Linux 5.7 Adding Infrastructure To See Better Out-Of-The-Box Touchscreen Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 22 March 2020 at 12:09 PM EDT. 5 Comments
Linux 5.7 is seeing some infrastructure work to provide better out-of-the-box support for some touchscreens on Linux.

In the case of some touchscreens the lack of working out-of-the-box support isn't for lacking a Linux driver but rather not having the necessary firmware in place that's needed by the driver. Unfortunately some touchscreen hardware vendors haven't signed off on allowing their firmware binaries to be redistributed as part of linux-firmware.git, the centralized source for Linux device microcode/firmware files. That in turn is a letdown for allowing good out-of-the-box Linux support with users not being aware of extra steps needed to get the touchscreen working or just left assuming it doesn't work under Linux.

Red Hat's Hans de Goede, who is responsible for many Linux desktop hardware improvements over the years, has made an improvement in this area that will debut with the next kernel cycle. Some newer touchscreens have driver code as part of their tablet EFI code and within there a copy of the needed touchscreen firmware. Hans de Goede has made the x86 platform improvements for being able to use the EFI embedded-firmware code for extracting those firmware files. In turn, this allows out-of-the-box support for some touchscreens and without worrying about the firmware redistribution rights since it's just being extracted on the local system from EFI.

The infrastructure for this EFI embedded firmware information support to touchscreen_dmi as part of the driver-core-next.

One of the initial beneficiaries of this work is the Chuwi Vi8 Plus tablet with Chipone touchscreen controller where it has the necessary touchscreen firmware as part of the EFI firmware.
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