Enabling Co-located Ad-hoc Collaboration on Shared Displays

Hutterer, P. and Thomas, B.H.

    All major desktop environments are designed around the assumption of having a single system cursor and a single keyboard. Co-located multi-user interaction on a standard desktop requires users to physically hand over the devices. Existing collaboration applications require complicated and limiting setups and no collaboration application or toolkit supports ad-hoc transition from a traditional single-user desktop to a multi-user collaboration environment without restarting applications. Our Multi-Pointer X server (MPX) allows easy transition between a single-user desktop and a multi-user collaboration environment. Pointer devices and keyboards can be added and removed at any time. Independent cursors and keyboard foci for these devices allow users to interact with and type into multiple applications simultaneously. MPX is compatible with any legacy X application and resolves ambiguity in legacy APIs using the novel 'ClientPointer' principle. MPX also provides new APIs for multi-user applications and thus enables fluid integration of single-user and multi-user environments.
Cite as: Hutterer, P. and Thomas, B.H. (2008). Enabling Co-located Ad-hoc Collaboration on Shared Displays. In Proc. Ninth Australasian User Interface Conference (AUIC 2008), Wollongong, NSW, Australia. CRPIT, 76. Plimmer, B. and Weber, G., Eds. ACS. 43-50.
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