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Thread: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Ubuntu Studio 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

    After many, many hours trying to follow the linuxwacom How-to, I finally got my Wacom Volito graphics tablet to work in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft). My installation was brand-new, not an upgrade, and it was on a new hard-drive with absolutely nothing else on it. This should have meant it was an optimum environment.

    The other guides that I followed either didn't work for me or didn't make any sense as a 'newbie' to both Linux and Ubuntu. When you first power up Ubuntu, the first thing you're going to want to do is make sure your hardware works. I don't have a mouse, so I had to get my pen to work.

    This, then, is a guide for people who are either new and unused to Ubuntu/Linux, or for people who could not get their tablet to work by following any of the other guides. This is by no means a replacement for those other guides; it is intended as a helpful addition. Many of the points below may be helpful with other versions and flavours of Ubuntu and Linux, and possibly with installing other tablets.

    Sometimes, it may look like I really hate linuxwacom or the How-to on the site. I don't. Once I understood it, I found it was actually helpful, informative, thorough and ultimately essential. The program itself is such a brilliantly useful thing that I could kiss the creator. What I express below are my frustrations at trying to understand what was going on and how to make it work. I think parts of the How-to are unnecessarily confusing, but on the whole it works very well. After all, I got it to work by following it. However, I have included my frustrations so that anyone in the same position can see that they are not alone and that it isn't 'them'.

    1. First of all, we will assume you have tried the advice at This was the first thing I tried, and it appears to be an easy solution for many people. It did nothing for me. I tried various permutations, and installed, as suggested, wacom-tools, xserver-xorg-input-wacom and also, after my initial failure to make this work, wacom-kernel-source. I installed through Synaptic and, when that didn't work, again through the terminal. Neither got the tablet working.

    However, I discovered later on that editing the xorg.conf file can lead to some minor complications; editing the file with Gedit, I found another copy of xorg.conf was left in the /etc/X11 folder, but it was titled 'xorg.conf~'. That little '~' makes all the difference! Sometimes, the cursor was jumpy after restarting the computer, but deleting this extra xorg file stopped the jumpiness. I found that Ctrl+Alt+Backspace was not sufficient in this instance; I had to completely reboot. Once you are finished editing the xorg.conf file, check that /etc/X11 folder and make sure there is only the one in there!

    *IMPORTANT NOTE HERE*: DO NOTUNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES comment out the 'wacom' lines in your xorg.conf as instructed on the linuxwacom How-to. This completely killed my X-server, and, being a 'newbie', I was left having to work out how to sort things out using on ly the terminal (which I had little experience with). Leave the damn 'wacom' lines alone! It didn't cause me any problems leaving them in; but commenting them out meant I had to re-load Windows on my separate hard-drive in order to find out the solution on the internet. That was fun. Then I had to use 'nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf' to open up a terminal-based text editor to sort the xorg file out (a handy tip to remember - jot it down). Leave the xorg.conf alone now until you're instructed to alter it later on.

    2. Changing the lines in the xorg.conf file from 'wacom' to 'eventX' did nothing for me. (Even when I definitely had the correct event number).

    I tried linuxwacom. Partly because I was unfamiliar with Linux and Ubuntu, I simply installed the linuxwacom package as instructed on the site's How-to, and was dismayed to find, after many, many hours, that it simply didn't work. There are several possible reasons for this. I found that going in to Synaptic Package Manager and searching for 'wacom' brought up all the other Wacom packages I had installed. I removed them all completely. It also removes one of the xserver-xorg packages, but this did not matter; it was not essential. I suggest you do this first if you are having trouble getting linuxwacom to work.

    Once wacom-tools, wacom-kernel-source and xserver-xorg-input-wacom are removed (having tried your best to make things work with step 1 above), then download linuxwacom, as instructed on the site.

    Do not, at this stage, go any further than '2.2 Downloading the code'. This was where I went into Newbie Hell.

    3. It was not obvious to me, being new to Linux, that I had to install other packages, how to do it, or where to get them from, and I assumed that linuxwacom would simply 'work'. Certainly, the impression given on the site is generally one that 'this is all you need'. It is not.

    I have since found that it was not necessary, but I found some advice (which I can't find now) that suggested that a solution to one of the many problems I encountered trying to use linuxwacom was to download and compile the latest kernel. I would like to repeat here that it is not necessary to download and compile a new kernel in order to get linuxwacom to work - HOWEVER, I found it extremely helpful as a Linux 'newbie' to do this anyway. Downloading and compiling a new kernel was much easier than trying to get linuxwacom to work.

