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Thread: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

  1. #1
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    Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    The Community wiki documentation, Configure Wacom Devices Using the .fdi File Method and for legacy xorg.conf use the example xorg.conf files are regularly being updated for Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, but the guide is also geared towards each Ubuntu release starting with Ubuntu 6.04 Dapper Drake, and is updated for each new release.

    This thread is the forum side of the wiki, if you have questions or want to add information to the guide but are not sure you'll be able to keep it clean and simple.

    Basically for any Ubuntu release, always check first on The Linux Wacom Project if the version of the linux wacom driver you have in your distribution supports your model of tablet - use System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager or
    Code:
    dpkg -p wacom-tools  | grep Version
    Note : as Intuos 4 users would have noticed, the driver in Ubuntu 9.04 or earlier doesn't support their model. See this thread for instructions on how to make your tablet supported.

    If your tablet is supported, on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (and later) it should be fully recognised by default (pen, eraser, ExpressKeys, and mouse, even though mouse can be tricky), with input hotplug support, and without the need for any configuration. All configuration is now stored in /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/20thirdparty/10-wacom.fdi - you can also copy that file to /etc/hal/fdi/policy/custom_wacom.fdi and edit it to adjust default options. Because of a bug in the 10-wacom.fdi file in Ubuntu 9.04, wacom devices won't appear in the graphical configuration utility wacomcpl. You can either use the custom .fdi file Favux has posted in this thread, which should work with external USB Wacom tablets (and possibly other tablets), or use a script to change default Wacom device names in Ubuntu 9.04 to ones wacomcpl will recognise - see this thread. Alternatively, you can continue to use any previous script using xsetwacom commands, provided you replace the name of the devices with the ones you get with
    Code:
    xinput -list
    On releases older than Ubuntu 8.10 you only need to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf as in the wiki - you save time and run less risks to mess up your configuration. If it doesn't support your model and you can't upgrade to a more recent version, use the "Specific cases" part of the guide (many different contributors).

    In Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex, due to changes in Xorg, wacom support doesn't use xorg.conf by default, but the method used by Ubuntu 9.04 - except with less possibilities. Basically, if you plug your tablet it will work (if it doesn't unplug it and plug it again), but only the stylus is supported, and if you want to configure its properties you need to do it according to Wacom.fdi.

    If you want to use the eraser and the pad, you'll need to revert to the old method, which means adding lines in /etc/X11/xorg.conf following the guide and Example Lines for /etc/X11/xorg.conf. However, with the move away from using xorg.conf, it's becoming harder not to hose X (unless you reuse an old xorg.conf.

    In Ubuntu 9.04, the distribution will probably revert to using xorg.conf to set up wacom devices, since the HAL method used in Ubuntu 8.10 doesn't allow anything more than the stylus, and even that doesn't work for TabletPC, serial tablets, and users who need to calibrate the stylus.

    Note for Tablet PC users in Intrepid :

    The problem you're facing is also a problem of configuration - compiling a driver might not help. According to The Linux Wacom Project, version 8.0 already supports Tablet PC, and the version that ships in Intrepid is even more recent (8.1.4). However, there's still a bug in 8.1.4 that might affect you where touching the tablet with the pen freezes the input. If you have that problem, then you can install the 8.1.6 drivers according to Installing the Lastest Driver in Ubuntu

    For the configuration, here's an explanation I got in one of the launchpad bug reports: the default configuration for Intrepid works for hotpluggable tablets. With a tablet PC, the wacom device is always there, and that's the problem (it won't be recognised).

    I'm not an expert, but from what I've see people report in bug threads, for Tablet PC the best solution (maybe even the only one) is to revert to the old way to configure wacom devices, that is editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf . That is a bit risky, so make sure you have two operating system installed (the best is to have another Ubuntu installed on another partition, for example an LTS version like Ubuntu 8.04) so you can access the net and ask for help here if you hosed X. Having another Ubuntu would also allow you to continue any urgent and important work during the few hours / days it takes for one of us to reply to any problem you would have (there's time we'll be sleeping or away for the computer ). It will also allow for easy editing of the xorg.conf you need to edit. Alternatively, you can also use a Live CD.

