Distribution Specific Linuxwacom Installation

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Building Linuxwacom driver On Debian

The following documentation for building wacom driver on Debian was written by Olivier Lecarme.

Copyright (C) June 14, 2005 Olivier Lecarme.

I'm using the Sid version of Debian, but I was told that the Sarge distribution, recently become the stable one, already contains what is necessary. Version 2.6.11 of the kernel is the highly preferred one by people maintaining the Linux Wacom software.

Download the 2.6.11 kernel

I was completely unsuccessful when trying to configure and compile my own kernel: certainly I omitted some capital module, but I could not decide what it was. Thus, I chose the last pre-compiled kernel.

   1.   apt-get kernel-image-2.6.11-1-686

   2.   apt-get kernel-headers-2.6.11-1-686

If you use Lilo, configure your /etc/lilo.conf file, taking into account that this kernel needs an initrd= line.


If your case is irrelevant, please skip this section and the following one.

   1.      I Have a Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5751 Ethernet card, which needs the tigon3 driver, unavailable in Debian kernel 2.6.11. The solution is here.

      Thus I got the package:

         1.   cd /usr/src
         2.   wget http://www.acm.rpi.edu/~dilinger/kernel-source-nonfree-2.6.11/kernel-nonfree-modules-2.6.11-1-686-2.6.11-1_i386.deb

   2.      I have an ATI X 300 video card, whose driver is not available in Debian kernel 2.6.11. The solution is here.

      Thus I got the packages:

         1.    for the driver:  wget http://www.stanchina.net/~flavio/debian-fglrx-xfree86/fglrx-driver_8.12.10-1_i386.deb
         2.    and for the kernel module:  wget http://www.stanchina.net/~flavio/debian-fglrx-modules/fglrx-kernel-2.6.11-1-686-smp_8.12.10-1+2.6.11-2_i386.deb

Install the optional packages

   1.   cd /usr/src

   2.   dpkg -i kernel-nonfree-modules-2.6.11-1-686_2.6.11-1_i386.deb

   3.   dpkg -i fglrx-driver_8.12.10-1_i386.deb

   4.   dpkg -i fglrx-kernel-2.6.11-1-686_8.12.10-1+2.6.11-2_i386.deb

Install the wacom tools package

   1.   apt-get install wacom-tools

   2.   dpkg-reconfigure wacom-kernel-source

Since your debconf configuration probably did not ask for the lowest priority questions, this step is needed. You might also use it later if you update your kernel, for instance.

When asked whether you want to build the modules, answer yes, and tell where the headers are located (normally /usr/src/kernel-headers-2.6.11-1-686).

Prepare for the /dev/input/wacom link

In /etc/udev/rules.d/10-wacom.rules, add the following line:

KERNEL="event*", SYSFS{idVendor}="056a", NAME="input/%k", SYMLINK="input/wacom%e" 

Thus the drivers will find the Wacom tablet, whatever its /dev/input/eventX address is.

Change your XF86Config-4 file

The important sections are:

   1. The ServerLayout section:

Section "ServerLayout"
        [ ... ]
	InputDevice    "stylus"	   "SendCoreEvents"
	InputDevice    "eraser"	   "SendCoreEvents"
	InputDevice    "cursor"	   "SendCoreEvents"
	InputDevice    "pad"

   2. The InputDevice sections:

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier   "stylus"
	Driver	     "wacom"
	Option	     "Type" "stylus"
	Option	     "USB" "on"
	Option	     "Threshold" "10"
	Option	     "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier   "eraser"
	Driver	     "wacom"
	Option	     "Type" "eraser"
	Option	     "USB" "on"
	Option	     "Threshold" "10"
	Option	     "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier   "cursor"
	Driver	     "wacom"
	Option	     "Type" "cursor"
	Option	     "USB" "on"
	Option	     "Threshold" "10"
	Option	     "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"

Section "InputDevice"
   Identifier "pad"
   Driver "wacom"
   Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
   Option "Type" "pad"
   Option "USB" "on"

   3. The section dealing with your normal mouse must be considered too. See [[Linuxwacom HOWTO#Mouse1 (for some 2.6 systems)|Mouse1 (for some 2.6 systems)]].  I didn't use /dev/psaux nor /dev/input/mice.
      /dev/input/mouse0 works for a PS/2 mouse. For a USB mouse, there is a problem mentioned in the '''Remaining problems'''.

   4. If you use the ATI X300 card, you need to change also the Device section:
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "ATI"
        Driver          "fglrx"
        Option "VideoOverlay" "on"
        Option "OpenGLOverlay" "off"
        Option "UseInternalAGPGART" "no"

Final steps

1. Reboot. This will also restart the X server, of course. 2. Enjoy!

If you want to use the expresskeys of your Intuos tablet

If you do nothing more, the pad is not usable at all. However, you will find here a specific tool for having the pad available in various programs, for example XTerm, Gimp, or Blender.

This tool is very easy to compile, install, and use. If you want to use the pad in Gimp, do not enable it in "Preferences -> Input Devices -> Configure the extended input devices", contrarily to the three other tools (stylus, eraser, and cursor). You can easily configure what the expresskeys send, according to your tastes, and use only them for the tasks that need a good control of the stylus or eraser.

Remaining problems

If your tablet is always plugged, everything works perfectly. If you want to plug it out, for example in order to move it onto another computer, and then to plug it back later, problems begin.

For the present, you must take care of the following things:

1. If you plug in the tablet again, the corresponding driver is not informed of this, thus you must restart the X server.

2. If the tablet is plugged when you reboot, and you have an USB mouse, maybe the /dev/input address of this mouse is not the same as the previous time. Thus you will have to change this in your XF86Config-4 file.