    Compiling a new kernel gets you in touch with your system, gives you a feeling of achievement, and gets things bang up to date. But you don't need to do it. It is, of course, one of the things I did, and I am sitting here with my Wacom Volito working better than it did on Windows. So stay with me.

    I found a great guide for compiling a new kernel at, but there are plenty of guides around.

    4. Whether or not you compiled a new kernel, there are other things you will need. The linuxwacom site tells you, on '2.3 Configuring the Package', under the heading 'Library Dependencies - ncurses and XLib', that it needs 'ncurses' and 'XLib' in order to run (it doesn't quite tell you that in plain English, but you can work it out).

    When I first tried to follow the instructions, I did not really understand that I had to install anything else as well. I assumed, from lines like "Most distributions install the ncurses libraries by default, but the header files are often located in a separate package. You will need both. On Redhat 8.0, they can be found in the ncurses-devel RPM" that Ubuntu would already have everything I need.

    Of course, one of the nice things about Ubuntu is that it doesn't fill your system up with junk and useless files - but no-one tells you, when you first start everything up, that there will be other programs and files you will need to install to get other programs to work. Coming from Windows, it's hard to get your head around this concept straight away.

    I found it easiest (for a Linux 'newbie') to use Synaptic Package Manager for this. Open it up and search 'ncurses' and then 'xlib'. I found the easiest thing to do was to download everything that looked like it might possibly do something useful in helping to install linuxwacom, and then get rid of it afterwards. Depending on your own set-up, you may need more or less packages than I did.

    I also installed the 'gcc compiler', and, because it is mentioned in the output of linuxwacom when running, the 'g77 fortran' compiler. You probably have a better idea than I do what any of that stuff is for. I suggest that if, like me, you don't know what you're doing or what any of this stuff is, download everything that looks right. If you really know what you're doing, you probably don't need to read this particular guide anyway.

    None of this will make any sense until you start up linuxwacom. We're not 'going there' just yet. I needed more before I could start... The output, when I ran the program, suggested I might need any of the following, all of which I searched for and installed through Synaptic (always the latest version, if there was a choice): mawk, gawk, g++, libtool, tcl, tk and xserver-xorg-input-evdev. Most of these were not with my initial installation of Ubuntu.

    I have attached a list of everything installed on my computer (titled 'Synaptic Installations') for anyone who is just tearing their hair out and wants try installing all the same stuff that I have. I don't recommend this, as half of what I have is doubtless unnecessary, but it's there as a last resort.

    5.On the linuxwacom How-to, there is this little gem residing under '2.3 Configuring the package header': "For kernel 2.6, you need to configure the kernel modules (wacom and hid) under your kernel source directory before configuring linuxwacom." No, you don't. It took me hours to find out what this even meant. Normally, configuring kernel modules under your source directory would involve creating or using a Makefile, and running make with the relevant folder to build the modules. I did not do this. I simply ran the program. It seems to me that the necessary drivers/modules are loaded with the './configure' and 'make' commands anyway. There is nothing special to do here, but it had me trying all sort of things to 'configure kernel modules under my kernel source directory'.

    6. Now you can unpack and install linuxwacom. I finally unpacked mine under /usr/src, but it doesn't appear to matter too much where it is. It seems as good a place as any, because it's near the kernel, and easier to remember.

    Follow the instructions at linuxwacom. They look complicated, but they're actually not as difficult as they look. They're there for every kind of Linux system, and so are not Ubuntu-specific. If you've got the latest kernel (at least later than 2.6, which you will have if you have Ubuntu Edgy (6.10)), then half of the instructions don't apply anyway. The best thing to do is make a nice hot cup of tea, and allow yourself several hours at least. You will make a mistake, there will be problems, but you want that cool little Wacom tablet to work, don't you?

    Really, relax, it just isn't as bad as it looks on the instructions. Once you've unpacked linuxwacom as per '2.2 Downloading the code', you can either carry on reading (but not much will make any sense), or jump on down the instructions to 3.1 Testing tablet detection. Assuming you've remembered to plug your tablet into your USB port (or serial port), the system should detect your tablet OK. No matter how badly I messed things up or misconfigured them, this step always worked for me. It means that at least something knows your tablet is there and what it is supposed to do.

