The Synaptics Driver That Does Multi-Touch, ClickPads
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 14 March 2012 at 09:21 AM EDT. 15 Comments
Following last weeks release of the new X.Org EvDev input driver that introduces support for multi-touch and smooth scrolling, the updated Synaptics input driver is now available for Linux users. Key features, of course, are multi-touch and ClickPads support.

Multi-touch was the main feature of X Input 2.2 with X.Org Server 1.12 as released at the beginning of the month. Development versions of the xf86-input-synaptics driver that support multi-touch have been available, but now this driver has moved onto its release candidate phase in preparation for a stable release in the near future. Besides needing a supportive X.Org Server (version 1.12 or Canonical's backported-Xi2.2-on-server-1.11 for Ubuntu 12.04), mtdev is also required for multi-touch support. Multi-touch Protocol Translation Library -- mtdev -- translates the kernel input event stream into a simplified manner for the driver to handle.

The other key feature of the forthcoming Synaptics 1.6 is ClickPads support, which are like fake buttons. Read this article to learn about Clickpads with the Synaptics X.Org driver.

Like the xf86-input-evdev driver, the new Synaptics driver also has initial support for smooth scrolling as found in X.Org Server 1.12. That code has been around since last year.

Find out more about the xf86-input-synaptics 1.6 release candidate in this mailing list announcement.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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