of course.

Aug 15, 2009
1:54 PM EDT
I picked up a Logitec mouse in 1991 that has three buttons. It worked perfectly in my first Linux install in 1995, and I already knew what *NIX "should" do with three buttons because by then I'd been working on SunOS 4 and SPARCs for 3 years. All the Sun machines had beautiful 3-button optical mice.

The problem was that they used felt as their mouse "skids", the felt would get hand gunk in it and harden, eventually getting rather sticky, and scratching the optical surfaces. This made the mice unreliable after a few years of 24x7x365 use in a network operations center.

Let's just say that the reliability of SPARC hardware was a wonder to see.

Anyway, except that it's a 9-pin serial mouse, I'd be using it today. I miss it, all square and "ugly" and useful, not at all like the rounded, streamlined, ergonomic silly-putty packages people use for mice today.

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