While some folks have panned the new Unity interface for netbooks in the latest release of Ubuntu Linux, there is one kind of nifty new feature included in Ubuntu 10.10 for netbooks and tablets: the new uTouch gesture support.

Unity includes a multitouch gesture library. It lets you perform actions such as expanding and moving windows, launching multiple windows, and minimizing and maximizing windows using two or more fingers. The framework supports up to 4 finger touch input.

Canonical has released a demo video showing just some of the new uTouch features included in Ubuntu 10.10’s Unity interface. You can check it out after the break.

Ubuntu Linux is one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems for notebook and desktop computers. With these new touch features, perhaps we’ll start to see it on more tablets and other touchscreen computers as well.

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19 replies on “Ubuntu 10.10 multitouch support demo”

  1. I have used ubuntu linux (9.10 and up) on various notebooks with great success.  Almost any task that I could throw at at, whether web based or heavy document work, has performed flawlessly.  I find both Openoffice and LibreOffice to be far faster, friendlier and more stable than MSOffice as well as being just as capable.  The one issue that keeps me using Windows 7 on my HP elitebook tablet PC is that I have not managed to get screen rotation and stylus  rotation operating properly.  Ironically, it works perfectly as a VM and still performs very well.

  2. Please Mr. Shuttleworth make a deal with any pc maker you prefer and give us a tablet with ubuntu already in it.

  3. Wow, even Ubuntu is getting in on the tablet hype. These Android, iOS, and Windows tablets just novelty electronic devices. They’re not any more useful than a smart phone or laptop. I can see people carrying around a smart phone, tablet and laptop at the same time, haha.

  4. Ahead of MS, even though MS has had this for some time now, you just have to install the drivers that come with your device. This is fanboy stuff… Ubuntu is a cool trinket to play with then when someone who works for a living needs an environment that he can use to make something actually useful, he will use Windows. By the way, while Ubuntu is cool for a free OS, Windows 7 blows it away in actual function as well as UI. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a MS fanboy and have been using Linux since the late ’90s. It is especially useful as a headless server. But on the desktop, it has little use for true production and testing environments. Bash me if you will, but I’m only being realistic. What well known designer is using Linux? Mac sure, that is until you need to program, test and debug. Then you will inevitably need a Windows build. I find that most people who bash 7 never gave it a chance to begin with. It is by far the best user OS ever. It just works…it’s quite ironic that no install of Ubuntu or any other Linux distro has ever “just worked” without jumping therough hoops for simple functionality that actually does come out of the box with a Windows installation. Windows is not at all expensive and is worth every penny. Everyone complains about the cost of Windows, but the fact that it runs on such a wide variety of hardware makes it worth a measly <$200. Try buying a worthy Apple for less than $600. I bought a very powerful MSI i5 core with 4GB RAM and Windows 7 with 350 GB storage for $550 at Office Depot. Beat that Apple! You suck!

    These tablets are for people who want to check their email, play on Facebook or blog…maybe read a book. Pretty much all a waste of time… It's a glorified phone with a big screen, minus the ability to make phone calls is all it is! It's more like a giant iPod Touch…totally worthless!

    1. In 1985 I began developing and selling graphical touchscreen point of sale automation systems to restaurants. I’m still doing that today, 25 years later. I provide a Linux distribution and point of sale X Window Manager for the hospitality markets throughout the world that requires absolutely no setup whatsoever. I ship tablets daily to people who work for a living in the hospitality business. I think you don’t get out much.

    2. Yup, these consumer tablets are pretty lame devices and probably will be just used for email, social networking, YouTube and other basic internet tasks. The bigger tablets are worse. Way too big for holding and will likely slip through your hands.

