Tablet pc regressions and showstoppers

Vincenzo Ciancia ciancia at
Tue Mar 11 11:05:20 UTC 2008

Hi all.

I think everybody will agree that making ubuntu work well on tablet PCs
is a Good Thing for the image of ubuntu itself. In fact, the very first
thing people say when they see the orange bars on my desktop is "hey,
linux on the tablet... why did you want to hurt yourself THAT much"?
They usually say this in italian but I think you can understand what it
sounds like.

>From edgy to feisty and gutsy, we had a very good progress on the tablet
pc side, which always worked after using tricks in feisty, and worked
out of the box in gutsy. In hardy, we also have cellwriter, a very good
handwriting recognizer. However, regressions in hardy break tablet
support and nobody seems to be taking care of this. This is not to
accuse anybody, I just send this reminder to the devel-discuss list
because I think that broader visibility is necessary for these bugs. 

The most important bug is:

this basically breaks usefulness of the tablet itself, and seriously
damages its basic functionality, which is to write down notes. Using
screen resolution, handwriting is almost unreadable and can in no way
compete with the proprietary alternative which is pre-installed on most
tablets nowadays. I tested the new release of linuxwacom and it works.
Some developer has to take care of including the fix in the release.

Another important problem is that last time I checked the installer does
not recognise the tablet, and manual interevention in xorg.conf is
required. This is a regression from gutsy. We waited for months on an
open bug in feisty to get tablet support out-of-the-box, and now it
seems broken for no particular reason.

Third, this might be classified as a wishlist but actually it's
disallowing me to use suspend-to-disk, which is necessary if you forget
your laptop on without power supply, and the existing patch seems to
work. As Tom illustrated in his latest comment, this is a rather
complicated issue that requires developer attention.

Since last time I have been told that I test releases too late, I
started very early, thus having to bear all the bugs and problems of
early releases, just to be sure to report any regression. If nobody
looks into issues, why should I do this anymore? I did that in time not
because I wanted *my* laptop to be fixed. I can fix that myself and even
release debs on my ppa. Point is that, if people asks me if it is wise
to install ubuntu on a tablet pc, I can't write down a list of all the
problems and how to solve those. Especially if patches for all problems
mentioned exist.


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