Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Apr 2010 13:10 UTC
Linux We all know Synaptics, the company that seems to produce just about every touchpad you can get your hands fingers on. Their touchpads also do a lot of multitouch and gesture stuff, but up until now, their set of gestures, the Synaptics Gesture Suite, was only available on Windows. Luckily, they've ported it over to Linux, and made it available for OEMs building Linux laptops.
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Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

It's a pity it's not open source thus allowing all distributions access to their products as well as other OSs a chance to port the tools too (eg *BSD, OpenSolaris, Haiku, etc). With Synaptics business being hardware, I'd have thought (and correct me if I'm wrong here) there was no "trade secret" danger from opening up their code.

However, open source or not, it's good to see Synaptics contribute. There's still far too many hardware manufacturers out there that completely ignore the Linux platform - often just expecting hackers fill the void with reverse engineering and the lark. So I'd much rather see the source closed than not see the software at all.

[edited to read better.]

Edited 2010-04-19 13:48 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

.... Or worse, they have some Trojan or malfeatures in their code they don't want you to know about.

In any case, it's probably wise to avoid putting yourself at risk by running such closed software on your computer.


I can see the argument against binary blobs is a good one, but this is over stating the case, hardware vendors supporting Linux is a good thing, OK it would be better if this was with opensource drivers, but it is still a step in the right direction.

I wouldn't suggest installing this on your server, but on a less than mission critical netbook, smartbook etc it will be a good thing.

So - Year of the Linux netbook, smartbook, laptop! I think year of the Linux Desktop has already happened just many people haven't noticed.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

The problem is that their code is probably an unmaintainable mess full of bugs and WTF that would hit their corporate image so much that they decided it is better to pretend they've got some super secret algorithm that gives them a competitive advantage so they don't want you to see that.

Or worse, they have some Trojan or malfeatures in their code they don't want you to know about.

In any case, it's probably wise to avoid putting yourself at risk by running such closed software on your computer.


Oh dear.

I don't really know where to start debunking such an absurd comment, so instead I'll get back to playing my 3D accelerated games in Linux thanks to nVidia's proprietary drivers.

Reply Parent Score: 9

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

With Synaptics business being hardware, I'd have thought (and correct me if I'm wrong here) there was no "trade secret" danger from opening up their code.


If having gesture support in their drivers gives them a competitive advantage, that would be a "trade secret"

Reply Parent Score: 2

cookieninja Member since:
2005-11-11

I find that hard to believe. If it was that important to a competitor, surely they would reverse engineer the code and take a look inside the appropriate hardware and find out all they need to know.

Edited 2010-04-19 17:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

" With Synaptics business being hardware, I'd have thought (and correct me if I'm wrong here) there was no "trade secret" danger from opening up their code.


If having gesture support in their drivers gives them a competitive advantage, that would be a "trade secret"
"

But it's the hardware that supports multi-touch et al. The drivers just allow the OS to interface with the hardware.

Sure, the gesture suite will probably have mappings, but it would be little more than any other gesture mapping on any other hardware. (eg recording certain strokes to trigger certain events)

If it was a purely software interface, then Linux would have reverse engineered it by now as gestures have been in Linux for years already. The problem is interfacing with the specialised hardware controls to support things like two-fingered scrolling. Stuff like that will only run on Synaptic hardware so it really doesn't matter what software/drivers you run on top of it so long as it can read the hardware fully. Thus my point that I wouldn't expect to see any trade secrets in the source.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not ungrateful. ;)

Edited 2010-04-19 22:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2