Last Monday we reported that Synaptics would be releasing its Gesture Suite for use by Linux OEMs, so they can add multitouch and gesture features to touchpads on Linux laptops. Since many people install Linux by themselves, I wondered if they would make the Suite available for individual users as well – I posed them the question, and the reply is that they’re looking into it.
Since a lot of people install Linux on their own, I was wondering if the Gesture Suite will become available for those people too. It would be a great thing to have for those that buy a Windows laptop specifically for use with Linux.
Synaptics: We know end users have interest in the released builds that were intended for OEM bundling. Synaptics is addressing feasibility and support for making the SGS-L driver available at synaptics.com in the future. If you have a Linux PC with Synaptics TouchPad, please check with the PC OEM for the new driver support.
Also, I’m assuming the software release will be proprietary, meaning it cannot be shipped by Linux distributors (such as OpenSUSE, Fedora, or Ubuntu) themselves, since they require all code to be open source. Is Synaptics perhaps working with Canonical/Ubuntu to add the Gesture Suite to the third party partner repository? If not, is that something that would be possible in the future?
Synaptics: SGS includes Synaptics IP in gesture technology and is not open source. Synaptics developed SGS-L for OEMs that want to integrate notebooks with Synaptics’ TouchPad family of products, and like the Windows PC world, provides the driver with the TouchPad/ClickPad to enable the broad features of the Synaptics hardware.
Canonical et al.
So, open source is out of the question, which isn’t all that surprising seeing how competitive the multitouch world is becoming. At least they are looking into making the Suite and the driver available to ordinary users which I’m sure will be welcomed by many. If I were Canonical (or one of the others), I’d contact Synaptics right away to try and see if the Suite and driver can be added to the non-Free/open repository.
Either do it or don’t, just like any other driver. It wouldn’t make sense not to, since I’d say the majority of Linux users are not from pre-installed machines given most OEMs’ incompetence at setting up a good Linux system.