    Forget all the other stuff and go down to 3.4 Building wacom.c. All you're really doing here is typing ./configure --enable wacom into a terminal. I had to use the '--with-kernel=/usr/src/linux-' option, as the program did not find the correct location of my kernel. If in doubt about your kernel's location, guess. You can always keep re-compiling with other alternatives. At first I thought the kernel was under the /lib folder, and another piece of advice told me to compile just under the kernel headers (whatever they are). /usr/src should be, and looks right - but everyone's a little different.

    A bunch of weird, incomprehenisble gobledegook will come spilling out after running './configure'. Use shift+PageUp to scroll up the output when it's finished. Check for error messages. I had loads the first few times, for a variety of reasons. If it's looking for something it can't find, I suggest making a note of whatever weird-sounding name it mentions ('gcc compiler' or whatever) and go back to Synaptic and find it or something relating to it. Install whatever looks good and try again. This hideously amateur trial-and-error method worked for me in the end. Try to be logical, and if that doesn't work, try pot luck. And then keep trying. It will work eventually.

    If you end up without any error messages, then things are going OK. Type 'make' into your terminal as it tells you to in the How-to. If it comes out without errors, you're nearly there (sort of).

    7. You may, at some point, get an message when you run 'make' that reads: " ***Note: Drivers not enabled as modules in your kernel config but requested through configure are NOT built." This made as little sense to me as it does to you. Especially if you spent all that time compiling a kernel. You look increduously at the screen. "Now what?"

    Don't worry about it. It's a load of rubbish. It still spat this sentence at me on my successful set-up. When I first saw it, I thought it meant "Because you haven't enabled drivers as modules in your kernel config, although they have been requested, I will not be building them." I don't think it means this. I think it means: "Any drivers that are not enabled as modules in your kernel config that are requested through the configure command will not be built." It's just a case of bad (confusing) English. So, the program will only build driver modules that have been enabled. Who knows what that means? Who cares? As long as you have followed the steps above and at the linuxwacom site closely, you can ignore this message. After all, it is a ***Note***, not a WARNING.

    8. I got down to '3.5 Testing if wacom(k).o will load' with no problems. My kernel did not "bomb" (whatever that means). This section (3.5) says that, after running the command 'tail /var/log/messages' the resulting message should look something like:

    0:34:41 ayukawa kernel: wacom.c: $1.43-0.7.6-2 Vojtech Pavlik <>
    Nov 20 20:34:41 ayukawa kernel: wacom.c: USB Wacom Graphire and Wacom Intuos tablet driver (MODIFIED-DEBUG)
    It goes on to say: "The correct version should also have the -0.7.6-2 portion as well. Also, future versions of the driver will say "LINUXWACOM-DEBUG" or similar rather than "MODIFIED-DEBUG" as shown above. This is to help differentiate between the stock kernel driver and those available from the Linux Wacom Project."

    The message I got did not have the -0.7.6-2 portion, nor did it say "LINUXWACOM-DEBUG" or 'similar'. All it said was 1.46 instead of 1.43. I still don't know if I got the correct driver or somehow 'got lucky' and accidentally installed one that happened to make everything work. I think, though, that this feature has not been added to the program; so don't worry if it doesn't have the -0.7.6-2 portion or any of the other jazz.

    9. If you're still here, then good. Things are going well still. We now move on to '3.6 Installing wacom(k).o'. The most important advice in this section, as far as I was concerned, was: "Installing the driver requires knowing where it belongs. A little research will help here."

    I found the little wacom.ko devil (I mean driver) in no less than four places on my system. Whether this was simply because I have two kernels, or because I tried the wacom-tools route first, or because I tried linuxwacom four times before - who knows? But by this point, I was feeling a little reckless, so I replaced every driver I could find. Of course, I kept a backup, just as it advised.

    The kernel I compiled seemed to be in two parts - one labelled '', the other labelled ''. The latter was due to the advice given on the site explaining how to compile a new kernel. I also had the old kernel. I've got stuff all over the place, but it doesn't matter as long as my Wacom works. I cannot advise you to replace all of your wacom.ko drivers, but I also cannot see what harm it would do. I found the driver turn up under /lib/modules and under /usr/src/linux- and in the unbelievably complicated location of: /usr/src/linux-
    I have no idea how all those folders got created or what the driver's doing in there. Just wanted to let you know that it might all look complicated and make no sense, but for me, replacing all the wacom.ko drivers was one of the things that helped to make my tablet work.