    Tablet PC users want the Option B) in Intrepid (although you should always check first if, on your particular hardware, the default configuration in Intrepid works - just read the first few paragraphs of the guide to make sure) and either reuse an xorg.conf from a previous version of Ubuntu, or use the example lines at Example Lines for /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

    If you don't manage to configure it, please tell us. If you manage to get it to work, please tell us too, since I don't have any Tablet Pc to check if my advices really work.

    In your posts, please specify the model of your Wacom tablet, and the Ubuntu version you're using. If your Tablet won't work, a nice idea is to check and tell us if the model of your tablet is supported by the wacom driver provided by your version of Ubuntu (it will save everybody chacking and keep all the information in one post). You can also attach your xorg.conf file to your post (Chose "Go Advanced" then use the little paperclip icon

    Please do not paste your whole xorg.conf, or extract longer than a few lines - attach them instead. Same goes for very long error messages, if you don't know which lines are relevant it's better to attach the output.

    That would prevent the thread growing so big that nobody reads it before posting while the solution might be a few post away.
    Remember : Go Advanced, then the little paperclip icon on top. Pretty please.
    Last edited by Loc2; June 3rd, 2009 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Update, remove call for testing since we have had 0.8.2.2 in Jaunty

  2. #2
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    With the default setup (autoconfiguration via HAL, only stylus working), if you want to change the options for the stylus you can create a custom .fdi file and put it in /etc/hal/fdi/policy/. This preserves hotplugging while enabling you to configure your tablet

    Here's mine as an example. You can add new options just by inserting more x11_options lines. Option names are the same as in xorg.conf.

    /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mytabletrules.fdi
    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!-- -*- SGML -*- -->
    
    <deviceinfo version="0.2">
    
      <device>
        <match key="info.capabilities" contains="input">
          <match key="info.product" contains="Wacom">
    	<merge key="input.x11_options.TPCButton" type="string">on</merge>
    	<merge key="input.x11_options.KeepShape" type="string">on</merge>
          </match>
        </match>
      </device>
    
    </deviceinfo>
    I didn't really know how to add this info neatly to the wiki, so here it is for now.

  3. #3
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Thanks a lot mesilliac, I used your post to create a new wiki page at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Wacom.fdi and linked the guide to this page (the same way we link to a separate page for xorg.conf options). Hope it's ok for you and if you see more thing to add just go on and click "edit" or post it here.

    I still haven't managed to configure my Cintiq 12wx properly, the cursor isn't aligned with the pen tip on all the screen and it's really annoying (wacomcpl is in Intrepid, but it doesn't detect neither the Cintiq nor another Intuos 3). If somebody manages to get it right first, you're welcome to help

  4. #4
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Dear Loic2.

    Yesterday I installed Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (version 8.10), kernel 2.6.27 on my Acer TravelMate C110 tablet PC. Of course, the tablet/touch functionality was lost. I read quite a few posts and instructions on how to bring the tablet functionality back. I also downloaded a file
    linuxwacom-0.8.1-6.tar.bz2 from http://linuxwacom.sourceforge.net.

    Could you please let me know if my laptop will obtain the touch functionality after installing linuxwacom-0.8.1-6.tar.bz2the and (the most important question!) how I can compile that file(s) [linuxwacom-0.8.1-6.tar.bz2] into a running software. I am a new Linux user and definitely not an IT advanced one. I simply don't know the basics of compiling the software. Maybe you can refer me to a clear guide. I am afraid of doing something wrong, because then I won't be able to restore the default.

