Serial mice are connected to a serial RS232/V24 dialout line, see
ttyS(4) for a description.
The pinout of the usual 9 pin plug as used for serial mice is:
pin name used for
2 RX Data
3 TX -12 V, Imax = 10 mA
4 DTR +12 V, Imax = 10 mA
7 RTS +12 V, Imax = 10 mA
5 GND Ground
This is the specification, in fact 9 V suffices with most mice.
The mouse driver can recognize a mouse by dropping RTS to low and rais-
ing it again. About 14 ms later the mouse will send 0x4D ('M') on the
data line. After a further 63 ms, a Microsoft-compatible 3-button
mouse will send 0x33 ('3').
The relative mouse movement is sent as dx (positive means right) and dy
(positive means down). Various mice can operate at different speeds.
To select speeds, cycle through the speeds 9600, 4800, 2400 and 1200
bit/s, each time writing the two characters from the table below and
waiting 0.1 seconds. The following table shows available speeds and
the strings that select them:
The first byte of a data packet can be used to synchronization pur-
The Microsoft protocol uses 1 start bit, 7 data bits, no parity and one
stop bit at the speed of 1200 bits/sec. Data is sent to RxD in 3-byte
packets. The dx and dy movements are sent as two's-complement, lb (rb)
are set when the left (right) button is pressed:
byte d6 d5 d4 d3 d2 d1 d0
1 1 lb rb dy7 dy6 dx7 dx6
2 0 dx5 dx4 dx3 dx2 dx1 dx0
3 0 dy5 dy4 dy3 dy2 dy1 dy0
3-button Microsoft protocol
Original Microsoft mice only have two buttons. However, there are some
three button mice which also use the Microsoft protocol. Pressing or
releasing the middle button is reported by sending a packet with zero
The Mousesystems protocol uses 1 start bit, 8 data bits, no parity and
two stop bits at the speed of 1200 bits/sec. Data is sent to RxD in
5-byte packets. dx is sent as the sum of the two two's-complement val-
ues, dy is send as negated sum of the two two's-complement values. lb
(mb, rb) are cleared when the left (middle, right) button is pressed:
byte d7 d6 d5 d4 d3 d2 d1 d0
1 1 0 0 0 0 lb mb rb
2 0 dxa6 dxa5 dxa4 dxa3 dxa2 dxa1 dxa0
3 0 dya6 dya5 dya4 dya3 dya2 dya1 dya0
4 0 dxb6 dxb5 dxb4 dxb3 dxb2 dxb1 dxb0
5 0 dyb6 dyb5 dyb4 dyb3 dyb2 dyb1 dyb0
Bytes 4 and 5 describe the change that occurred since bytes 2 and 3
The Sun protocol is the 3-byte version of the above 5-byte Mousesystems
protocol: the last two bytes are not sent.
The MM protocol uses 1 start bit, 8 data bits, odd parity and one stop
bit at the speed of 1200 bits/sec. Data is sent to RxD in 3-byte pack-
ets. dx and dy are sent as single signed values, the sign bit indicat-
ing a negative value. lb (mb, rb) are set when the left (middle,
right) button is pressed:
byte d7 d6 d5 d4 d3 d2 d1 d0
1 1 0 0 dxs dys lb mb rb
2 0 dx6 dx5 dx4 dx3 dx2 dx1 dx0
3 0 dy6 dy5 dy4 dy3 dy2 dy1 dy0
A commonly used symlink pointing to a mouse device.
This page is part of release 3.35 of the Linux man-pages project. A
description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://man7.org/linux/man-pages/.
Linux 1996-02-10 MOUSE(4)
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