When using a laptop with a touchpad, Tap-to-click is disabled by default in Plasma's System Settings. This can be rather unintuitive for modern touchpad usage, as it is much simpler to tap than it is to click down on a touchpad. Tap-to-click allows users to interact with their laptop without constantly having to press down against a stiff touchpad, which may even hinder ergonomics.
In my experience, other desktops such as GNOME, have tap-to-click enabled by default, which makes for a better out-of-the-box experience for laptop users. Especially when trying to be more touch-friendly in general, it would be very helpful to enable tap-to-click for the touchpad in system settings by default.
This is a decision for either Libinput (to choose different defaults for itself) or the distro (to decide to override Libinput's defaults). It's not really KDE's place to be opinionated here.
Speaking personally I hate tap-to-click and find its usability and speed to be poor compared to physically pressing.
I do have a question though. If this is supposed to be handled by Libinput and distro, then how is it while on the same system, GNOME has tap-to-click enabled by default, but not Plasma?
From my decades' experience working as an IT support and system administrator, I have never came across a laptop with its factory system not enabling tap-to-click by default.
Not only that, nowadays, most new laptops do not have physical buttons visible around the touchpad's surface. Some touchpads can only do gesture taps.
For example, on my Lenovo Yoga 730 (which was a 2018 model, mind you), already has no visible buttons. The whole touchpad is a big continuous piece. So if I want to mouse click without tap-to-click, I have to press really hard on the bottom corners -- which 100% of the time, will cause the cursor to move a bit, so I can never click exactly on the place I want to click. Not to mention dragging, it's impossible to drag accurately with so much force constantly needed to press down the dang thing. Just imagine the usability issue it will cause in productivity apps with a lot of tiny options.
Most users, at least in my organization and my relatives, do not know, or simply just forgot about the touchpad on their laptops can be pressed down -- myself included until I encountered this issue yesterday.
Without tap-to-click, I found it impossible to use a modern laptop with no individual touchpad buttons. Maybe you are using some kind of Thinkpad, but Thinkpad is always an exception, not the standard when it comes to touchpads.
In my opinion, this is a major usability issue and certainly should be a counted as a 15 minutes bug -- heck, it's a 5 seconds bug really!
I sincerely implore you to review, re-investigate, and reconsider this issue.
I am using a ThinkPad, yeah.
It's unfortunate that most laptop manufacturers make touchpads that are unusable with physical clicks. Apple's touchpads which are haptic are wonderful. You can push down anywhere and get the same amount of force.
We can reconsider and be more opinionated in KDE.
*** Bug 436077 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 451872 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Since we changed the singe-click to double-click, I guess we are opinionated enough now?
I switched three normal Windows users to Linux/KDE recently and all three of them wondered why the touch pad would not click on tap and were a bit clueless about how to go on without it.
This is one of the few settings that I consistently change when installing a new Kde on a laptop. On the touchpads I've used so far, there is no way of positioning my hand so I can do all types of clicks without moving my wrist significantly. Without touch-to-click, I need to give up on either moving the pointer, left clicking, or right clicking. To give an idea, if the touch sensitive area is the JKL; row of a US keyboard, left click is the B key, and right click is the right CTRL key (or if you're left-handed, it would be be ASDF/meta key/B key respectively). As Tyson noted, pressing the mouse click areas requires a lot of force, more than pressing a key on the keyboard.
The same usability issue arises in SDDM, for which there is no nice configuration GUI, so maybe it needs to be fixed at the distro or libinput level indeed. It was mentioned in #436077 that libinput wouldn't change their default (https://wayland.freedesktop.org/libinput/doc/latest/tapping.html#tap-to-click-default-setting). Maybe they will agree to reconsider a 9-years-old decision in the light of market changes: most laptops sold today no longer even have a visual hint that there are buttons hidden under the touchpad.
> most laptops sold today no longer
> even have a visual hint that there are buttons hidden under the touchpad.
... let alone real buttons to do the clicking.
Not sure how wide-spread click pads are.
If there is really no other way to click on a given touchpad, tap to click is enabled by default in libinput. At least that is how it is supposed to be according to the libinput developers, they do not necessarily have exhaustive data on all the touchpad models out there, so yours might have to be added to the list.
For everyone else, defaulting to tap to click is a bad idea because it is redundant with the physical clicks and because it is prone to misclicks. (Tap to click used to be enabled by default. I constantly ended up accidentally clicking while just trying to move the cursor, or sometimes even while just accidentally touching the touchpad while typing. So disabling that misfeature was one of the first things I changed. So I was glad when it got finally disabled by default.)
(In reply to Kevin Kofler from comment #9)
I've already said it in Comment 2, I suppose I should expand the details:
> If there is really no other way to click on a given touchpad
Even though most button-less trackpads can press-to-click,
but in reality, such interaction is not a practical way to use those devices.
They are clearly not engineered to be used as such.
The natural interaction on those device is self-explained:
1) Who knows to press down for a button, when there is NO BUTTON to be seen?
-- newer generations GREW UP WITH TOUCHSCREENS,
-- they will never have guessed the trackpad can be pressed down for a button.
2) You often need to press really hard to initiate a click.
-- because unlike a physical button, you don't know where the switch is under the surface.
-- as such, precise clicks and dragging are nearly impossible,
-- and mistakes are rampant because there is no clear divide between the trackpad and the "buttons".
If there is anything the trackpad designers are trying to imply,
they are encouraging people to use tap-to-click, while discouraging people from using press-to-click.
Press-to-click on a trackpad is more like a fail-safe, fallback, last-resort kind of feature.
According to my observation,
NOBODY in ANY organization I worked in EVER used press-to-click on their button-less trackpads.
EVERY people I EVER recommended KDE Plasma to, the FIRST difficulty they ran into on a laptop
has ALWAYS been the "tap-to-click" feature being disabled by default.
> For everyone else, defaulting to tap to click is a bad idea because it is
> redundant with the physical clicks and because it is prone to misclicks.
Maybe it only with old trackpads. Not so much for modern devices.
I never had any misclicks on my tiny 10-inch mini-laptop with tap-to-click.
> disabling that misfeature was one of the first things I changed.
Now enabling that feature becomes one of the first things I changed,
and the same for many more other people...
Disabling tap-and-click by default is a misfeature that turns first time users away.
Really bad first impression when you can't even click anything unless educated before-hand.
EVERY OTHER OSes are doing the opposite, KDE Plasma's default behavior stands out like a sore-thumb.
The situation has changed, and the world has moved on. We need to adapt.
I really don't think dwelling on the past experience is going to help us in the long run.
I don't think this is something that's going to be resolved with individual anecdotes in a bug tracker. It really needs a usability study to see if there's a clear majority preference.
(In reply to John Veness from comment #11)
> I don't think this is something that's going to be resolved with individual
> anecdotes in a bug tracker. It really needs a usability study to see if
> there's a clear majority preference.
There is an existing reddit post about that https://www.reddit.com/r/kde/comments/mwnqfc/laptop_users_do_you_enable_tap_to_click_on/. There is about 5:1 ratio in favor of enabling tap-to-click (1K vs 186, as of today).
Otherwise, please create a new "official" polling thread in Reddit/KDE Discourse, and share the link here. Wait for two months for people to vote, and then please let's accept the majority decision, whatever it will be.
We have an Invent issue tracking this now for formal consideration: https://invent.kde.org/plasma/plasma-desktop/-/issues/97
Let's continue there.