    Thanks in advance

    123marra

  5. #5
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Thank u gents

  6. #6
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Quote Originally Posted by 123marra View Post
    Could you please let me know if my laptop will obtain the touch functionality after installing linuxwacom-0.8.1-6.tar.bz2the and (the most important question!) how I can compile that file(s) [linuxwacom-0.8.1-6.tar.bz2] into a running software. I am a new Linux user and definitely not an IT advanced one. I simply don't know the basics of compiling the software.
    Read the guide carefully, then the first post in this thread. In no way do we advise you to go and compile linuxwacom. In 99.9% of the cases, your hardware will be supported by the default wacom drivers provided by Intrepid (they're about same as compiling them from the file you downloaded).

    If you type this in a terminal:
    sudo dpkg -p wacom-tools | grep Version
    You'll see that the version in Intrepid is 8.1.4, which isn't much different than your downloaded 8.1.6 in terms of hw support. Actually, it's newer than the Linux Wacom Project (LWP) official 8.0, which they say already support touch for tablets.

    Now, with tablets PC in Intrepid the problem you're facing is a problem of configuration - compiling a driver won't help.

    Explanation : the default configuration for Intrepid works for hotpluggable tablets. With a tablet PC, the wacom device is always there, and that's the problem (it won't be recognised).

    I'm not an expert, but from what I've see people report in bug threads, for Tablet PC the best (maybe even the only) solution is to revert to the old way to configure wacom devices, that is editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf . That is a bit risky, so make sure you have two operanting system installed (the best is to have another Ubuntu installed on another partition, for example an LTS version like Ubuntu 8.04) so you can access the net and ask for help here if you hosed X. Having another Ubuntu would also allow you to continue any urgent and important work during the few hours / days it takes for one of us to reply to any problem you would have (there's time we'll be sleeping or away for the computer ).

    So read the guide carefully, you want the Option B) in Intrepid. I've updated the example configuration files at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WacomTroubleshooting with a warning for Tablet PC users, I'll edit the guide too (and maybe copy/paste this post at the beginning of the thread.

    If you don't manage to configure it, please tell us. If you manage to get it to work, please tell us too, since I don't have any Tablet Pc to check if my advices really work.

  7. #7
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Dear Loic2,

    Thanks a lot for your prompt reply.

    I did exactly what you wrote in the Troubleshooting section. I accessed the xorg.conf file from the Terminal using the command line

    gedit/etc/X11/xorg.conf

    The file xorg.conf was open then in a separate .txt file.

    However, when I try to save the file after the changes were typed, the system tells me I don't have enough priviledges, so I can't save changes. As I posted above, the system was installed yesterday and I am an administrator. What can be wrong with my access rights then?

    Hope to hearing from you soon.

    Thanks in advance and regards,
    123marra

  8. #8
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Dear Loic2.

    Thanks a lot for your help. I report the results so far for installing table functionality for my Acer TravelMate C110 laptop running Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex with kernel 2.6.27 (release date 30 October 2008):

    1) Before your proposed changes (for wacom devices) my original

    /etc/X11/xorg.conf file had the following command lines (after a few paragraphs of text at the beginning of the file):

    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Configured Video Device"
    EndSection

    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Configured Monitor"
    EndSection

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Default Screen"
    Monitor "Configured Monitor"
    Device "Configured Video Device"
    EndSection

    2) After I have posted the proposed changes, the complete string of command lines looks like this:

    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Configured Video Device"
    EndSection

    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Configured Monitor"
    EndSection

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Default Screen"
    Monitor "Configured Monitor"
    Device "Configured Video Device"
    EndSection

    Section "ServerFlags"
    Option "AutoAddDevices" "False"
    EndSection

    Section "InputDevice"
    Driver "wacom"
    Identifier "stylus"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
    Option "Type" "stylus"
    Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY
    EndSection

    Section "InputDevice"
    Driver "wacom"
    Identifier "eraser"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
    Option "Type" "eraser"
    Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY
    EndSection

    Section "InputDevice"
    Driver "wacom"
    Identifier "cursor"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
    Option "Type" "cursor"
    Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY
    EndSection

    Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "Default Layout"
    Screen "Default Screen"
    InputDevice "stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
    InputDevice "cursor" "SendCoreEvents"
    InputDevice "eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
    EndSection

    3) Answering my own question above, I have found on Internet a thread, exactly explaining why I did not have the rights to save the changes to the config file (/etc/X11/xorg.conf):

    http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-869748.html

    The solution is:

    Go to the terminal via Applications --> Accessories --> Terminal

    In the Terminal type the following:

    gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    A window will appear asking for a password --> type an administrator password --> a config file will then be open in a .txt format.

