Problem clicking with mouse after some use, fixed going back and forth from virtual terminal

For a several weeks to a month or more, I have been having problems with Fedora 29 and then Fedora 30 on an old Dell laptop. The laptop is an XPS M1530 with an integrated NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics card. For a while, I was using the proprietary graphics drivers through RPMFusion, but, as I remember, I started getting some weird behavior and uninstalled them to see if things improved. I am currently using nouveau open-source driver stack instead. The problem seems to have appeared around the time that the 5.x series of kernels started showing up, though, that might be more of a coincidence.

Now for the issue. Basically, after some use of the laptop, the graphical interface loses the ability to left click (or maybe even right click) on any elements in the user interface (UI). You can move the mouse and see the various buttons underneath the mouse highlight as you hover over the various buttons and features of the UI, but you can’t actually click any buttons to interact with the UI. In some ways, it is almost as if something has locked the focus to some window and you can’t interact with anything else.

The only way I have been able to get things back is to use Ctrl-Alt-F2 (or similar, -F3, -F4, etc.) to switch to a virtual terminal and then Ctrl-Alt-F1 to switch back to the desktop. At that point, I can click on things in the UI as usual. I can’t tell if there is an application in particular that causes this problem–it could be Firefox since it gets used so frequently, but the problemaffects all of the applications when it occurs, so I am not sure what triggers the issue (yet).

As some additional information, this machine was installed with the KDE Plasma Spin of Fedora 29 originally. When I started having these “focus” or “click” problems I installed some alternate desktop environments: MATE and XFCE. I see this behavior in all three desktop environments, so it does not appear to be Plasma specific.

Any suggestions on what the problem is and how to report it as a bug would be appreciated. Even with the latest updates (as of 5/21/19), I believe it is still a problem under Fedora 30, though, I need to use the laptop for a little while to encounter the problem.

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Hello, are you using wayland or X11, try switching to the other and see if that take away the issue.

Thanks for the idea, but I don’t have GNOME installed currently–I have Plasma, Xfce, and MATE. To my knowledge Plasma, Xfce, and MATE are all X11-based environments in Fedora. My current Fedora installation on this laptop is based on the Fedora Plasma Spin.

I probably could install GNOME and try it out. If I don’t find a resolution or if it doesn’t go away, I may install GNOME to test things under Wayland.

By the way, things have been behaving well on the laptop for the last few days, so maybe it got resolved. I will post a follow-up in a few days one way or another.

Thanks for the comment!

After time has passed, it seems like things have gotten better.

The other factor that I believe that may have contributed is the wireless interface for the computer. It has a Broadcom-based WiFi card built into the laptop and it has not been behaving well (I am using the kmod-wl package from rpmfusion.org. It seems like NetworkManager is locking up or suffering otherwise and that seems to cause issues for the desktop environments. I haven’t figured out that right combination of things to bring up the interface happily on a consistent basis (a lot of using the physical wireless switch to turn the interface off and on and turning on and off the WiFi interface in NetworkManager). It seems like the difficulties with the WiFi and the interface lockups only really started with the later 4.2X and 5.X kernels in Fedora 29 and has carried into Fedora 30.

By the way, if I use a USB WiFi dongle, wireless works well and I don’t notice the mouse clicking issues that I saw before. It is probably time to replace the Broadcom mini PCIe card with an Intel one.

Anyway, at this point, things have settled down and some of the troubles seemed to be wireless interface related.

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