For those with multi-touch capable hardware like Dell’s XT2 tablet, the Apple Magic TrackPad, or 3M/N-Trig hardware, there’s good news if you are an Ubuntu user as Ubuntu 10.10 is set to ship with multi-touch support by default. However, the Ubuntu 10.10 multi-touch support isn’t based on the recent port to Linux of the Synaptics
Gesture Suite, the Clutter multi-gesture capabilities, or the various other free software
efforts in this area, but rather Canonical has come around and come up with their own solution once again. New to Ubuntu today is the Canonical UTouch Framework.
Not only is the Canonical UTouch Framework its own implementation, but it uses its own four-finger touch language. This touch language is described in this Google document and Mark Shuttleworth described this new language on his blog as “rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated ‘sentences’. The basic gestures, or primitives, are like individual verbs, and stringing them together allows for richer interactions.”
The Canonical UTouch Framework is licensed under the GPLv3 and LGPLv3 and there’s also other modules needed for this multi-touch framework for GTK, X, and other components. As an example implementation of the UTouch Framework, Canonical will be adding their new gesture capabilities to GNOME’s Evince Document Viewer, but there is no word if they will actually push that upstream.
Canonical has announced UTouch 1.0 on its blog and there is more technical documentation on the Launchpad multi-touch-dev mailing list.