Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet under Ubuntu 10.10

I bought one of these USB graphics tablets for my daughter for Christmas. It turns out that it’s not quite plug and play on her Ubuntu-powered netbook – well, not until a few extra commands have been entered in a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:doctormo/wacom-plus
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wacom-dkms

After this the tablet is hot-pluggable, and acts (at least initially) as another mouse-like device. I’ve yet to try it with tablet-aware applications like Inkscape or The Gimp, both of which will need a little additional configuration to recognise and make use of the advanced features of the tablet (pressure sensitivity etc) but it’s looking good so far.

A little playing with the configuration of The Gimp has proved that the tablet works perfectly; we now have detection of pressure working, allowing the rendering of variable stroke-width depending on the pressure applied to the pen. All in all I’m very impressed – having had the opportunity to experiment a little, I’m now wondering if I could use one to create free-hand drawings in presentations, which I suspect could be very effective.


33 thoughts on “Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet under Ubuntu 10.10

  1. mmnmnm when i run this command in my laptop hp pavillion dv2000 (linux mint 10) the Wacom bamboo pen works, but when i restart the graphics dosnt work and my laptop dies

    • I’m afraid I don’t run Mint, so I’m not sure I can help you.

      However, what this is doing is causing kernel modules (drivers) for the tablet to be automatically updated to match the level of kernel Ubuntu is running. I’m not at all confident that a PPA designed for Ubuntu kernels will always work with Mint, even though Mint is based on Ubuntu.


  2. Thanks for the tip – but I don’t seem to be able to download the DoctorMo PPA. The key doesn’t come through when I enter the code above in Ubuntu 10.10 terminal. Is there something that needs to be done first?

    And yes, I’m a complete newbie to Ubuntu/Linux.

    • It seems to be working fine for me (excuse the formatting):

      me@computer:~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:doctormo/wacom-plus
      [sudo] password for me:
      Executing: gpg --ignore-time-conflict --no-options --no-default-keyring --secret-keyring /etc/apt/secring.gpg --trustdb-name /etc/apt/trustdb.gpg --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg --primary-keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv C7B9C50274F4E032B70AB2EA15A579BF113659DF
      gpg: requesting key 113659DF from hkp server keyserver.ubuntu.com
      gpg: key 113659DF: public key "Launchpad PPA for Martin Owens" imported
      gpg: Total number processed: 1
      gpg: imported: 1 (RSA: 1)

      The only things I can think of are a networking issue, or perhaps the Ubuntu keyserver was temporarily down when you tried this.

      If all else fails you can add the PPA to your repros manually. It’s been a long time, but I think you can ignore the keys and just be prompted before installing anything from it. Look in /etc/apt/sources.list.d, create a file called doctormo-wacom-plus-maverick.list containing:

      deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/doctormo/wacom-plus/ubuntu maverick main
      deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/doctormo/wacom-plus/ubuntu maverick main

      Then do the update and install as before, and with a little more prompting for permissions, you should be OK. I hope!

      • Thanks, Richard it IS a mystery, as I have an internet connection but continue to get this message:

        Executing: gpg –ignore-time-conflict –no-options –no-default-keyring –secret-keyring /etc/apt/secring.gpg –trustdb-name /etc/apt/trustdb.gpg –keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg –primary-keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv C7B9C50274F4E032B70AB2EA15A579BF113659DF
        gpg: requesting key 113659DF from hkp server keyserver.ubuntu.com
        gpg: key 113659DF: “Launchpad PPA for Martin Owens” not changed
        gpg: Total number processed: 1
        gpg: unchanged: 1

      • . . . I told you I was a total noob when it comes to Linux; just went back thru your instructions and realized I needed to do those commands sequentially. DOH! Working perfectly now – thanks again for your help.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a linux noob. I downloaded it yesterday and when I found out my pressure sensitivity didn’t work I was like nooooooo. I tried so many things but this is the only thing that has worked!!! 🙂 I have only tried it for GIMP but it works there so I am assuming that it should work in other programs too. 🙂 Thanks so much. 🙂

    • Bear in mind that the pressure sensitivity will only work in those programs that have been specially written to recognise and use it, such as Gimp.

      In other programs that haven’t been specially written to use the tablet, it will just act like a mouse. The different form factor of the tablet may still make those programs easier to use, of course.

  4. Hi. I’ve entered the commands in the terminal as you’ve instructed. I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do then.
    My tablet (Wacom Bamboo One CTF-430) seems to operate just as before I followed your instructions and I still can’t find a way to configure it to mouse-mode.

