Ubuntu – state of multitouch gestures in 14.04 / Unity


This seems like one of the most-asked items around here, but the Ubuntu dev team has been making changes fast in this area, so recent information is important.

I'm on a macbook pro 9,2.

When I installed Ubuntu Saucy, I got the new and exciting mtrack driver for my touchpad. It seems to work well for all the basic functions and two and three finger gestures seem to be picked up by my applications, at least (ie firefox 3 button "back", scrolling). I would like to customize the gestures though, and maybe add one or two of my own to manage my workspaces/windows. I updated to 14.04 last night to see if multitouch support in the GUI was improved (it doesn't look like it).

  • I have tried touchegg, but it seems like it relied on utouch which no longer exists in 13 or 14. It can't detect anything from my touchpad, even when I recompiled unity without multitouch, per http://ineed.coffee/1068/os-x-like-multitouch-gestures-for-macbook-pro-running-ubuntu-12-10/ . Most of the doco I've seen on it assumes you're using synaptics, so maybe that's the problem.

  • I have tried ginn, but encountered the same problem – it can't detect any input from my trackpad gestures.

  • I have tried easystroke, but it wants me to have a "gesture button" which enables gestures. I just want to do them without a special button.

This is driving me crazy. I understand that if I switch to Ubuntu Gnome touchegg should "just work". But do I REALLY have to change my whole shell interface to configure mouse gestures? Does Unity REALLY hijack the entire multitouch stack without exposing any of it in a configuration tool?

I feel like this is so ridiculous I must be missing something obvious. Any advice would be welcome.

Best Answer

On the latest ubuntu, all the advanced multi-touch only work from the touchscreen, not from the touchpad.

So what is left is:

  • scroll (two fingers drag up or down),
  • list of running software (3 fingers double tap)
  • launcher (4 fingers tap)

all the other advanced multitouch gestures are only available from the screen. I'm still puzzled by that design choice.

Touchégg seems to work with 14.04 (I'm on 14.10, can't confirm/deny) https://code.google.com/p/touchegg/

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