How to Install the Multi-touch Plugin for Compiz

A few people have asked me how to install the compiz multi-touch plugin so here is a quick guide (for recent editions of ubuntu).  I’d like to thank all the developers who provided the original code and modifications for this plugin.  I just consolidated their code, they did all the hard work.

Please note that this plugin is no longer developed and is not compatible with current versions of compiz (i.e. any version bundled with Ubuntu 10.4+).

If you’re looking for someway of using TUIO to control recent versions of Ubuntu read the post on using TUIO with UTouch.

1. Install Compiz Settings manager

  • Open Ubuntu Software Centre
  • Search for ccsm
  • Install the Advanced Desktop Effects Settings

2. Install Dependencies

  • Enter the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-bcop compiz-dev libtool build-essential libxcomposite-dev libpng12-dev libsm-dev
libxrandr-dev libxdamage-dev libxinerama-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev autoconf intltool xsltproc liblo-dev libcairo2-dev

3. Install freewins plugin

  • Go to: http://gitweb.compiz.org/?p=users/warlock/freewins;a=summary and download a snapshot (note that the instructions below only explain how to install the C based snapshots and not the later C++ snapshots. If anyone could modify these instructions with how to use the latest freewins snapshots I would greatly appreciate it.)
  • Extract the contents of the tar.gz file then open a terminal
  • In the terminal navigate to the directory of the extracted contents of the tar.gz file and install the plugin with the following commands (where ## = the directory where you extracted the contents of the tar.gz file to):

cd ##/freewins
sudo make
sudo make install

4. Install the multi-touch plugin

  • Go to: http://code.google.com/p/touchpy/downloads/list and download multitouch.tar.gz
  • Extract the contents of the tar.gz file then open a terminal
  • In the terminal navigate to the directory of the extracted contents of the tar.gz file and install the plugin with the following commands (where ## = the directory where you extracted the contents of the tar.gz file to):

cd ##/multitouch
sudo make
sudo make install

5. Initiate Plugin

  • You may need to restart ubuntu at this point for the plugin to work.
  • Go to the Compiz Settings manager (under preferences)
  • Make sure the wobbly windows and freewins plugins are activated (the box next to them should be ticked)
  • Activate the multi-touch plugin by ticking the box next to it.
  • Clicking on the multitouch plugin icon will allow you to see and change the shortcuts which turn the plugin and its features on and off as well as set the ports for listening to the TUIO inputs.

6. Done.

Beware: both freewins and the multi-touch plugin are experimental and can be very unstable.


Uninstalling the plugin:

  • Enter the following into a terminal (where ## = the directory where you extracted the contents of the multitouch tar.gz file to):

cd ##/multitouch
sudo make uninstall
sudo make clean

As I mentioned before this plugin is no longer developed, as a result it is very unstable and it will not work in current version of compiz.  I would recommend staying away from it unless you know what you’re doing.

It would be useful if someone who knows the new compiz C++ API brings the plugin up to date (I can’t follow the compiz wiki and don’t have the time to decipher it).  However it seems likely that the new touch developments for ubuntu and wayland may make any future work on this plugin pointless.

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