I am trying to get gpm working in a minimalist, built from scratch, linux environment. I have installed version 1.20.7 into an LFS (Linux from Scratch) 7.8 system that is running in a Virtualbox 4.3.28 instance on my Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 host. I know this is a mouthful and potentially complex problem, but I am hoping someone reading this has some insights to share.

I have recompiled the kernel with psaux, mouse, etc. I have modified /etc/sysconfig/mouse with numerous combinations of mdevice and protocol settings and rebooted between configuration changes to no avail (/dev/psaux, /dev/mice, /dev/mouse0; ps2, imps2, etc).

I have changed the VM mouse from USB to PS/2.

The problem is that no mouse cursor shows up ever.

If this has an obvious solution, it will be a relief. I don't really understand the interactions between the VM, the host, and the guest as well as I would like, but up to this point it has been relatively straightforward to deal with drives and the bios and such, but this has me stumped. All of the discussions I have found have had debian solutions or arch solutions where the answer was to apt-get or pacman or such where the package manager and OS work to configure things. I don't have the luxury of a packaging system or fully baked distro to assist.

My question can be expanded to include these as well:

  1. Have you been able to configure GPM to work in the console in a virtualbox vm?
  2. Do you have some troubleshooting tips?
  3. Is there a test command that I can use that will provide some kind of error or log message?


  • You forgot to mention what the problem actually is. :)
    – seumasmac
    Oct 7, 2015 at 1:15
  • I updated the text (and I'm about to answer my own question as well) - no cursor at all.
    – decuser
    Oct 7, 2015 at 1:48
  • 1
    personally, having no gpm seems more like a feature than a bug.
    – Bratchley
    Oct 7, 2015 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


This turned out to be less difficult than it seemed. I'm not sure it's the "best" solution, but it works as follows:

  1. Uses the legacy /dev/psaux device. This requires the selection of Device Drivers->Input Device Support-> Provide legacy /dev/psaux device during kernel configuration and building.

  2. Uses the USB Tablet in virtualbox (which provides Absolute Addressing), this can be changed while the VM isn't running.

  3. Can be started manually with the command gpm -m /dev/psaux -t imps2, but once it works, the service can be started by init with an appropriate startup script (such as those provided by BLFS bootscripts)

Voila, mouse and copy paste in a vt running in a virtualbox vm :)

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