Touch input is holding Linux back
UPDATE 2015-11-12: Peter Hutterer's marvellous work on
has redeemed my faith. My X1C3
laptop now works really well!
"Linux on the Desktop" has become a messed up cliché so let me define it as Linux on the workstation.
It's a workstation, so it's not pandering to some whizz bang graphical Desktop.
I've observed over the last few years it's becoming increasingly difficult to run Linux upon laptops.
Why? Linux has great hardware compatibility except when it comes to touch inputs.
No input means no computer
I personally cannot use my laptops trackpad. It's unusable.
Dirty secret is the TouchPad Synaptics driver is a train wreck UX compared to Apple or Microsoft drivers. Closed source touch screen drivers like EETI eGalax drivers also pale in comparison to an iPad experience.
Lets face it, the modern interpretation of the touch pad with 5-point multitouch is innovative yet very complex. Apple/Microsoft employ teams of people making sure it's perfect. Linux distros don't have these resources.
Especially assuming that the relationship between the hardware and driver needs to be extremely tight to get the best experience.
"Innovative" input hardware manufacturers are just not interested in targeting Linux users.
The workaround I use for have no usable trackpad is the "Thinkpad trackpoint" which I admit is antiquated compared to my wife's use of her Macbook's large and functional trackpad.
Either that or an external USB mouse. 😢
Looking into the future
I don't see anyone going to solve this problem on Linux anytime soon. However, I should study the Google Chrome books to see exactly what they do.
Update: I've been told to check out http://freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/libinput/. Maybe it's not all doom and gloom! 😂