[ubuntu-x] Future of digitizing tablet support in xorg?

Bryce Harrington bryce at canonical.com
Mon Apr 7 05:46:55 BST 2008

On Sun, Apr 06, 2008 at 11:05:30AM -0700, Dan Kegel wrote:
> At the moment, users of digitizing tablet
> often have to compile x drivers themselves (!), e.g.
> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Wacom
> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/TabletSetupWizardpen
> which seems rather a throwback to the 90's.
> And even if they don't have to compile the drivers
> themselves, it seems users still have to edit xorg.conf.
> What are the prospects for moving from the current
> situation to plug'n'play nirvana?
> I ask because Wine is getting good enough that
> tablet issues like this are starting to become limiting
> factors for Photoshop use in Ubuntu.

For hardy we experimented with the new input hotplugging in xserver 1.4
(Timo in particular did extensive testing of it).  Unfortunately, the
new HAL approach with fdi files was proving to be even more complicated
to configure than editing xorg.conf.  Timo's testing also was turning up
bugs a bit too readily.  So we decided to hold off on it for now, and
stick with the devil we know.

The main deficiency that needs to be addressed is input configuration.
The input hotplugging seems to work fine with default parameters, but as
soon as a user wishes to set things to non-default values things get
complicated.  I think before we can really seriously consider moving to
it, we need to have some configuration tools.

So, I would like to see as a start, at least some sort of command line
tool - the input device equivalent of 'xrandr'.  GUI tools would be nice
but can come in time.

In addition, as I understand it, each of the input devices need to be
updated to take advantage of input hotplug - much as each video driver
has had to be updated to use Xrandr.  So even though some drivers have
transitioned, it may behoove us to wait until a larger proportion are


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