GNOME Shell Multi-Touch Support State
Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 9 August 2011 at 03:04 AM EDT. Add A Comment
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On the third day of the Berlin Desktop Summit there wasn't any major announcements like the previous two days when we found out the KDE plans for Wayland, basic plans for KDE 5.0, and initial thoughts concerning GTK4. One of the talks that I attended on Monday that was of closest interest to that of Phoronix content is the work being done towards making a multi-touch GNOME Shell.

This talk was by Carlos Garnacho, but sadly there wasn't any major announcements. Carlos basically classifies the current GNOME Shell 3.0 as being "mildly multi-touch aware." He classifies that on the basis of some features being touch-friendly while other features are in-accessible, but "nothing is utterly broken."

The GNOME Shell multi-touch support should improve a great deal with a GNOME 3 on-screen keyboard, when the updates to X Input 2 (i.e. X Input 2.1) finally arrive, and when the GNOME Shell Xi2 / multi-touch branches are merged. The X.Org multi-touch protocol is still being worked on and isn't yet in a stable xorg-server release. There isn't even a recent repository of the code, says Carlos, but just the patched versions of the X Server that Canonical is shipping in the 11.04 and 11.10 Ubuntu Linux releases. The GNOME support also doesn't depend upon Canonical's UTouch library.

Garnacho then commented on the basic gestures support in GNOME Shell, which currently includes moving windows, tiling to left or right, maximizing, and workspace switching. What he says would be "toppings" for the GNOME Shell support is proper desktop rotation (using either the tablet device's accelerometer or a hot-key), consistent input behavior, smart displaying of relevant options, and other items. Carlos then proceeded with a brief touch demo of the GNOME Shell.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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