Mark Shuttleworth Announces uTouch Framework

Aug 16, 2010

Open source gesture suite lands in Ubuntu 10.10.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth today announced the uTouch gesture suite that will make its first appearance in the 10.10.10 build of Ubuntu. The code is published under GPLv3 and LGPLv3.

"There's no reason why anyone else can't ship them as well," Shuttleworth said. "There's nothing in there proprietary to Canonical," he added.

Shuttleworth explained that UTouch goes beyond standard touch frameworks by allowing users to chain a series of gestures into a sophisticated series of commands known as "gesture sentences."

The window manager in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition will fully support the UTouch framework and thereby gesture sentences.

"Netbooks with multitouch will be able to switch applications, potentially switch tabs within the application you're using or, using gestures," Shuttleworth told Linux Pro.

Combining uTouch with Unity, Ubuntu's retooled desktop environment, optimized for netbooks and tablets is a logical choice, but developers will have to first create applications that take advantage of uTouch. Updating from Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 to 10.10 will automatically include UTouch and Unity. Shuttleworth said that Canonical will include at least one application that has a rich touch interface.

"We're announcing the pieces now because we think developers will want to get working on their own apps," Shuttleworth said.

Shuttleworth expects preinstalled uTouch-compatible devices to coincide with Ubuntu 10.10. Ubuntu 10.10 won't be available until October.

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