For maximum Linux geek-ness there now exists the Multi Pointer X Server, known as MPX as compared to just plain old X (which, other than providing an alternate windowing system to the Mac OS-X, shares only the letter X and not much else with Apple who has not yet managed to patent the letter X so we should be safe for a while)
Here’s what’s cool – Multi Pointer X allows multiple pointers to be used simultaneously on an X server. In more more plain non-geek English, you can use up to 18 mice or keyboards at the same time in Linux. All of those mice and keyboards operate independently of each other so you actually get 18 different cursors on the screen, or have multiple keyboards assigned to multiple windows and type in two different applications at the same time.
Even cooler – coupled with a touch screen you can use both of your hands at the same time to work together on a single machine AKA the Microsft Surface. This is a Free Open Source Software version of the same thing. And the way the X guys work, this won’t be a binary blob, it will be full open source. The source is not in the main branch of X but is available by git.
Watch the video and see for yourself.
The MPX Surface
There are a few other videos out there on Youtube that show better the collaborative features and benefits of multipoint. I chose this one because it just plain ol’ sexier. You can tell it’s still in its infancy with laggy response. Hey – 1. It’s alpha software, 2. It’s free. It definitely doesn’t stack up to the Microsoft Surface (yet) which itself doesn’t even come close to the PerceptivePixel system of Jeff Han.
If you are interested in multipoint technology I definitely suggest you go to the Jeff Han link above, the results will simply AMAZE you. I know I sat in stunned silence for the full length of the video.
Of course you could “roll your own” multipoint touch surface if you are up for it.