Synaptics has introduced technology to support multitouch touchpads on systems running Linux. Up until now, Synaptics drivers were available primarily for Windows systems with supported touchpads. But the Synaptics Gesture Suite Linux (SGS-L) is available for a variety of Linux distributions including Fedora, Millos Linpus, Red Flag, SUSE, Ubuntu, and Xandros. Synaptics says Google Chrome OS and other operating systems built on Linux should also be supported.

The gesture suite includes multitouch gestures including pinching to zoom, twisting to rotate, and using two fingers to scroll.

This doesn’t mean you can simply download the SGS-L and install it on your notebook though. At least not yet. Synaptics is making the software available for free to OEM and ODM partners that purchase Synaptics TouchPads and ClickPads for use in their computers and other products. The idea is that consumers will be able to purchase notebooks that ship with Linux which already have multitouch gesture support out of the box.

I doubt it will take too long before we start to see Linux distributions start to incorporate the technology though. If that happens, you might be able to purchase a notebook with Windows, install a Linux distribution such as Fedora or Ubuntu yourself, and find that it supports multitouch out of the box. But I don’t think we’re there quite yet.

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13 replies on “Linux notebooks get multitouch gesture support for Synaptics touchpads”

  1. Is this capacitive style multi touch, or resistive? My old Inspiron 700m running Fedora, and even Debian, will handle two finger scrolling, and one, two or three finger tap-to-click. That’s probably not what people think of as “multi-touch.”

    1. Resistive touchscreens/touchpads do not support multitouch.
      Capacitive ones do.

  2. I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on my Eee Pc and two finger scrolling works fine. So I guess this just adds pinch and rotate?

  3. the xorg synaptics driver already supports multitouch, it’s a question of the vocabulary of gestures supported.

    my asus eee supports two finger scrolling and right center mouse button gestures just fine when running ubuntu.

  4. already support multitouch, but actually mostly touchscreen is supported as far I know. Drop your notebook and buy a tablet shaped smartbook for that (more compact, more light, more powerfull and better battery time).

  5. Nope, this is a closed driver so forget it appearing in any distributions. Preloads only and since preloads of anything except Android and/or Chrome have all but disappeared of late….

    1. It may very well be installable post-installation just as NVIDIA proprietary graphics drivers are installable in Ubuntu under the Hardware Drivers section, but like you said, I doubt that they will come included during an initial installation because of the closed nature.

      1. Go read the details at Synaptics, you have to be an OEM to get it and it isn’t posted as a download for end users. This isn’t an Nvidia situation.

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