Working Tablet + GIMP = :)

Back about a week ago, I posted about the trouble I was having getting my Wacom tablet to work correctly with the GIMP. It wasn’t moving over the full extents of the screen, and it wasn’t getting recognized as an extended input device in the GIMP (which lets you use pressure-sensitivity).

As you can see by the image above, I now have it working. But I almost forgot to post about getting it to work. Thanks to Donncha for sending me a comment on that previous post which reminded me. BTW there are some awesome photos on Donncha’s blog, you should check them out.

So here’s the story. I cleaned up my xorg.conf file so that any references to serial or tablet-pc based entries in the wacom sections of the file were deleted. I also uninstalled and reinstalled the wacom-tools package as well.

But I’m not sure which (if any) of those things were the problem. My other problem was (and is) is that restarting X after each modification didn’t seem to work properly. Normally (for the Ubuntu distro anyway) you hit Ctrl-Backspace to restart X. On my machine, this logs me out, returns me to the GDM login prompt as expected. But on re-logging in, it can never get back to the desktop. I end up stuck at a light blue screen with full mouse movement but no desktop to speak of. The only option left is to reboot.

So being the newbie that I am, I was making changes to my xorg.conf file and then logging out and logging back in. Apparently, this does NOT restart the Xserver which means any of the changes I had made were not ‘taking’.

The long and short of it is that I cleaned up the xorg.conf file, reinstalled the wacom-tools package and then the next morning when I started up the machine, the tablet was working fine. The Gimp recognized it and full pressure sensitivity was enabled.

Sorry there was no magical answer here. But I can say that there are several good threads on getting tablet devices to work. If you want to see what my current xorg.conf file looks like, I posted it right here in a message thread on It seems to work flawlessly for me right now so check it out if you’re having problems.

Note: I have a Wacom Graphire3 tablet, a miniature notebook sized MS mouse (for my daughter), and a normal sized mouse, all of which are USB( and all of which are always hooked up and all of which seem to work perfectly now). I’m running Ubuntu Edgy with Beryl installed. If you have a serial model or are using a different distribution or setup your mileage may vary.


5 Responses to “Working Tablet + GIMP = :)”

  1. Sumit Agarwal Says:

    Hey, I’m also an Edgy/Beryl/Serial Wacom (TabletPC) user and I wanted to ask if you’re getting a little side-effect I’m getting:

    In GIMP (or Inkscape) I find that when I use the pen the visual stroke only appears once I complete it. This does not happen when I use the mouse or when I use Metacity instead of Beryl.

    I’m using the nvidia drivers for xorg.

  2. RichardQuerin Says:

    I just tried it out (both in Inkscape and GIMP) and it seems to behave normally for me. While I am running Beryl too, I have Intel 810 on board video. It might be the nvidia drivers. Also, my tablet is USB. Maybe that makes some difference. Dunno. Sorry I’m not of much help for you.

  3. Sumit Agarwal Says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I switched from nvidia rendering to AIGLX (without texture from pixmap) and that did the trick!

  4. Sumit Agarwal Says:

    One final bit if you have the time for it it’d be greatly appreciated… but I’ve been poring over documentation and having a hell of a time trying to get my stylus sideswitch to register as a right-click (or any kind of click).

    How did you do it? I’m trying to use xsetwacom.

  5. RichardQuerin Says:

    I’m not sure how your device is set up. I have a Wacom Graphire3 Tablet and once I got the settings in my Xorg.conf file correct, I didn’t have to much if anything else. The side switch on the stylus has always just registered as a right-click. I’m not sure about xsetwacom. I never had to use it. It was really just a problem getting the system to recognize the tablet properly, but all the changes I made to get it to work involved only editing xorg.conf. My working file is posted on the ubuntuforums if it’s any help. The link is in the blog post. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance to you.

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