    Make the changes (in my case just add extra command lines as you suggested) and save the file (an existing file will be replaced by a new one).

    4) Closed the files and logged out from my account and logged in again. And bingo! my stylos works and I can use it as a mouse, clicking on icons, browsing through files, opening applications etc.

    5) However, some other questions are still open:

    a) Acer TravelMate C110 had a virtual keyboard, which was possible to use with a stylos. What happened to that functionality? It is present in Ubuntu and if yes, how to bring it to life? Maybe the same problem is applicable to other tablet PC's...

    b) I tried to draw lines in OpenOffice.org Draw. It works but only until I release the pressure. Then the line becomes a picture and it is not possible to continue drawing / writing unless I click on a line drawing button. Does it means there is no handwriting recognition functionality in Ubuntu? If yes, then how can I find it?

    c) Do I need to install some other software (maybe also applicable to other devices) to solve the problems mentioned above or what I have now is as far as Ubuntu can get so far with a table functionality.

    I would very much appreciate your answer.

    Thank you in advance and with regards,

    123marra

  9. #9
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Quote Originally Posted by 123marra View Post
    I did exactly what you wrote in the Troubleshooting section. I accessed the xorg.conf file from the Terminal using the command line

    gedit/etc/X11/xorg.conf
    All the advised commands on the guide and in this forum should be :
    Code:
    gksudo gedit/etc/X11/xorg.conf
    I checked the guide and the example page, but I couldn't find any occurence where we forgot to use sudo and wrongly advised using
    Code:
    gedit/etc/X11/xorg.conf
    Could you please point to the wrong occurence so we can correct it (and other people don't encounter your problem?

    As for your other post, I've got to leave now and will probably not be able to reply before 24 hours. But here are some ideas off the top of my head:
    a) virtual keyboard is an application like another - if you're talking about XP/Vista, your comp came with the application added (by the hw maker for instance). Have a look in synaptic, or google for it and ubuntu.
    b) for drawing, I use Inkscape and Gimp, they work great. For handwriting recognition, you installed a desktop Ubuntu, I don't think it will come with an handwriting recognition app by default (same for desktop XP for example, unless I'm mistaken). Try to google it, look in synaptic or try to see what Nokia use for their Linux tablets, or check what the special version of Ubuntu Cannonical is developing for MID/nettop devices will use (can't remember the name). Then you'll just have to install the same program(s). In the future, you could also try a Live CD of their Ubuntu's special version, and if you like it install that instead of the default Ubuntu 8.10 for desktop use.

    c) see above, yes, and it's 100% sure the software exist since Linux is already used in this manner. The hw rec software might be proprietary, but an open source version might already have been there for years, just that I never had to use it.
    Last edited by Loc2; November 17th, 2008 at 11:07 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto

    Some people do need the latest 0.8.1-6 linuxwacom drivers... they fix a bug where touching the pen to the tablet freezes input (essentially making the tablet useless in intrepid). If you don't have this bug you probably don't need them. Anyway, the linuxwacom drivers come with precompiled binaries so all you need to do is:

    * double click the linuxwacom-0.8.1-6.tar.bz2 file and extract it to your desktop (you can delete these later)
    * open a terminal (Accessories > Terminal)
    * type the following:
    Code:
    cd Desktop/linuxwacom-0.8.1-6/prebuilt
    sudo ./uninstall
    sudo ./install
    * Restart X by logging out, then logging in again

    If this messes anything up for you, you can always go back to the default by running in a terminal:
    Code:
    sudo aptitude reinstall xserver-xorg-input-wacom wacom-tools
    Just wanted to answer that because I know I've been worried about it in the past .

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