[ubuntu-x] Fwd: Wacom tablets, TabletPC and Xorg support for Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty)

Alberto Milone albertomilone at alice.it
Fri Dec 19 21:16:33 GMT 2008

On Friday 19 December 2008 21:08:28 you wrote:
> Bryce Harrington wrote :
> > Btw, I've updated Alberto's wacom config tool spec a bit.  If you have a
> > chance it would be good to have your review as well:
> >
> >   https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Blueprints/WacomTabletsUi
> I've finished adding my comments. I also added an updated mockup
> directly to the page, since the old place didn't seem to be found by
> anybody ;)
> As a summary, I've got 2 main concerns :
>  1. I'm not sure we really want a wizard.
> Wizards are common in Windows, where you have to use a wizard even for
> changing a simple option. In Linux however, things usually work when
> plugging them, and there's almost no time you need one - a wizard might
> not integrate well in the desktop.
> I can see the need for a wizard when talking about printers, when you
> need to configure things for a while till the printer becomes usable,
> but there the wizard only serves to output lines in xorg.conf, which is,
> for the user, only a selection between tablet models.
> If we want to offer fine tweaking for unrecognised tablets, we could
> start a wizard if the user selects "none of those models".
> However, when a new model of tablet is plugged in (and no relevant
> configuration is in xorg.conf) we can pop up a window "Do you want to
> configure your tablet?" where an affirmative answer brings the wacom GUI.
> Having a selection button in the GUI enable easy enabling/disabling each
> model of tablet separately in xorg.conf. Which brings us to the second
> point.

Users will be able to choose between different models and, if none matches 
their tablet, they will be asked a few questions.

Users should also be able to change their settings (e.g. add new devices) from 
the main dialog thus triggering the wizard or whatever will take its place 
(our usability expert will tell us).

It would definitely be nice to have a pop-up but I don't think we want to do 
that every time a user plugs in a tablet. I guess I can detect the id of the 

>  2. How to save options ?
> If possible, could the tool comment out the configuration instead of
> removing the lines in xorg.conf, then uncomment them if the user wants
> to enable that model of tablet again?

This is not safe since, in the meantime, users might have modified their 
xorg.conf manually, thus breaking what was commented out. Furthermore there's 
no reliable way (in X-Kit) to check the validity of lines which were commented 

> There's a few use cases where an user would want to separately
> enable/disable tablets :
> - users that change tablet models (or lend/give the computer to another
> person or department in school/company);
> - TabletPC when for a while the user wants to use it only as a laptop;
> - people with multiple tablets, that want to only use a few (and for
> TabletPC people whose TabletPC wacom device works badly).
> In a perfect world there wouldn't be troubles letting the tablets
> configured in xorg.conf. However, if there was a reason to remove
> default lines in xorg.conf in Ubuntu releases, then people will find
> value in selectively enabling/disabling their tablets.
> Thus, having an box to check to enable/disable the model of tablet
> selected by the user can be a good idea. Preferably the settings in
> xorg.conf are set at the time the user ticks/unticks the box, since
> that's the moment he'll be asked for his password, and the rest of the
> GUI is useless when the settings aren't applied.
It doesn't hurt to leave some InputDevice sections about tablets which are not 
connected. Each configured device can be kept in the xorg.conf so that when a 
specific tablet is plugged in (and X.org is restarted) that specific device 
will get its own (previously saved) settings.

> For preferences (speed, sensitivity, etc...) the most sensible option is
> to enable them on the fly (wacomcpl already does that), since only on
> the desktop can these parameters be tested (and one can run the program
> he wants to check what it really does there). Even when there's a
> drawing area in the GUI, it doesn't replace real-time testing in the
> application the user wants to use.

I was planning on using xsetwacom for that.


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