    10. If 'depmod -e' went OK, then you're ready for the next problem. I got really stuck on '3.7 Loading the Wacom Driver'. I do not have any modules called 'input' or 'mousedev'. Because they are highlighted in blue, I assumed they were only used in older 2.4 kernels. But I also didn't have any modules called 'usb-uhci' or 'usb-ohci', and no sensible-looking variations, either. This was one of the biggest obstacles to getting the tablet to work.

    Eventually, I found a module (or something) called 'uhci-hcd'. It looked close enough. I ran the command 'modprobe uhci-hcd'. It worked. To find this out, by Googling for answers, thinking and scouring forums, took me hours. The rest of the commands ran through fine (I just missed out 'mousedev' and 'input', and I guess I was right in that they are only for older kernels).

    11. Forget all about building hid.core or usbhid or anything; none of that is necessary if you're on a 2.6 kernel, even though it suggests in the title - '3.9 Building (usb)hid.ko (for kernel 2.6)' - that it would be necessary (and then goes on to say it isn't necessary and then, at the time of writing this, shows a php error, missing out all the instructions.

    Running the command 'grep -i 56a /var/log/messages | tail -10' under '3.10 - Unknown Tablet?' did not show me the device identifier, or anything of any use to me. In the end, it didn't matter. Don't worry about it.

    Everything else should be OK. Every time I viewed the output of 'tail /var/log/messages' I did not get what the site suggested. (It suggests you will see 'v1.43-0.7.6-2 Vojtech Pavlik' in the output, but I only ever got 'v1.46'. Again, don't worry about it.

    wacdump wouldn't work by typing './wacdump', but just 'wacdump' (without the './') worked fine.

    12. The next problem for me '5.1 - Adding the InputDevices'. This is where, as I mentioned about six years ago at the top of this How-to, the xorg.conf file might end up getting replicated. Check your /etc/X11 folder!

    In the xorg.conf file, under the 'stylus' section, add this line:
    Option 	"Stylus2" 	"3".
    This is what my xorg.conf file looks like:

    Section "InputDevice"
    	Identifier	"Configured Mouse"
    	Driver		"mouse"
    	Option		"CorePointer"
    	Option		"Device"		"/dev/input/mouse0"
    	Option		"Protocol"		"ExplorerPS/2"
    	Option		"ZAxisMapping"		"4 5"
    	Option		"Emulate3Buttons"	"true"
    Section "InputDevice"
      Driver        "wacom"
      Identifier    "stylus"
      Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/event2"   
    						      # Change to 
                                                          # /dev/input/event
                                                          # for USB
      Option 	"Mode" 		"Absolute"
      Option 	"Stylus2" 	"3"
      Option	"USB"		"on"
      Option        "Type"          "stylus"
      Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"               # Tablet PC ONLY
    Section "InputDevice"
      Driver        "wacom"
      Identifier    "eraser"
      Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/event2"  
    						      # Change to 
                                                          # /dev/input/event
                                                          # for USB
      Option	"USB"		"on"
      Option        "Type"          "eraser"
      Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"               # Tablet PC ONLY
    Section "InputDevice"
      Driver        "wacom"
      Identifier    "cursor"
      Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/event2"  
    						      # Change to 
                                                          # /dev/input/event
                                                          # for USB
      Option 	"Mode" 		"Absolute"
      Option	"USB"		"on"
      Option        "Type"          "cursor"
      Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"               # Tablet PC ONLY
    What does the magic line
    Option 	"Stylus2" 	"3".
    do? You will love me for this. You will want to kiss me. I almost want to kiss myself. I worked it out all on my own after searching for it for hours with no success.
    It sets the button on your pen to right-click.

    I could not find anything anywhere that would tell me how to do this. There is a vague kind of nod to it hidden in the depths of the linuxwacom pages, but it doesn't mention this specifically. Even if you haven't got linuxwacom installed, you can still use this in your xorg.conf file. There is some other advice out there which suggests you can use "Button2" instead of 'my' "Stylus2" - but that did nothing for me.

    Of course, once things are up and running, you can also achieve this through wacomcpl - but I had some problems with that too.

    14. In the first four attempts to make this work, everything looked OK; 'make' and everything else had worked with no errors - but I couldn't get xsetwacom or wacomcpl to find my pen - even though my Volito was working like a bad mouse and the rest of Ubuntu could relate to it. I think the crucial steps were the loading of the wacom.ko driver(s) in the right place(s) and using 'uhci-hcd' instead of 'usb-uhci/ohci'. Hopefully, if you've followed everything above, you should now also be able to get wacomcpl and xsetwacom up and running. I found wacomcpl much easier and more immediate.

