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Configuring X

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A guide to configuring your system so that X can detect the devices.

Hotplugging Setup

Ideally, you should be using the X server's hotplugging features instead of manual configuration. In contrast to a manually configured xorg.conf file (which requires devices devices to be plugged in when the X server starts), hotplugging allows you to freely plug and unplug your tablets at any time. When a device is plugged in, the hotplug configuration is read to determine the correct settings to apply. By editing the configuration, you can modify the default settings your tablet starts with.

Note that any run-time configuration settings set through xsetwacom or a control panel will be lost when a hotplugged tablet is unplugged. The wdaemon utility can be helpful in this case.

Hotplugging With udev

X Servers 1.8 and later use udev as the device enumeration backend on Linux. Unlike the HAL backend, no X-related configuration is stored in udev itself -- udev simply alerts X of new devices which have the udev property ID_INPUT set to 1 (see udevadm info --export-db). The X server scans several directories for .conf files on startup and uses their contents to setup devices udev notifies it of:

  • /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d
    • Files here are the shipped by the distribution and may be overwritten at update time. It is not recommended to place any user-specific configuration files here.
  • /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
    • Files here are user-specific configurations. If there is no user-specific configuration, this directory may not exist - simply create it and store your configurations here.
    • Files here are read after the distribution-specific patches, so user-specific configuration always overrides the default configurations.

More than one configuration snippet may apply to any device. Configuration settings are merged, but if the same setting is specified multiple times, only the last one is used. Usually, your distribution ships with a number of .conf files that will pick the right driver for your device. Thus, if you want to configure a particular device through xorg.conf.d snippets, you can usually skip the driver assignment - it's already done for you.

The xf86-input-wacom git tree ships an example configuration file in /conf/50-wacom.conf. Drop this into your local /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d directory and you're good to go.

For specific details on how to customize the your configuration, see the xorg.conf.d page.

Hotplugging With HAL

X servers prior to 1.8 which support hotplugging use HAL by default. The driver provides a wacom.fdi file that is by default installed into HAL's policy directory (/usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/20thirdparty). Once installed, you need to restart HAL and verify that the right driver will be loaded.

$> lshal | grep wacom
  info.linux.driver = 'wacom'  (string)
  input.x11_driver = 'wacom'  (string)

The second line shows that there is at least one device that will be using the wacom driver. If this line is missing, the fdi is not installed in the correct place, HAL hasn't been restarted, the device is not plugged in or some other error occured. The full lshal output for your tablet device will usually look something like this:

udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_56a_b9_noserial_if0_logicaldev_input'
  info.capabilities = {'input', 'input.tablet'} (string list)
  info.category = 'input'  (string)
  info.parent = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_56a_b9_noserial_if0'  (string)
  info.product = 'Wacom Intuos4 6x9'  (string)
  info.subsystem = 'input'  (string)
  info.udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_56a_b9_noserial_if0_logicaldev_input'  (string)
  input.device = '/dev/input/event10'  (string)
  input.originating_device = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_56a_b9_noserial_if0'  (string)
  input.product = 'Wacom Intuos4 6x9'  (string)
  input.x11_driver = 'wacom'  (string)
  linux.device_file = '/dev/input/event10'  (string)
  linux.hotplug_type = 2  (0x2)  (int)
  linux.subsystem = 'input'  (string)
  linux.sysfs_path = '/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.1/usb4/4-1/4-1:1.0/input/input47/event10'  (string)

Static xorg.conf Setup

X Servers 1.5 or later (released Sep 3, 2008 [1]) will by default hotplug input devices if they are known to the server's configuration backend (udev in 1.8 and later, or HAL). Manually configuring your tablets by adding them into the xorg.conf file is not reccomended if your X server supports hotplugging, since manually configured tablets loose the ability to be hotplugged. Older X servers, or special-case scenarios not well-handled by hotplugging should follow this guide.

Each device type (stylus, erasor, etc.) needs to be added as a separate InputDevice section and will appear as its own input device in X.

The usb symlinks /dev/input/wacom and /dev/input/wacom-touch will only work if you have the correct wacom.rules file in your distribution's appropriate udev rules.d directory. See fixed device files with udev.

NOTE: Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" was deprecated starting with xf86-input-wacom-0.10.8. You can remove it from your xorg.conf sections if using 0.10.8 or later.

Section "InputDevice"
  Driver        "wacom"
  Identifier    "stylus"
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/ttyS0"              # SERIAL ONLY
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom"        # USB ONLY
  Option        "Type"          "stylus"
  Option        "USB"           "on"                      # USB ONLY
  Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"                   # Serial Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
  Driver        "wacom"
  Identifier    "eraser"
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/ttyS0"              # SERIAL ONLY
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom"        # USB ONLY
  Option        "Type"          "eraser"
  Option        "USB"           "on"                      # USB ONLY
  Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"                   # Serial Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
  Driver        "wacom"
  Identifier    "cursor"                                  # Wacom tablet mouse
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/ttyS0"              # SERIAL ONLY
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom"        # USB ONLY
  Option        "Type"          "cursor"
  Option        "USB"           "on"                      # USB ONLY
  Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"                   # Serial Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

# This section is for Tablets & TabletPCs that support touch
Section "InputDevice"
  Driver        "wacom"
  Identifier    "touch"
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/ttyS0"              # SERIAL ONLY
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom-touch"  # USB ONLY
  Option        "Type"          "touch"
  Option        "ForceDevice"   "ISDV4"                   # Serial Tablet PC ONLY
  Option        "USB"           "on"                      # USB ONLY
EndSection

# This section is for Intuos3, Intuos4, CintiqV5, Graphire4, Bamboo, or BambooPT
Section "InputDevice"
  Driver        "wacom"
  Identifier    "pad"                                     # Tablet buttons
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/ttyS0"              # SERIAL ONLY
  Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom"        # USB ONLY
  Option        "Type"          "pad"
  Option        "USB"           "on"                      # USB ONLY
EndSection

Once the InputDevice sections are present, they need to be referenced from the ServerLayout section to take effect. An example layout section may look like this:

Tip: For older X servers, devices that should also control the cursor need to send core events. To do so, add the following line to the "InputDevice" section of the device.

 Option "SendCoreEvents" "on"

In newer X servers, this option is on by default.

Section "ServerLayout"
  Identifier    "X.org Configured"
  InputDevice   "stylus"
  InputDevice   "eraser"
  InputDevice   "cursor"     # For non-LCD tablets only
  InputDevice   "touch"      # For TabletPCs and BambooPTs that support touch
  InputDevice   "pad"        # For Intuos3/Intuos4/CintiqV5/Graphire4/Bamboo/BambooPT
EndSection
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