Ubuntu Tried Adding Synaptics Support Back To GNOME's Mutter

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 17 March 2018 at 07:21 AM EDT. 25 Comments
GNOME developers previously dropped support for Synaptics and other input drivers from Mutter in favor of the universal libinput stack that is also Wayland-friendly. Canonical developers tried to get Synaptics support on X11 added back into Mutter but it looks clear now that was rejected.

Canonical's Will Cooke reported in this week's Ubuntu happenings that they were trying to add upstream support for Synaptics to Mutter, complementing the libinput support. While it's great Canonical trying to contribute upstream to GNOME, Synaptics support was previously dropped as being a maintenance burden and with libinput support getting into rather good shape.

But developers working on Ubuntu want this Synaptics support in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for those upgrading from 16.04 LTS and already using this driver while still wanting to be able to configure the driver/device settings from within GNOME. Thus this pull request for adding in the Synaptics support as complementary to libinput.

Upstream doesn't want to restore Synaptics support due to the maintenance burden with additional testing, needing to keep it to feature parity with GNOME's libinput support, and introducing subtle differences to the desktop.

The merge request is rejected by upstream and thus likely to be carried just by the Ubuntu patches to their Mutter package for 18.04 LTS Bionic. The good news is Ubuntu developers are working on solving the remaining libinput issues so that moving forward it will be in good shape for Ubuntu users.
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