      1. I use my Fujitsu TH700 in tablet mode all day long, on one charge for property mgmt reports- text and fillable PDF forms.
        No folding open, then closed all day.
        Setup instant ‘sleep’ to conserve batt.
        Works great on Win 7.
        Cannot get even Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 to enable touch, tho.
        12″ screen, 4gb DDR3, 2 320gb hdds. wifi, bt, cam…

    3. Recently setup Fujitsu TH700 convertible tablet:
      win 7 home,
      win 7 ultimate,
      and Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 on USB.
      Pen works on Ubuntu Netbook, touch does not.
      Seems every time I try a Linux Distro I have to resort to
      ‘DOS’- a terminal to get things to work, sometimes
      works, often not.
      Didn’t start with DOS and refuse to start there now.
      Maybe one day Linux will ‘just work’.

      1. At least with Kubuntu 11.04, touch on my TH700 worked out of the box.

        There are many important reasons why the command line interface (CLI) is still a part of Linux distributions. One of them is that there are many different desktop environments in use — e.g. Kubuntu uses KDE — and thus it’s important for there to be a way to use your distribution without any of them.

        Another one which is a little more subtle is combinatorics. The command line allows you to combine many commands in varied ways, much like a language does. Double-clicking really doesn’t — at least, not yet. A simple way to create a random password might be the command:

        head -c 9 /dev/urandom | base64

        This is something that would be very hard to do with a point and click interface. If you further suppose that you would like to read the randomness from your computer’s microphone input instead (for random static), it becomes only a little more complicated:

        parec | head -c 1000 | openssl dgst -sha512 -binary | head -c 9 | base64

        Notice that there’s a lot going on here because Pulseaudio and OpenSSL both have command line interfaces, and can thus be used combinatorically in this way. Add to this programs to download (wget) and the fact that most programs can be launched from the command line (e.g. vlc) and tremendous possibilities become simple.

        I’m not saying it’s necessary for everything — when I am browsing, I like to use firefox. But it does have its uses, and so many Linux programs expose some functionality at that level just so that you can mix them together with this simple grammar. It’s as if someone has grown to enjoy picture-books so much that they have forgotten the pivotal strength of languages — the combinatorics inherent to combining words into these simple classes. Yes, pictures are often more entertaining and more compelling, but there will always be a use for the written word.

  5. There have been some complaints that 10.10 is too slow, have to wait and see if it’s just an issue on some systems or if we should wait for the next release for a fix…

    1. Too slow? 10.10 is the fastest ever… Test it for yourself instead of buying into gossips made by paid MS trolls…

      1. The reports were from users and not paid MS trolls, again it may be a issue with either only certain systems or it may be a issue that not everyone will notice.

        Really, there have been no OS that wasn’t released with at least some issues. It takes user experience to find them all and eventually get them fixed.

        If you don’t think it’s slow then it probably means the problem may be with only certain systems.

        1. If someone says something like “too slow,” you have to immediately assume they don’t have hard data. 😉 That can be the result of countless minor issues. Not saying it isn’t real… just that it’s not terribly meaningful.

          If you want a stable Ubuntu, 10.04 is LTS. 10.10 isn’t, and it just came out. You can even patch multitouch support to 10.04 if you aren’t ready to upgrade.

          1. True but even if it’s based mostly on perception. Many of these reports are from people who are well experienced with Ubuntu and can quickly compare their experience with previous distros for comparison. So it may not be hard data but if you know the system doesn’t respond as well as the last version then you know something is wrong.

            I said in my first post that it remains to be seen if it was an isolated problem on certain systems or a serious issue. And as you pointed out yourself it’s not a final release yet and pretty much every release has had it’s problems that needed patches.

            But we shouldn’t pick and choose what to believe just because we may not like what is being said and assume such statements are intentionally misleading, which is the point I was making.

  6. certainly ahead of MS. . .
    How if we could just get all software cross platform we could use a good OS 😉

  7. Looks quite precise on the video, I am wondering how well it will work in real life.

    Certainly a big step for Ubuntu because with powerful multi-touch support a lot of people would consider it a secondary or primary OS for their tablets. When I buy an Android/ARM tablet, I will certainly try to put Ubuntu onto it as a dual boot option.

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