    • Your tablet isn’t one of the very recent ones (like the Bamboo Pen) so I would expect the standard drivers to work just fine with it. No need to follow my instructions to update the drivers, though that shouldn’t hurt any either, just plug it in, and it ought to work.

      At that point, tracing on the tablet with the pen should make the cursor move around the screen in the same way as you can with a mouse. I assume that you could then configure pressure sensitivity etc in appropriate applications, just as I was able to with my daughters Wacom Pen tablet.

      Unfortunately, as I have a different model tablet to you, I’m not sure I can help much more. Sorry 😦

  5. I followed instructions as above and wacom-dkms installed without error. However my wacom is no recognised when it’s plugged in.
    I see it in lsusb:
    Bus 001 Device 009: ID 056a:006a Wacom Co., Ltd
    But it does not appear in /proc/bus/input/devices
    When I look in dmsg nothing seems to happen either when it is plugged in..
    Any suggestions on how to proceed ? -running mint 10.
    Thanks, Alex

    • I don’t run Mint so probably can’t help you much. However, I believe Mint is generally based on older versions of Ubuntu, so I would suspect that since this is a PPA containing kernel drivers, it’s not going to work with Mint. Your best option may be to build the drivers yourself from the source code. Check out http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/linuxwacom/index.php?title=Main_Page for the information to get yourself started. Hope that helps – good luck!

      • Hi Richard,
        Thanks for your reply!
        The build seems to go fine, I did a reinstall, which gave no errors:
        sudo apt-get install –reinstall wacom-dkms
        Reading package lists… Done
        Building dependency tree
        Reading state information… Done
        0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 reinstalled, 0 to remove and 17 not upgraded.
        Need to get 0B/480kB of archives.
        After this operation, 0B of additional disk space will be used.
        (Reading database … 148541 files and directories currently installed.)
        Preparing to replace wacom-dkms (using …/wacom-dkms_0.8.10.2-1ubuntu2_all.deb) …

        ——– Uninstall Beginning ——–
        Module: wacom
        Kernel: 2.6.35-22-generic (amd64)

        Status: Before uninstall, this module version was ACTIVE on this kernel.

        – Uninstallation
        – Deleting from: /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/kernel/../extra//
        – Original module
        – Archived original module found in the DKMS tree
        – Moving it to: /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/kernel/../extra//

        Removing original_module from DKMS tree for kernel 2.6.35-22-generic (amd64)

        DKMS: uninstall Completed.

        Deleting module version:
        completely from the DKMS tree.
        Unpacking replacement wacom-dkms …
        Processing triggers for man-db …
        Setting up wacom-dkms ( …
        Loading new wacom- DKMS files…
        First Installation: checking all kernels…
        Building only for 2.6.35-22-generic
        Building for architecture amd64
        Building initial module for 2.6.35-22-generic

        Running module version sanity check.
        – Original module
        – Found /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/extra/wacom.ko
        – Storing in /var/lib/dkms/wacom/original_module/2.6.35-22-generic/amd64/
        – Archiving for uninstallation purposes
        – Installation
        – Installing to /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/kernel/../extra//


        DKMS: install Completed.

        I can load the module manually with no errors:
        sudo insmod /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/extra/wacom.ko

        modinfo then shows the following:
        modinfo /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/extra/wacom.ko
        filename: /lib/modules/2.6.35-22-generic/extra/wacom.ko
        license: GPL
        description: USB Wacom tablet driver
        author: Vojtech Pavlik
        license: GPL
        description: USB Wacom tablet driver
        author: Vojtech Pavlik
        srcversion: 7445F94BADDD88695837DDA
        alias: usb:v056Ap0047d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00E3d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00E2d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap009Fd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap009Ad*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0093d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0090d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00CCd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00F0d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00CEd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00C7d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00C6d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00C5d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap003Fd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00BCd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00BBd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00BAd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B9d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B8d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B7d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B5d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B4d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B3d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B2d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B1d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00B0d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0045d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0044d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0043d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0042d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0041d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00DBd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00DAd*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D8d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D7d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D6d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D0d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D3d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D2d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D4d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00D1d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0003d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00C2d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00C0d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap00C4d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0039d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0038d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0037d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0035d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0034d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0033d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0032d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0031d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0030d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0024d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0023d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0022d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0021d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0020d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0069d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0065d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0064d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0063d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0062d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0061d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0060d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0019d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0018d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0017d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0016d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0015d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0014d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0013d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0012d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0011d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0010d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        alias: usb:v056Ap0000d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
        vermagic: 2.6.35-22-generic SMP mod_unload modversions

        I’m not sure, but the aliases seem to be USB id’s and 056a:006a is not in that list.
        Could that be the problem ?
        It’s a brand new bamboo one pen v2, perhaps it is not included in the driver, any idea how that could be done ?