    Now I have everything up and running, my tablet works better than it did under Windows, as I now have more control over it - plus, I have a better idea of how it works.

    Everything else in the linuxwacom How-to worked fine for me - I hope it does for you too. The only other thing I found was that it didn't work by just restarting X - in fact, that has never worked when advised to do so in relation to the Wacom tablet. I have found it necessary to completely re-boot each time, especially in the case of getting rid of the extra xorg.conf file.

    As for setting up in Gimp and Inkscape, the guide at worked fine for me once everything was working.

    I would say that if xsetwacom or wacomcpl are not working but everything else is OK except for one or two annoying things, then either go back to the start or make sure that you've taken out the wacom-tools and related packages and that you've uncovered (and replaced) all the drivers on your system.

    Lastly, a massive thank-you to everyone at linuxwacom for doing such a great job, and my apologies if I sounded bitchy above; I really appreciate all the hard work that's gone in to this project, and was impressed enough by the end result to write this guide out for other idiots like me (plus those who are just lost and confused). And a big thankyou to whoever's contributed to the Wacom Wiki guides for Ubuntu (especially the Gimp and Inkscape stuff that was so easy to follow).

    If you're still stuck or have some other advice or whatever, then reply to this post or feel free to send me a message. Good luck!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by euchrid; November 21st, 2006 at 04:47 PM. Reason: missed out one important bit of advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    I today tried to plug my wacom into my linux, and whoops what is this.. it didn't work.. hmm but it did work in dapper?

    so with few seconds of googling I ended up in here and well it seemed like you dond't really know what's the solution to fix this, because you have such much text... (it did look so long that I was too lazy to even read it )

    it seems that edgy has somekind of bug with wacom, but people are only advising to get new module for wacom if you have volito2, I have the version 1, but it didn't matter, I tried it anyway and it did work!

    so what I think you need to do is to do this:

    wget -c && sudo modprobe -r wacom && sudo mv /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko_backup && 
    sudo cp wacom.ko /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/ && sudo modprobe wacom
    and then maybe restart x? (i didn't have to)

    for people with more time

    get the new wacom driver for your kernel
    wget -c
    then we unload the old driver with:
    sudo modprobe -r wacom
    I wanted to do backup of it, in case something goes wrong and i want it back, so i did:
    sudo mv /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko_backup
    then i copyed the new driver to right path with:
    sudo cp wacom.ko /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/
    load the new driver with:
    sudo modprobe wacom
    in this part it did work with me withouth rebooting x, but you might have to? also if you already don't have wacom tools, you should get them with
    sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-wacom wacom-tools
    but i beleve those are installed by default in edgy

    well good luck guys, I hope this saves your time, as it did for me

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Ubuntu Studio 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    I can concur with the above; for Edgy Eft, you SHOULD NOT need my lengthy instructions (which I wrote before the current update problems and new advice came to light) - you should only need to replace the module as advised by anacron above. If only I'd known sooner... Anyway, I will leave this page here in case future updates cause yet more problems!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    Just posting thanks for this How To and a note to anyone else who found that the latest upgrade broke their wacom installation. I don't know why or how this happened, but after the last update with Synaptic that brought down a new kernal, my Wacom Volito2 tablet was dead. None of the usual How To's fixed it, but the non-lazy approach above got it working again, without even having to restart X.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    euchrid. I wished you would have worked with me to improve my longstanding HOW-TO.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    Upgraded from Daper to Edgy and trying to make my Volito 2 working.
    I tried "slow" version upgrade and got the following error:

    cannot stat `/lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko': No such file or directory

    I found out that folder 2.6.17-10-generic is actually 2.6.17-10-386 and am now getting error
    wacom.ko permission denied.

    I tried changing permissions: chmod a=rwx wacom.ko but no avail.

    Any ideas?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    New Mexico, US

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    Bravo Euchrid, for not only having the patience and perseverance to accomplish your goal despite numerous confusing and frustrating obstacles, but for writing about it to help others who wish to follow the same path, and with a sense of good humor.

    I think I can add a few comments as a normal Linux user (not a programmer) that may help to demystify some of the terminology and concepts that new users can find very difficult and frustrating, based on my 10 years of Linux use so far.

