Credit: Lukmanazis / Shutterstock
Most laptops rely on Intel processors and run Windows 10. But there's some good news for the relatively few people who use Linux on Ryzen-powered laptops: the Linux 5.2 kernel will reportedly improve the performance of touchscreens and trackpads in devices matching that particular configuration.
The next major kernel update to Linux will feature proper AMD PCIe MP2 I2C controller support via the i2c-amd-mp2 driver that's ready to be merged into the Linux 5.2 release. Phoronix said AMD released some of the code on which this driver is based in 2018, which required "a rewrite and going through several rounds of review to get it into shape for merging to mainline." Now the code has run that gauntlet and should be ready for release.
That should be welcome news for anyone running Linux on the "Dell Latitude 5495, Lenovo Yoga 530, Lenovo Ideapad 530s, Acer Nitro 5, Huawei Matebook D, and many others sporting this new controller." Nobody wants to deal with an unreliable trackpad, and if a touchscreen suffers from too many problems, its owner might as well have saved a bit of money by purchasing a plain-ol' notebook that doesn't feature a poke-able display.
It's also important for AMD to make sure its hardware supports numerous operating systems rather than being limited to Windows 10. The company's become increasingly popular in the notebook market--at least partly because of Intel's ongoing processor shortage--and providing a stable experience on Linux could help that growth continue. (Probably not a lot, but everything counts when establishing a foothold in a previously non-competitive market.)
Linux 5.1 is expected to debut soon--Phoronix said it would likely be released on May 5 unless there are some unexpected delays. Once that kernel has been released, Linux 5.2 will start making its way through the process, which usually takes a few months. But there's no guaranteed release schedule; new kernels are released when they're ready. So, there's no telling exactly when this issue with touch input on Ryzen devices will finally be resolved.