Wednesday 8 June 2011

Small tablet improvements

I recently added two new plugins to gnome-settings-daemon, which should make life a little bit better on tablet computers, such as the WeTab/ExoPC that most MeeGo developers seem to have lying around.

The first plugin is the orientation plugin, which will read the orientation from udev (which itself reads it from the accelerometer), and rotate the display and the input touchscreen as appropriate.

The second plugin is the cursor plugin, which will simply hide the mouse cursor when you don't have a mouse attached to a computer with a touchscreen.

Related to those are two gnome-shell bugs. Related to orientation is this bug about providing smoother XRandR transitions in gnome-shell, and related to cursor is a way to show activity in the shell panel when a busy cursor would be shown.

No screenshots, because a vertical desktop with no cursor isn't that interesting.

If you're interested in testing out this on a WeTab, you'll need the accelerometer driver in the kernel, udev git (or udev 172 when it's released) and gnome-settings-daemon master.

And if you want support for another tablet device, check out this discussion on the linux-input list, and drop me a mail if you need more guidance.


ritzk said...


is it possible for cursor plugin to set the style of cursor based on input device, such as pen/mouse/... ?

thanks !

Bastien Nocera said...

ritz: Nope. Because the cursor would most likely always be wrong for touch devices, tablets, or if you switched between a mouse and pen for example.

Juanjo Marín said...

I think this tablet could be useful for testing GNOME3

James said...

What about tablets whose orientation sensors show up as keyboard devices, where changing the orientation generates a Ctrl+Alt+(arrow key) press?

Bastien Nocera said...

James: new kernel driver to hide the crumminess, and export the orientation in a sensible way. Out of curiosity, how do you read the existing orientation (like when it boots up)?

Feel free to drop me a mail if you have hardware and are interested in working on this.