Archives – May, 2010

Making Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet work under Debian

I’ve been trying for days to make my brand new Wacom Bamboo (CTL-460) tablet work under Debian Squeeze. Finally, i wrote to the
linuxwacom-discuss mailing list and Rebecca Breu pointed me to the solution.
This tablet is supported by a driver powered by the linuxwacom project, which provides a kernel module (wacom.ko), a driver ( and more utilities. The problem is that with the debian kernel 2.6.32-5 (latest in squeeze at the time when writing) the wacom module is provided, but its version (1.52) is too old and doesn’t support Bamboo Pen. We want version 1.52-pc-0.3. This also applies to debian kernel 2.6.33-2 (currently under experimental). On the other hand, version 1.7.* has a prebuilt driver which works perfectly, so there’s no need of replacing it.

0- To check out your version, type:

Xorg -version

For the wacom module version, type:

modprobe wacom
dmesg | grep wacom

1- To check if the wacom module works with your tablet, plug it in and do:

modprobe wacom
dmesg | grep -i wacom | grep -i input

If you see anything like

input: Wacom Bamboo 4x5 Pen as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.1/usb4/4-2/4-2:1.0/input/input14

then your hardware is supported and there’s no need of compiling the driver. Just skip to step 3.

2- If your hardware is not supported by your wacom module version, then you have to drop the one provided by your kernel and replace it with the latest version compiled by yourself. The following commands apply for kernel version 2.6.32-5 AMD64, but should also work for later kernels, just change 2.6.32-5 in whatever your kernel version is and -amd64 in your architecture:

sudo -s
rmmod wacom
apt-get install build-essential libx11-dev libxi-dev
x11proto-input-dev xserver-xorg-dev tk8.4-dev tcl8.4-dev libncurses5-dev linux-headers-2.6.32-5-amd64

Now that the kernel headers are installed, we have to make a small hack to let the compiling work:

sudo -s
cd /usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.32-5-amd64/include/linux/
ln -s /usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.32-5-common/include/linux/input.h
ln -s /usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.32-5-common/include/linux/input-polldev.h

After this, the system is ready to download the source and compile the wacom module. Do:

cd ~
tar -xf linuxwacom-0.8.8-9.tar.bz2
cd linuxwacom-0.8.8-9
./configure --enable-wacom --with-kernel=/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.32-5-amd64

If everything was fine, install the driver with:

cp src/2.6.30/wacom.ko /lib/modules/2.6.32-5-amd64/kernel/drivers/input/tablet/wacom.ko
depmod -a

Now unplug and replug the tablet and retry step 1 to see if the hardware has been recognized.

3- The wacom drivers are cointained in a package. Do:

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-wacom

To load the module automatically at startup, if your /etc/modules does not contain wacom, edit /etc/modules and add “wacom” in a new line at the bottom of the file.

4- Restart X (or reboot) and draw your self-portrait. Mine is here:
lik self-portrait

14 Comments May 7, 2010


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