Tablet PC under ubuntu - a call to xorg and ubuntu developers

Vincenzo Ciancia ciancia at
Mon Sep 29 15:43:16 UTC 2008

On lun, 2008-09-29 at 16:13 +0200, Sebastian Breier wrote:
> I don't want to sound overly negative, but why are You bringing this
> up
> now? We're 5 of 6 months into development, behind feature freeze,
> behind
> beta freeze. Changing XOrg for tablet users may break many things for
> others, and is a task that will pull enormous developer time at this

Now if you took the responsibility to accuse me, I think it's in my
right to ask you to read the full story that I present below. Thank you.

I don't want to sound like, how to say it, ironic, dunno, but why did
NOBODY tell that support for tablets was going to be dropped from ubuntu
on this list before _I_ did? I am not a developer. The same happened
when support by default was removed from xorg.conf. Nobody discussed it
before. No alternative solution was proposed. This makes no sense. I
perfectly accept if nobody has time to implement a proposal, but doing
things in silence is not what I expect from a free software community.

In any case, you are plain wrong in what you say above, because I
pointed the issue of configuring wacom in this list so many times that I
am sick of it - to tell the truth I only experienced a general lack of
interest in tablets, in response.

Search the list for my messages and you will see I raised exactly this
issue in april, when I pointed out that wacom support by-default had
been dropped silently without discussion on a possible solution. Then I
was told that a discussion had to happen at next UDS (intrepid had just
been annunced at the times). I think I also asked for the results of
this discussion but don't remember what reply I got and don't have the
time to search (this is because I use imap for the list, and my internet
connection is slow, so searches take huge amounts of time, and my
connection is slow because the iwl3945 driver sucks - in hardy, too -
and nobody cared since the last "LTS" was released, and this is another
issue and let's get back to the main track).

The tablet would have worked out of the box in dapper, three years ago,
if not for bugs in wacom tools. These bugs where fixed, but at the same
time support was dropped in xorg.conf. So the tablet didn't work out of
the box again.

This was discussed on this list in april without any solution coming up
except for "the perfect solution is autodetection, we can do this in
time for intrepid, and we don't want any temporary solution meanwhile,
just wait 6 months and everything will be fine".

I then PROVIDED A SMALL PATCH against dexconf that alters xorg.conf ONLY
IF /dev/input/wacom is present, and everybody told me it was unuseful
because HOTPLUGGING IS THE FUTURE. Now I am welcome to the future... a
future where I have to change distribution. After having convinced more
or less 20 people to switch to ubuntu (even from OSX !!!) and having
installed ubuntu on my mother's desktop.

When I tested intrepid, I saw that manual editing of xorg.conf was more
difficult than with previous releases, and asked (today) on the mailing
list for clarification. My tablet was broken and I recovered it one week
ago. The first thing I did when I had the machine back was to check all
the bugs I ever reported against it. This is BECAUSE I CARE(D) for
ubuntu and free software, I CARE(D) a lot.

And TODAY I discovered that tablet support is going to be dropped for 6
months, 6 months in which NO tablet WILL work with ubuntu. Now if you
don't have a tablet I understand this is not shocking for you. For me is
like a cold shower in a winter day. My laptop was out for assistance and
you can't imagine how I was waiting for it JUST FOR THE SAKE of
reporting a bug to xorg developers regarding my vga out, which worked in
previous releases of ubuntu but not from feisty on. I was waiting with
excitement just to waste an afternoon testing various configuration, git
master driver for my card, rebooting because kernel hangs during testing
and so on, just because I felt like a duty to report bugs correctly as
the xorg team asked to me.


1) I didn't expect that tablet support in intrepid was going to be
SILENTLY DROPPED or else I would have spoken earlier

2) you cannot say it's MY fault if this decision was taken without any
public discussion, at least here on this mailing list which I follow
just to be able to comment ON TIME when major changes happen that might
damage my everyday work

3) Nevertheless, I actually _spoke earlier_ - in april - but nothing
happened because the developers have other priorities. That's ok: the
current situation is hackish but acceptable and I could wait 6 months
with a manually edited xorg.conf. Removing support without even making a
poll is childish and I just can't accept it without at least asking for

Hope not to cause too much hate, I realise stones are there on the floor
and I am not moving.


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