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Thoughts on Linux multitouch

Oct 06, 2010, 12:34 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Hutterer)

"Let's start from the basics. Traditional input devices such as mice provide one physical device to control one virtual input point (the cursor or the keyboard focus). At it's very basic, multitouch is the ability to use multiple input points on a single physical device. This has some implications on technical issues but many more implications on the UI design. It is also the main reason why multi-pointer (which we support since server 1.7) is not a replacement for multitouch.

"Multitouch comes in roughly two different forms: direct touch and what I call dependent touch. Direct touch is simple, a touch point directly relates to the position on the device, i.e. a touch in the upper right corner of the touch device will usually result in some action in the upper right corner of the screen. Dependent-touch devices are e.g. multi-touch aware touchpads but also devices like the Apple Magic Mouse. In their case, the touch is usually interpreted relative to the pointer position of that same device.

"The usage of such devices differs vastly too. A direct-touch device will likely be used as such, with plenty of direct object manipulations at their respective position."

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