    Regarding Wacom tablets, there are three bits of software that pertain:
    1. the kernel module (wacom.ko on 2.6 kernels)
    2. the Xorg driver ( (for newer Xorg server) or wacom_drv.o (for older Xorg server))
    3. the udev rules to create the 'device node' for the system to read data from (this is what the 'wacom-tools' package installs)

    The kernel module is a program that the Linux kernel "attaches" to itself any time it senses a need for it, because it discovers new hardware for example and needs some way to communicate with that hardware and make it usable and useful for the various higher-level programs that a user typically runs. It is the kernel's primary responsibility to "understand" the hardware attached to the computer and to be able to shuffle data to and from that hardware. If that "understanding" for any particular hardware is not built into the kernel, it needs to be available as a module that can be dynamically loaded into (attached to) the kernel at any time.

    There are many, many kernel modules available for all kinds of hardware, and because there are so many different hardware devices on the market, and because any typical Linux user will only have a small number of those inside or attached to his or her computer, the software to be able to use those hardware devices is usually provided as a module instead of being included within the Linux kernel itself. If all that functionality were to be included within the kernel, it would be staggeringly huge and perhaps cumbersome, so the idea of having little bits of kernel code that would be incorporated into the running kernel as it ran and only when the kernel needed it, was a very good idea and resulted in the creation of kernel modules.

    The second thing in the list above is the Xorg driver. Xorg (or the older XFree86) is what supports the GUI (graphical user environment) for Linux, whether that GUI is Gnome, KDE, Fluxbox or whatever. Xorg uses the Wacom tablet driver to interpret the raw data provided by the Wacom kernel module, so that the movement of the stylus and pressure on the tablet and pushing of buttons on the stylus and tablet will actually do something within Gnome or KDE and the programs a user runs, such as the Gimp or Inkscape.

    Remember, the Linux kernel is only responsible for recognizing hardware and shuffling data to and from hardware. The kernel typically simply makes the data from the hardware available for other programs to read. The kernel doesn't do much else (well, it does a lot, but that's a long story that I know very little of, and I'm trying to keep my comments simple and easy for new Linux users to understand).

    Now, an important concept in Linux (and in FreeBSD and in all computer operating systems descended from or influenced by the original Unix) is this: the way that data goes from anywhere or to anywhere, within a Linux system, is for the Linux kernel to "read" from or "write" to a file, a simple data file. This is an abstraction agreed to from the very beginning, that all hardware should be made to look and act like a simple file within an operating system. The data is directed to or received from a certain file (explained in the next sentence), and it is the kernel's job to know which physical device to send the data to or read it from. The way the kernel does this is to associate each piece of hardware, such as a hard disk, with one of the special "files" in the /dev directory within Linux.

    When a program such as OpenOffice saves a document to a hard disk, it is actually directing the data to a "file" (a device file in the /dev directory), and the kernel knows, by association, exactly which specific hard disk to send that data to. It's actually more complicated, because a hard disk, although treated like a file in many respects, has been formatted with a filesystem (like ext3) to keep track of many user-created files within the one large general file that the hard disk is viewed as, from one point of view, by the kernel.

    Bearing the above in mind, the third thing on the list above is the wacom-tools package, which attempts to automatically create the device file as explained above, for the Xorg Wacom driver to read data from. Wacom-tools attempts to do this by examining what the kernel is doing, finding what actual device has been created to communicate with the Wacom tablet (such as /dev/input/event2), and then dynamically create a "symbolic link" to that device (another name for the same device) called /dev/input/wacom. In that way, regardless of what the real device is, if one refers to the device (in the xorg.conf file, for example) as /dev/input/wacom, then the Xorg Wacom driver will be able to read data from the real device file, because /dev/input/wacom will always (or should always) point straight to the real device file (/dev/input/event2 or whatever). Remember, the link is just another name (that stays constant and consistent) for the actual device file that the Wacom is being represented by (which can vary, but which the user can find out, of course).

    OK--that was a lot of explanation! I hope it cleared up to some extent a few basic Linux concepts that confuse new users.

    The other thing I noticed that Euchrid had some difficulty with is the process of compiling source code. the LinuxWacom project produces source code, which is the program(s) as written by humans in a programming language such as C++. That code needs to be compiled by the Linux user into a binary code that his kernel can understand and execute. This process in Linux has become fairly standardized and streamlined to a degree, using the configure script and the GNU "make" utilities that typically come with the unpacked source code. However, when programs are compiled, they often must look at the running system and other programs that are installed on the running Linux system in order to make good decisions about how to be compiled on that specific computer. This means that the Linux user must usually have certain other source code installed on their computer in order for the compilation of the code they wish to install to be successful.

