Windows 7 natively supports it, OS X knows how to handle it and as of October, even Ubuntu will be getting in on the action. That's right, the next release of everyone's favourite open-source OS will feature full multi-touch gesture support right out of the box.
While the last release, Ubuntu 10.04LTS supported some touch features, Canonical has been working hard to integrate multi-touch into the entire OS. This means that uTouch, the new gesture stack, will be more than just a tacked-on experience.
Not only have some drivers and applications been reworked for multi-touch support, but the APIs will be integrated right into the latest Linux kernel. This should make for a unified, mature and consistent touch experience across the entire OS for both users and developers.
One of the major advancements for developers is the ability to string together gestures into more intricate commands. According to Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth, "rather than single, magic gestures, we're making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated "sentences".
"The basic gestures, or primitives, are like individual verbs, and stringing them together allows for richer interactions," he adds.
At the moment the Dell XT2 tablet/laptop is the target of the development efforts. However, the HP tx2 tablet and the Lenovo T410 laptop are also working well and the team expects systems from other major manufacturers as well as devices like the Magic Trackpad to be supported at launch.
This will clearly be an area of ongoing development for the Ubuntu community, but we'll be excited to see what they are able to come up with when Maverick Meerkat launches on 10/10/10. More information on the announcement is available from the Canonical blog.