The computer mouse was developed in the 1960s, but wasn't used much until the 1973 release of the Xerox Alto computer. The mouse wasn't popularized until the release of the Apple Lisa and Macintosh computers a decade later. Thereafter the mouse spread to a wide variety of computer systems, including x86 PCs. Today, all computers larger than a palmtop include a mouse or some alternative pointing device—and palmtop computers often use touch-sensitive screens that can be used in place of a mouse.
The range of options available in mice and competing pointing technologies today is quite wide. Fortunately, most of these options don't require special driver support, because the options relate to internal technologies that are transparent to software, or to ergonomic factors like the shape of the mouse. These are important considerations for you as a human purchaser of a pointing device, of course.
I describe several popular pointing devices in the following pages, but I don't cover all the available pointing devices. If you happen upon an unusual pointing device, chances are it will work with Linux.
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