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I recently got my hands on a tablet computer. I tend to at least dual boot my systems. While doing some research about tablet computing and *nix most of the information was from the 2004-2008 era light years ago in computing time.

What is the current state of tablet computing? I want something that works out of the box with minimal fuss - I'm way past the point that futzing with things is worth the time I spend on it.

Specifically I'm looking to have features comparable to windows 7 + office:

  • Virtual Keyboard - selectable handwriting / touch keyboard
  • OneNote replacement
  • Navigation via pen

What distribution out there has really good tablet support of the box in 2010?

(also bonus points for fun tablet apps in linux)

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The trickiest thing will probably be the hardware support. If you post some info on the tablet in question, it could help you get better answers. –  andrewsomething Oct 11 '10 at 20:23
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3 Answers 3

As far as I know there is no special tablet pc linux distribution available.

Ubuntu 10.10 is heading towards a better tablet/touch based input support:

They are including their multi touch framework uTouch in the current release. See the blog post from Canonical from 16th August, 2010: "Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick".

"Unity" is the new light weight desktop interface, which is also optimized for touch events as user inputs. See Mark Shuttleworths Blogposting "Unity, and Ubuntu Light".

You should simply try the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) Beta. It includes Linux kernel 2.6.35 with some patches for improved multitouch capability.

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I would suggest though to at least install Ubuntu 10.10 RC or even better, wait till Sunday (October 10) for final release. –  Gert Oct 7 '10 at 13:18
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There is WeTab which is a German Tablet PC (it has english as language as well) running MeeGo (reference to WeTab) which is a Linux based operating system.

It has a virtual keyboard, runs Open Office, and is navigable "by pen" or rather via its touchscreen.

I'm not sure if I can recommend it though, since it has quite a few bugs when a friend tested it yesterday (after he installed all software updates). Its touchscreen can get messed up for instance leaving you with no keyboard at all, or having you click somewhere else on the screen than you thought. But since they released the thing just this month perhaps you should expect some issues, and hope for a software update...

If you look beyond the bugs (if it works as expected that is) it's quite neat with Flash (read youtube) support, Wifi, and the fact that it runs Linux (it even has a shell available in it's WeTab store, for free). There are a few youtube videos around as well.

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Thanks patrick ... i acutally already have the tablet PC, looking for the OS portion only. –  Zypher Oct 10 '10 at 0:57
    
@Zypher: Yeah, just thought that the "MeeGo"-distribution is on a tablet PC as a default install, so it should be able to install on another one, as it should be open source. –  Patrick Oct 10 '10 at 2:02
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MeeGo became Mer, and can run Unity or KDE Plasma Active. In fact there was a Mer/PA tablet made recently initially called the Spark--name changed to the Vivaldi.

ICS aka Android 4.0 includes digitizer pen support, and two and a half tablets come with digitizers now ( HTC Flyer, Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet, and when releases Galaxy Note 10.1 ).

The generally unspoken possibilty is a unik based ( linux based ? ) OS called WebOS :)

A lot of people disparage it, but the criticism sounds very similar to the criticism when Netscape open sourced Navigator. I suspect that the success of WebOS depends on how HP handles OSing it.

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