When I received my Hewlett-Packard laptop in 2013, it came with Windows 8.1 installed, and I had named it ‘Maverick’. One feature it had, and which I was afraid to lose, should I take Windows off it and replace that with Linux, was the very fine quality of its touch-pad, which on many laptops replaces a mouse. This one touch-pad is so subtle, that it forms an effective replacement for a mouse, while on most earlier laptops, I found that I needed to replace the internal pointing device, with a Bluetooth mouse. The way this works can easily be a software detail.
Well now that this laptop is running Linux, and is renamed ‘Klystron’, I find that again, the functioning of its touch-pad is smooth and satisfactory enough, not to require replacement with an external, Bluetooth mouse.
I think though that this fact is not so much due to Debian / Linux being able to support a “Synaptics Touch-Pad” in general, but rather due to how Kanotix / Spitfire has been set up out-of-the-box, to recognize a lot of different hardware options from the Live USB Key, by Kanotix Developers.
In a similar way, I have never been able to set up a graphics chip-set or card, just using straight Debian. I have always needed to rely on the special scripts and abilities that Kanotix comes bundled with, to install my graphics card. This does not really mean that I could never learn. I have just never had to do so manually.