3. If you use GDM or KDM or XDM, you should plug in the tablet after rebooting, but before the X server starts, which is somewhat difficult! Thus you will be forced to restart the X server, i.e. kill it Ctrl+Alt+Backspace) and not simply logging out.

Final remarks

I would like to thank all persons who helped me, on the LinuxWacom or the Gimp-user discussion lists, especially Carol Spears, Karine Delvare, Ping Cheng, and Ron.

Building Linuxwacom driver On Fedora 13

The following steps for building wacom driver on Fedora 13 were extracted from the emails of Jonathan R Young and Peter Hutterer. If you have any problems or questions, go ahead and post them to the list.

Build kernel driver wacom.ko

yum-buildep linuxwacom
wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/linuxwacom/linuxwacom-0.8.8-10.tar.bz2

tar -xf linuxwacom-0.8.8-10.tar.bz2
cd  linuxwacom-0.8.8-10
./configure --enable-wacom
su -c "cp src/2.6.30/wacom.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/tablet"

Build X driver wacom_drv.so

Refer to this page for details.

Building Linuxwacom driver On RHEL 5 / CentOS 5

The following documentation for building wacom x.org and kernel modules on RHEL 5 / CentOS 5 was written by Sylvain Giasson. If you have any problems or questions, go ahead and post them to linuxwacom-discuss@lists.sourceforge.net.

Copyright (C) August 2009 Sylvain Giasson


When installing a driver, you will not always get an rpm package to install it. You may have to compile it for the kernel and architecture you are using. This document will show you how to compile the wacom driver from source.

Download the binaries

You will need to download the source for the wacom driver. You need to go on the linux wacom web page: http://linuxwacom.sourceforge.net. In this example, you download it into /usr/tmp.

Uncompress the binaries

Once downloaded, the wacom driver source package are TARed and compressed as bz2 archives. They must extracted and uncompressed unsing the following commands.

     su - root
     cd /usr/tmp
     tar xjvf linuxwacom-0.8.4.tar.bz2

Note: tar options: x=extract; j=extract bz2 before tar; v=verbose; f=the file you are going to uncompress.

Updating/installing pre-requisite packages with yum before compiling

Before compiling the driver for your workstation, you need to be sure to have some pre-requisites modules installed. The easiest way to install them is by using yum.

This utility allows you to automatically download and install the kernel headers and development package, the X server software development kit and source, as well as the libXi development package. (Note: Your workstation must have internet access).

     yum install kernel-devel kernel-headers 
     yum install xorg-x11-server-source xorg-x11-server-sdk libXi-devel

Once yum found everything it needs, press "y" to begin the installation process.

Compiling the driver

1. Compiling the driver is simple. You need to configure a custom installer, create it, and install it. Type the following commands:

     su - root
     cd /usr/tmp/linuxwacom-0.8.4
     ./configure --enable-wacom

If some dependencies aren't resolved, the configure step will not be completed successfully. Once dependancies are resolved, run ./configure again.

2. When the "configure" step succeeds, continue to the next steps. Type:


3. This will create the actual installer using the configuration from the previous step. Type:

     make install
     This will install the driver.

4. Install kernel driver (create a backup copy)

     cp /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko  /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/usb/input/wacom.ko.old.$$
     cp src/`uname -r | cut -d- -f1`/wacom.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/usb/input/

5. Reboot the workstation

Building Linuxwacom driver On Suse 9.2

Nico Kadel-Garcia has provided a changed SPEC file for SuSE 9.2. You can download the spec here.

"There are only a few needed changes: use the new software, throw out an old patch, teach it to use the right options for x86_64 compilation, and stop it from generating symlinks into /usr/include/X11 at compilation time, and it's done." Nico said on Mar 21 2005.

Building Linuxwacom driver On Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit system

The steps on this page are taken from the following posts:


http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1038949&page=11#104 Section 1


Craig Stevens summarized the steps below for his Wacom Intuos4 M on a 64-bit Ubuntu 9.04 (Aug. 26, 2009). Craig also wanted to credit Favux and Eric Honaker for their help. If you have any problems or questions, please post them to linuxwacom-discuss@lists.sourceforge.net.

Process from start to finish:

   1. Installed "wacom-tools" and "xserver-xorg-input-wacom" using synaptic.
   2. "cd ./Desktop"
   3. "wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/linuxwacom/linuxwacom-0.8.4.tar.bz2"
   4. "sudo apt-get update"
   5. "sudo apt-get install build-essential libx11-dev libxi-dev x11proto-input-dev xserver-xorg-dev tk8.4-dev tcl8.4-dev libncurses5-dev"
   6. "sudo apt-get upgrade"
   7. Then got the kernal version with: "uname -r" (needed in steps 8 and 14)
   8. I had the generic kernel so:
	"sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic" 
		(or it would have been: "sudo apt-get install linux-headers-rt for the rt kernel")
   9. "tar xjvf linuxwacom-0.8.4.tar.bz2"
  10. "cd linuxwacom-0.8.4"
  11. "./configure --enable-wacom"
  12. "make"
  13. "sudo make install"
  14. Then copied the wacom.ko built in step 12 over the existing one in lib/modules..., 
	"sudo cp ./src/2.6.28/wacom.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/tablet/wacom.ko" 
		where `uname -r` is the kernel version from step 7.
  15. Changed /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/20thirdparty/10-wacom.fdi for a new one attached to 
	http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=967147&page=18 #176 which clearly explains the procedure 
		(just swapping out the file contents in a text editor, after backing up!)
  16. In a text editor added the line "wacom" to the end of the /etc/modules file
  17. Rebooted and it worked.

This has got the tablet as far as working like a mouse in Ubuntu Gnome desktop and also working in Photoshop in XP on a VirtualBox VM. The Touch Ring zooms in Firefox.

Copyright (C) 2002-2011 - LinuxWacom

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