ClickPads and Click Actions

Bryce Harrington bryce at
Thu Mar 1 01:22:19 UTC 2012

On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 01:11:30PM -0800, Chase Douglas wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm sending this to both ubuntu-devel and ubuntu-desktop to try to
> get a larger pool of feedback.

Here's some random thoughts.  I don't have a fully formed opinion on the
topic, but maybe these general observations can help the discussion.

* There are several different loose categories of devices we're talking

  + Integrated Apple pads in laptops

  + Apple magic touch mice, plugged in via USB(?)

  + Integrated pads in netbooks (like Dell Mini V)

  + Others?

* People have widely divergent views on how their pads should behave.

  + Changes to input behavior that can be perceived as a regression by
    any group of users tend to spawn bug reports and/or complaints.

  + We can't please everyone.

  + We want to minimize the number of people who have to configure
    things, that didn't have to configure things previously.

* Historically, we've not been prolific with X input SRUs.

   + Partly because many input "bugs" are just differences of opinion
     about what options should be the default.

   + Partly because input bugs often involve patches that are complex or

   + Partly because testing the changes requires a variety of input
     hardware that many of us don't have on hand.  (Testing can also be
     rather subjective.)

   + Partly because video issues keep us fully occupied and we just
     don't get to input stuff that often.

* There is a sense that people transitioning from Apple will have 
  different expectations than existing users (or windows migrants).

   + Do we have a sense for how many Apple migrants there are?
     (I know they can be vocal, but are we expecting Apple
     converts to Precise?)

   + While the hardware is quite pervasively common, Apple is not an OEM
     customer for Canonical (well, AFAIK), so that may modulate the
     priority here.

   + The defaults here for Apple hardware Could be different than
     other pads.

* Many users won't know about gestures or how to use them.

   + Some have strong muscle memory in their fingers.

   + Some users just aren't that coordinated.

   + Some just hate change in general.

* My general rule of thumb for features in LTS:

   + When unsure of a new feature, include it but leave it turned off by

   + Provide directions for enabling it in a wiki.  That way we can
     still get testing feedback and users who *really* want it will have
     a way to enable it.  (And 3rd parties can add it to Tweak tools and
     so on.)

   + If it can't be defaulted to off, then put it in a separate package
     or PPA, that people who want it can opt-in to.

The options are:
 > * Disable clickpad support by default
 "Traditional + ClickActions"

 > * Enable clickpad support, but disable right button area by default

 > * Enable clickpad support and right button area by default
 "ClickPad + RightArea"

It's hard to construct a solid opinion on the options... so many

If we definitely want to attract Apple converts to Precise (or make it
easier for people who swap between OSX and Ubuntu), then it follows we'd
at least want to make ClickPad enabled by default for Apple hardware.
Do we have strategic guidance from Design or management on what we
should be prioritizing here?

However, what I've heard from many Apple laptop owners is that there's
so many little quirks and misbehaviors, that ClickPad-vs-Traditional
might be just one in a long list of support issues.  If we fix that, but
as a result break something else, we may not really be gaining that much
in total.  But I don't know.

Leaving Apple hardware aside, for non-Apple hardware where we don't have
expectations for ClickPad functionality, it seems like it would be safest
to leave that as Traditional + ClickActions.  This assumes we can ship
one option for Apple stuff, one for everything else.  If we can't, then
that seems to suggest we should stick with Traditional by default, and
wiki up directions for Apple users.

If we decide to move to ClickPad or ClickPad+RightArea as the default,
we better make sure we document how to revert back to Traditional (even
if it means installing some PPA with downgrade drivers or some such).
Otherwise we risk earning some serious bug reports.

Again though, these are just some loose thoughts, not a solid opinion.  


More information about the ubuntu-desktop mailing list