    The linuxwacom project's code wants to create both the kernel module (item number 1 in my list above) and the Xorg driver (item 3 in the list). But it can only compile the kernel module if it can examine the source code of the kernel that the user is running at the time. The trouble is, most Linux users just have an already-compiled kernel running; they did not download the kernel source code and configure and compile and install it themselves.

    So, for the sake of the linuxwacom project's source code, a user must download the source code for the kernel he or she is using at the time, or install it using apt-get or (more easily) synaptic. The kernel source code is (by convention) deposited into the directory /usr/src/. But it is usually a bzipped tar file (a compressed archive) which needs to be manually unzipped by the user (decompressed with the program bunzip2), then extracted from the resulting decompressed tar archive using the tar command.

    This whole process is somewhat confusing for new Linux users. As Euchrid mentioned, it was not necessary to compile a new kernel. It was only necessary to have the source code for his running kernel and the kernel headers, unpacked into /usr/src for the linuxwacom configure script to be able to find and examine.

    I hope these few comments will be helpful to others. And once again Euchrid, your "voyage of discovery" regarding this issue, with all of the reading, research and discriminating thought it required, is very impressive and admirable.

    By the way, if you had had the kernel and kernel-headers source code for the kernel that your system is using already installed and unpacked into /usr/src, the wacom-kernel-source package, installable via synaptic or apt-get, would have been able to install itself correctly in the first place, and I believe that the latest version of the wacom-kernel-source package available from the Ubuntu repositories is the same, up-to-date version that you downloaded from the linuxwacom project and installed manually.

    The thing to remember, if one wishes to take the easy way and install the three Wacom-tablet related packages (wacom-kernel-source, wacom-tools and xserver-xorg-input-wacom) using synaptic, is to first use synaptic to install the kernel source code (or perhaps just the kernel headers source code) for the kernel version one is actually using (type the command: uname -a in a terminal window to find out what that version is), and make sure that source code is unpacked (using bunzip2) and extracted from its archive (using tar) in an appropriate location (usually /usr/src).
    Last edited by xscd; February 10th, 2007 at 04:05 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    I've followed all the steps from linuxwacom's website and built a working wacom.ko
    The tablet is working, but not with tablet functionality. It is as if I'm using a regular mouse.
    I also replace with linuxwacom's prebuilt version.

    Now, when I open gimp and go into the preferences, I don't have any extended device.
    xsetpointer -l also doesn't show stylus, eraser and cursor as it should following the howto on their website.

    $ xsetpointer -l
    "pointer"       [XPointer]
    "keyboard"      [XKeyboard]
    /var/log/message contains this output:
    Jan 29 21:03:13 naruto kernel: [17180697.504000] usbcore: deregistering driver wacom
    Jan 29 21:03:27 naruto kernel: [17180712.432000] input: Wacom Volito as /class/input/input5
    Jan 29 21:03:28 naruto kernel: [17180712.496000] usbcore: registered new driver wacom
    Jan 29 21:03:28 naruto kernel: [17180712.496000] /home/jcapraro/Source/linuxwacom-0.7.6-4/src/2.6.16/wacom_sys.c: v1.46:USB Wacom Graphire and Wacom Intuos tablet driver
    That last line is worrying me a little. Why does it make a reference to that .c file? (that directory has been removed after installation)

