As promised in the previous blog, this is the first of three updates planned between now and July. This post will cover the first three weeks of our Github Sponsors project, current developer prospects, and the results of the touchpad survey based on about 1,600 responses collected so far. 😎
Here's where we are at as of mid-May:
Lean times for gitclear/libinput
As detailed in the previous post, we'll probably need around $10k to make significant improvements to the Linux touchpad experience. Even with GitHub's generous support, the $355 that has been committed thus far ain't going to cut it.
Part of the problem is circumstantial, due to the previous blog post getting yanked from Hacker News homepage in ~an hour. I'm not quite sure how to explain the rest of the slow start. There's currently a gaping chasm between the 35 sponsors who have supported the project on GitHub so far (thank you!!!) and the 309 poll respondents who indicated they would donate to this cause. Hopefully more of those survey respondents can find their way to the GitHub project soon? It's unclear whether we will be able to resolve any issues with $620.
As an experiment, our company, GitClear is pledging to donate to this project half of any applicable subscriptions proceeds created during May or June. Here's a screenshot tour of how GitClear helps dev teams get more done. Links to: signup or demo. Use the promo code "touchpad" to have 50% of your subscription revenue redirected to this cause. 💸 GitClear's sweet spot is companies with 5-50 devs, where we often see ~15% more tickets closed after starting GitClear.
If any other companies would like to dedicate a portion of their subscription revenue to Linux touchpad drivers, I'd be happy to mention it in the next update!
While we haven't yet captured sufficient funds to get underway with a developer, I've received a couple promising applications from developers with credibility and experience on open source projects. I'll be following up with those developers this week. By the next update (early June), I expect to have settled on the primary developer that we'll entrust to deliver touchpad delight.
As a reminder, these are the responsibilities and compensation for the role. Drop me a line at bill -at- gitclear.com if you think you could be a fit?
Below are the results we've collected as of May 16. If you haven't already, you can still take the survey by visiting it here.
Also, as a separate area of interest, if you work as a developer in your day job, would you mind taking 5 mins for our anonymous seven question survey?
We will share the results of this survey alongside other updates in a future post.
Yeah... not a lot of ambiguity here. 83% of voters want Linux touchpads to be more like macOS.
Libinput with a hefty sprinkling of Synpatics.
The weighted average for satisfaction with current Linux touchpad users, amongst those who found this blog: 2.75. This will be the number we hope to beat as PRs are accepted from the gitclear/libinput fork.
Rated by responses, the top 5 were:
Support for multitouch, 365 votes
Better ignore palm on touchpad, 145 votes
Better tuned acceleration curve, 135 votes
Better tuned acceleration curve for two-finger scrolling, 114 votes
Too hard to execute click-and-drag interactions, 102 votes
Least voted on so far is "better ignore multiple fingers on the touchpad." Apparently people attribute touchpad interference to their palm only.
Secondarily, I was curious what the biggest improvement wishes were for those that rated the current touchpad driver experience a "1" or "2". Here was how those people voted the number #1 concern:
Support multitouch, 117 votes
Better ignore palm on touchpad, 56 votes
Better tuned acceleration curve for cursor movement, 56 votes
Better tuned acceleration curve for two finger scrolling, 55 votes
This group looks to be broadly attuned to the general touchpad audience.
Fortunately, the favorite multi-touch gesture (two-finger right click) is also the existing default for libinput, so ✅ on that front. Tip of the cap to Peter for getting that wired up.
The next biggest requests are:
Pinch zoom in/out, 116 votes
Four fingers to swipe between apps, 114 votes
Two fingers to swipe between pages, 95 votes
We also got a nice collection of "Other" responses, which don't seem to converge on any particular feature/problem.
This was a very popular question... to skip. To the extent that people didn't skip it, its results corresponded almost exactly to Q4, so we're going to use that as the chief arbiter of our focus.
309 poll respondents indicated they would donate to this cause. 35 of them have found their way to GitHub so far. 🙏
Looks pretty reasonable! Nice to see we won't be bound by needing to support multitudes of laptops from 2005.
I'm planning to post my next project update in first half of June. I'll tally up any additional funds that have been captured for this cause and hopefully introduce our developer to the community.
Judging by the feedback we've received so far, it looks like the first few priorities will be to 1) evaluate which multi-touch features can be implemented with the least work 2) start to quantify the current nature of palm detection 3) measure how the acceleration curve of Linux touchpad compares to that of macOS. I have some ideas on how we might calibrate the acceleration curve to better match macOS, but it would be handy if anyone else has bright ideas on how they would attempt to quantify the touchpad acceleration curve on macOS (such that we can seek to match it here).