Linux Pad Implications: Canonical to add multitouch gestures in Ubuntu Linux 10.10 | Betanews
Citing manufacturer demand, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said Monday that Ubuntu 10.10 would include the beginnings of the company’s UTouch multitouch framework.
“Rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated ‘sentences,’” he said in a blog post. “The basic gestures, or primitives, are like individual verbs, and stringing them together allows for richer interactions.”
Work on adding multitouch functionality to Ubuntu began with 10.04, and testing was done on Dell XT2, HP tx2 tablets and the Lenovo T410s laptops. That work helped Canonical develop a framework that could be used across a broader range of devices.
“Our aim is to bring the natural, tactile experience of the world to the desktop, window manager, and applications you value,” the company wrote in announcing UTouch.
While the move puts Ubuntu Linux on a level playing field with Mac OS X in terms of multitouch, it may take a while before users see such features due to the disparate way Linux is developed. For example, the GNOME desktop environment would likely need the most work to support multitouch. In fact, one of the developers behind that platform was on the development team.
How fast it spreads to other platforms and applications entirely depends on the developers themselves, so it’s hard to say how soon multitouch will become commonplace in Linux. Canonical will do what it can to speed up that process – UTouch 1.0 has been released as an API and gesture-recognition engine, under the GPLv3 and LGPLv3.
Multitouch would probably see its tightest integration in Ubuntu Unity, which is the operating systems’s solution for netbook computers. Shuttleworth said that Canonical hopes to bring better compatibility for multitouch with Ubuntu 11.04, which is due next April.