Hello friends,

I am an Ubuntu SME for a large retail corporation.

I was looking for a good laptop to run a reasonably-sized distro on (13.04 w/LightDM) that, most importantly, I didn't have to spend any money on...so I finally found a Dell Latitude 2100 sub-notebook at work. It's pretty much perfect for this purpose--a 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, and a resistive but very fine-grained touchscreen. A full boot from POST to login screen takes about 10 seconds which is MANY times faster than the brand-new Dell laptop my job got me (that does NOT have an SSD and has 8GB RAM)! It's a perfect little troubleshooting/working box, albiet with a very short battery life. Not sure if this is due to the battery itself or the OS but generally I'm getting about 1.75 hours out of the battery--which seems low to me (feel free to chime in if you know something that I don't).

Anyhow, my sweet little laptop has one big issue--I absolutely HATE the touchpad. I mean...most of the work that I do in Ubuntu is CLI-based anyhow...and the touchpad just seems to get in the way a lot, makes windows lose focus, etc.

My question: does anybody know if there is a key command that I can use to turn the touchpad off? Every other sub-notebook that I've owned has either a switch or some kind of function-key support to turn the thing on or off at will--except for this Dell. I can turn the touchpad off in BIOS but that's not really what I'm looking for. I need a way to do it with the keyboard preferably in real-time. Currently I am--you guessed it--turning it on and off in BIOS and just using the touchscreen to move the cursor around with an old Nintendo DS stylus. It works, but it isn't really the way I want to do it.

Can anybody suggest a way to turn the touchpad on or off via the keyboard or a way to map a key combination to do this? I mean, this IS Linux after all so there has to be a way to do it. Problem is that I am a relative n00b to Ubuntu--I've only been using it for four years or so--my "m'ain" OS has always been FreeBSD. I'm looking for the simplest, most hassle-free way to do this.

While I'm on the subject does anyone know if some type of program exists that pretty much does this type of thing--namely, letting you quickly and easily map keys to pretty much any function? Again, this IS Linux, so I figure it's gotta be out there--right? ; ')

Thank you very much and hope that you all have a great day!

Ron