Touchpad Palm Detection – the “confidence” feature

More info from the tech team:

The XPS 13 9343 utilizes the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification in I2C mode. The specific feature within the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification is the “Confidence” feature:


Confidence is used to indicate that the contact does not have any dimensions (height or width) > 25mm that implies that it is not an unintended contact. Windows Precision Touchpads should not reject any contacts in firmware processing, but should forward all contacts to the host and indicate the confidence. After a device has deemed a contact to be unintentional, it shall clear the confidence bit for that contact report and all subsequent reports. Until a contact has been deemed unintentional, the device shall set the confidence bit for that contact being reported.

With that feature correctly implemented, palm rejection in I2C mode should work.

Driver feature development is something we work with our vendors on ensuring they develop, though in this case they won’t since the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification is a feature that falls outside of vendor-specific needs. Synaptics (or any other touchpad vendor) is unlikely to implement this feature in the Linux i2c_hid driver because it’s not vendor-specific but instead a Microsoft specification.

Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification:


Pau for now…

42 Responses to Touchpad Palm Detection – the “confidence” feature

  1. nobodyatwp says:

    So, that means “broken” for Linux [or any other non M$ OS] and probably forever, unless an open source driver is created!

    • Hi @nobodyatwp

      It’s not broken, it’s just that unfortunately no one in the community has added that functionality to the driver yet. Just like anything else if it is important enough to enough people someone will tackle it.


      • Richard says:

        Since it was Dell choosing this particular hardware for a machine they said they promised they would support it would be good if they hold up their promise and contribute to the open source community in this way.

  2. Marc says:

    About time Dell released a full linux compatible device, with its own specs & own design. Stop trying to install linux on a Microsoft spec’ed machine. XPS Dev Edition is sold out in Europe, so there IS a market for it!

  3. W says:

    Offtopic, but will the new XPS 15 have a developer edition?

  4. David says:

    Are Developer Editions for the new XPS 13 and XPS 15 planned? Matte Full-HD and SSD please. Also, I’m particularly interested in a Linux-compatible notebook + dock solution (the new Thunderbolt dock looks interesting).

  5. sojusnik says:

    An ETA for the developer edition of the new XPS 13 for Europe, especially Austria, would be awesome!

  6. dundalk says:

    Will this new version of the XPS 13 have different hardware to the current release (in the US) or is it just the Ubuntu software that is changing? I would rather wait if the new hardware will be better/more Linux friendly. I ask because I actually work for (ahem) another Linux vendor and will wipe the Ubuntu install anyway.

  7. thibault says:

    Hi Barton,

    When are you going to implement the sputnik and cloud launcher tools please? How much improvement did you made on those? Will it be release on the next sputnik revision?


  8. thibault says:

    thanks a lot Barton for your answer can you then tell me more about the improvement made on the profile tool? when will it implemented?


  9. Mark W says:

    Hi Barton, do you now if the new XPS 13/15 Developer Edition will have an Intel Wifi card? I think it would be a great idea because it has more compatibility and is more linux-friendly.

  10. Jyrinx says:

    Hi – Would you happen to know what’s going on with the low-end Sputnik laptops like this one?

    The link to Dell still works, but it says “Call for pricing” in lieu of a Buy button. I called and the guy mentioned the XPS, Latitude, and Precision lines with Ubuntu, but nothing under $1000. Have they really already discontinued the Ubuntu Inspiron line since June?

  11. Sam says:

    Hi Barton, do you know if the RAM in the next DE of XPS13 will still be limited by 8 GB? That’s not a lot for the “developer” machine in 2016.

  12. tannerjfco says:

    If better driver support is not in the immediate future, can we at least have a reliable way for the touchpad to disable when typing? The size of the machine makes it impossible to not have at least some contact with the touchpad when typing, and I haven’t been able to remedy this on my own.

  13. Etienne says:

    I just got my new XPS 13 and installed Ubuntu on it. Works pretty fine except that I find power management a bit flaky (seems the cpu doesn’t always scale down after having scaled up) and palm detection not working.

    Now I read there’s a dev edition coming up. Should I return my XPS 13 or is it better to keep it because the hardware will not fundamentally be different?

  14. XPSgroupie says:

    Hello Barton, I wish you a happy new year! Can you provide us with some new informations regarding the future specs and maybe even a vague release date of the XPS 13 DE?

    • happy new year to you!

      We are nailing down the configs for the new XPS 13 DE that should be out very soon. The configs will be based on the Windows version. Stay tuned!

      • XPSgroupie says:

        Thanks a lot for your quick response. Just checked the dell website for XPS13 configs – this means no non-touch 16GB RAM version? Too bad, but nevermind I’ll probably take a 8 GB version.

      • Davide says:

        Barton, is there any reason why Dell enforces useless and counterproductive high-dpi, glossy, touch displays for the most powerful versions? I’m a data scientist and a software developer, I need a fast, powerful machine with a Full HD matte display, but all I can get is an underpowered machine with the right screen, or good specs with an useless, counterproductive, overpriced glossy screen.

      • Sounds exciting; any word on whether the TB15 dock is likely to be Linux friendly?

      • mambro says:

        I’ve been speaking with Dell chat and I’ve been said that the program has been continued and that the Developer Edition will not be available for this generation of xps13. Is that correct?

        If it is not, do you have any indications on when it will be available? Is it a matter of a month or it is more like 3-6 months? Also will there be any hardware difference with the windows version?

      • @mambro, the new version will debut closer to a month rather than 3-6 mos.

  15. Marc says:

    Any news regarding a 15″ DE? Was hoping to see the Precision 5510 as a possible candidate, which has the same form factor as the XPS 15.

  16. Daniel AJ says:

    Is there any progress on this? I’m still significantly limited in the use of my XPS13 9343. I can’t use it any place I don’t have space for an external mouse (airplane, train, my lap, etc.) because, to make it usable, I have to turn off the touchpad. With the touchpad active it can’t type. The cursor jumps around like crazy, random text gets marked and overwritten, etc. This is very bad.

    • radicsge says:

      you can use “syndaemon -i 1 -K -d” to disable touchpad while typing as a temporary solution. (Also by enabling palm detection with xinput at least disables the text selection, even if doesnt really detect palms)

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