Logging Mouse Events in Linux

Problem

You would like to obtain statistics about how often the mouse is used on a Linux machine.

Solution

Linux logs all activity of input devices (such as mouse and keyboard) into various device files under /dev/input/*.

Mouse activities, in particular, are logged in /dev/input/mice (this logs events for all mice attached). Hooking into this device file allows to be notified of all mouse events. The following C++ snippet reads the /dev/input/mice file and writes a simple log for the observed activity:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <time.h>
#include <linux/input.h>

#define MOUSEFILE "/dev/input/mice"

int main()
{
 int fd;
 struct input_event ie;

 if((fd = open(MOUSEFILE, O_RDONLY)) == -1) {
 perror("Cannot access mouse device");
 exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
 }

while(read(fd, &ie, sizeof(struct input_event))) {
 time_t rawtime;
 struct tm * timeinfo;

time ( &rawtime );
 timeinfo = localtime ( &rawtime );
 printf ( "Actvy: %s", asctime (timeinfo) );
 }

return 0;
}

Safe the source code into a file mouse.c and compile this application using the following command:

gcc mouse.c -o LogMouse

You can run the compiled program as follows to log mouse events from your system in a text file:

./LogMouse > mouse.txt

Note: You will probably need root privileges to run this application, so use sodu or su.

mouse

Resources

StackOverflow – How to read low level mouse click position in linux