With the new Synaptics hardware on Linux, things are extremely flakey and almost unusable out of the box.
Synaptics should respect our freedoms, and:
- 1. Release a copy of your proprietary Linux driver under the GPL (or public domain) and publish it somewhere where it can be used as a reference to minimize the need for any further reverse engineering.
- 2. Find a kernel engineer from somewhere in your 550-person company and have them help maintain the existing in-kernel Linux driver. Aside from the obvious bad behavior you will notice when you install any distro, there are also a number of bugs in the kernel database regarding Synaptics.
- 3. Help ensure the Gnome, KDE, and XFCE user interfaces allow customers to configure the gestures and other advanced features. This configuration UI will be shared with other hardware devices so you won't have to do that much.
Windows might be the majority, but a big part of that is because the laptop manufacturers expend little to no effort on the alternative. Yet 50% of their customers would be happier running Linux!
To read more background about this petition, click here.
Update November 25: I just sent an email to Synaptics: to the press account and to the CEO, letting them know of this petition. I'll post something when they respond.
Thanks for signing and adding your stories. Hopefully we can inspire Synaptics to do the right thing. The petition doesn't end until Synaptics takes action so please tell other fans about it. These driver problems surely affect many people.
Update November 25: I received an initial response from Synaptics
"Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on our products. As the industry leading human interface solution provider, we take the opportunity to improve our products seriously. Your message is now with the product team responsible for driver support who will be in contact with you as soon as time permits.
Because of the US Thanksgiving Holiday it may be a week or so before I hear a further response, but I'll keep this page updated with any further news.
Update December 13:
I received a substantive response from Synaptics this afternoon regarding this petition:
The open source Linux kernel currently has a PS2 touchpad driver from the third party open source community which was not developed, reviewed, or tested by Synaptics. Based on industry and customer pull, we do not support PS2 interfaces for Linux as it is not a strategic fit for our roadmap or support model. In general, the trend in the PC industry is HID/I2C, for which we do offer driver support. Our intent is to submit our HID/I2C driver to Kernel.org as time, resource allocation and customer project prioritization allow.
I just wrote a response to them you can read here:
Obviously this is just my opinion and it would be great if others comment. I hope no one strongly disagrees with what I wrote and I'll include feedback from others in my next mail to them.