    My xorg.conf looks like this. It's not very different from other people's isn't it?
    And the Xorg log...
    (II) LoadModule: "wacom"
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/
    (II) Module wacom: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
            compiled for, module version = 1.0.0
            Module class: X.Org XInput Driver
            ABI class: X.Org XInput driver, version 0.5
    (II) Wacom driver level: 47-0.7.6-4 $
    (**) stylus: always reports core events
    (**) stylus device is /dev/input/event3
    (**) stylus is in absolute mode
    (**) WACOM: suppress value is 2
    (**) Option "USB" "on"
    (**) stylus: reading USB link
    (**) WACOM: PressCurve 0,5,95,100
    (**) Option "BaudRate" "9600"
    (**) Option "SendCoreEvents"
    (**) eraser: always reports core events
    (**) eraser device is /dev/input/event3
    (**) eraser is in absolute mode
    (**) WACOM: suppress value is 2
    (**) Option "USB" "on"
    (**) eraser: reading USB link
    (**) WACOM: PressCurve 0,5,95,100
    (**) Option "BaudRate" "9600"
    (**) Option "SendCoreEvents"
    (**) cursor: always reports core events
    (**) cursor device is /dev/input/event3
    (**) cursor is in absolute mode
    (**) WACOM: suppress value is 2
    (**) Option "USB" "on"
    (**) cursor: reading USB link
    (**) Option "BaudRate" "9600"
    (II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "cursor" (type: Wacom Cursor)
    (II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "eraser" (type: Wacom Eraser)
    (II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "stylus" (type: Wacom Stylus)
    (II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "Synaptics Touchpad" (type: MOUSE)
    (II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "Configured Mouse" (type: MOUSE)
    (II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device "Generic Keyboard" (type: KEYBOARD)
        xkb_keycodes             { include "xfree86+aliases(azerty)" };
        xkb_types                { include "complete" };
        xkb_compatibility        { include "complete" };
        xkb_symbols              { include "pc(pc105)+be+level3(ralt_switch)" };
        xkb_geometry             { include "pc(pc105)" };
    Synaptics DeviceInit called
    SynapticsCtrl called.
    (**) Option "Device" "/dev/input/event3"
    stylus Wacom X driver grabbed event device
    (==) Wacom using pressure threshold of 30 for button 1
    (==) Wacom USB Volito tablet speed=9600 maxX=5104 maxY=3712 maxZ=511 resX=50 res
    Y=37 suppress=2 tilt=enabled
    (==) Wacom device "stylus" top X=0 top Y=0 bottom X=5104 bottom Y=3712
    (==) Wacom device "eraser" top X=0 top Y=0 bottom X=5104 bottom Y=3712
    (==) Wacom device "cursor" top X=0 top Y=0 bottom X=5104 bottom Y=3712
    (II) Configured Mouse: ps2EnableDataReporting: succeeded
    Synaptics DeviceOn called
    (--) Synaptics Touchpad auto-dev sets device to /dev/input/event1
    (**) Option "Device" "/dev/input/event1"
    (--) Synaptics Touchpad touchpad found
    Any idea what I might be doing wrong? I've gotta say that Ubuntu is harder for me than Gentoo Linux for this kind of stuff ^^'

  9. #9

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    I've followed the short list to configure my wacom. My system seems to find the tablet, when using dmesg | grep wacom, it tells the drivers are loaded. In the hardware menu of Ubuntu Edgy, my wacom seems to be found at 'event3'. Previously it switched input when I changed it in xorg.conf, now it doesn't anymore, so I guess that's an improvement. Using 'cat eventx' gives no result when I try the pen on the tablet.... In Gimp extended input device gives a result, but when I change from eraser to stylus, the options dissapear. No movement on the screen either.

  10. #10

    Re: How to get a Wacom tablet working with linuxwacom working in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Ef

    perhaps someone is something with this info to help me enabling my wacom?

    When I do:
    bart@bart-desktop:~$ more /proc/bus/input/devices

    I get this:

    I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0001 Product=0001 Version=ab41
    N: Name="AT Translated Set 2 keyboard"
    P: Phys=isa0060/serio0/input0
    S: Sysfs=/class/input/input0
    H: Handlers=kbd event0
    B: EV=120013
    B: KEY=4 2000000 3802078 f840d001 f2ffffdf ffefffff ffffffff fffffffe
    B: MSC=10
    B: LED=7

    I: Bus=0010 Vendor=001f Product=0001 Version=0100
    N: Name="PC Speaker"
    P: Phys=isa0061/input0
    S: Sysfs=/class/input/input1
    H: Handlers=kbd event1
    B: EV=40001
    B: SND=6

    I: Bus=0003 Vendor=056a Product=0060 Version=0142
    N: Name="Wacom Volito"
    P: Phys=
    S: Sysfs=/class/input/input2
    H: Handlers=mouse0 event2 ts0
    B: EV=f
    B: KEY=1c43 0 70000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    B: REL=100
    B: ABS=100 3000003

    I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0002 Product=0005 Version=0000
    N: Name="ImPS/2 Generic Wheel Mouse"
    P: Phys=isa0060/serio1/input0
    S: Sysfs=/class/input/input3
    H: Handlers=mouse1 event3 ts1
    B: EV=7
    B: KEY=70000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    B: REL=103

    In the wacom section behind:
    P: Phys=
    comes nothing.
    What does it stand for, and could that mean that there is no physical input assigned to 'event2'?
    If it is, how can I change that?

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