The Linux Kernel's HID Multi-Touch Driver Gets Rewritten, Microsoft Surface Dial Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 29 May 2018 at 08:55 AM EDT. 6 Comments
A major rewrite of the Linux kernel's HID multi-touch input code has been announced in order to support newer input devices and other improvements.

The rewritten HID multi-touch code now allows supporting system multi-axis devices, which are being pushed by Microsoft now for supporting a new circular style menu while interacting with it from a second hand/tool.

With this rewrite the Microsoft Surface Dial is now supported. The Surface Dial retails for $80~100 USD and allows adding a "dial" control to touch screen interfaces. Here's a video about the Surface Dial:

Additional details on this device also from

The Totem on the Dell Canvas 27 is also now supported thanks to this rewritten kernel code. The Dell Canvas 27 retails starting out at $1800 USD and its "Totem" is a similar rotational input device to the Surface Dial. Those wanting to learn more about that can do so at

In the process of this rewrite, some Windows 7 era input devices are also now better supported.

More details on the HID multi-touch rewrite for now can be found on the kernel mailing list. It's getting tight for trying to land it in the Linux 4.18 merge window that will be open as soon as next week, but we'll see if it ends up being pulled into the input tree in time.
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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 20,000 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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