        • It certainly looks like you have a different USB id than the ones that drivers are looking for. That would agree with the fact that although the USB connection is enumerated (and so shows up in lsusb) you’re not getting any joy with the tablet. How you go about resolving it, I don’t know.

          There is an interesting comment here (http://bit.ly/miSg76) that seems to indicate a possible issue with missing configuration files, but I suspect its Ubuntu specific. The detailed installation instructions that it points on to might be of more help to you though?

          After that, I think you need to contact someone from the Linux Wacom Project.

          Hope you get it resolved – good luck!

    • Check out the thread of comments (further up) started by Alex, on May 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm. If you also have a Bamboo One Pen V2, then it’s possible that these drivers don’t yet support your device. Alex has made the driver maintainers aware of the problem, and it sounds as if they are in the process of incorporating the necessary changes, but those changes may not yet have propagated as far as the PPA that doctormo maintains for Ubuntu. If this is the case then you can either do as Alex did, and compile the drivers from source, making updates as needed (follow the links in his comments to see how), or wait until those changes are incorporated into doctormo’s PPA.

  6. Pingback: Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet in Ubuntu | TurboLinux Blog

  7. Thank you posting this. Your information was perfect, and I am now enjoying the use of my tablet under Ubuntu 10.10.

    Out of the box for me, the pad and stylus had to be ‘rotated’ using the following script I found, to get it working so the bamboo tablet was correctly seated for me.

    I run this script in my startup applications so I don’t have to rotate the tablet/pen when it boots.

    To view your devices list:

    xsetwacom list

    Run this script to rotate your tablet/pen/stylus/eraser to the way you want it positioned.



    # Find the line in “xrandr -q –verbose” output that contains current screen orientation and “strip” out current orientation.

    rotation=”$(xrandr -q –verbose | grep ‘connected’ | egrep -o ‘\) (normal|left|inverted|right) \(‘ | egrep -o ‘(normal|left|inverted|right)’)”

    # Using current screen orientation proceed to rotate screen and input devices.

    case “$rotation” in
    # rotate to the left
    #xrandr -o left
    echo “Rotation in XRANR is currently ” $rotation
    echo “Setting Tablet to CCW rotation”
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Finger pad” rotate ccw
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Finger touch” rotate ccw
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen eraser” rotate ccw
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen stylus” rotate ccw
    # rotate to inverted
    #xrandr -o inverted
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Finger touch” rotate half
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen eraser” rotate half
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen stylus” rotate half
    # rotate to the right
    #xrandr -o right
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Finger touch” rotate cw
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen eraser” rotate cw
    xsetwacom set “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen stylus” rotate cw
    # rotate to normal
    #xrandr -o normal
    xsetwacom set stylus rotate none
    xsetwacom set eraser rotate none
    xsetwacom set touch rotate none

    If your tablet string is different than “Wacom Bamboo 4×5….” replace it with the name of your product. Remember to keep the quotes.

    Thanks again for your post.

  8. i did the three steps u told, but finally it says

    module build for the currently running kernel was skipped as the kernel source for this kernel was not installed.

    please help me – what to do now

    • Sounds like you need to install the kernel headers. Do a “uname -a” and the output should be something like:

      Linux your-machine-name 2.6.35-30-generic-pae #56-Ubuntu SMP Mon Jul 11 21:51:12 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

      From that you can see I am running the generic-pae kernel type. You might just be running the generic kernel type. Then enter “sudo apt-get install kernel-headers-generic” (or kernel-headers-generic-pae, or whatever) and when it completes, repeat the “sudo apt-get install wacom-dkms” step, which I’d hope would now work for you.

  9. I’ve been using ubuntu for 3 years. Surprised by myself that I can survive so far. There were though times but i realized i’ve been so productive with this OS. Just by trial and error.

    After replacing Helena with this Maverick, couldnt get my wacom back to normal. It always point out the corner.
    It was also take a lot of time to install wacom in Helena, but dont know why I can do the same thing now with Maverick ( Actually I dont really remember what was Ive done before 😀 )

    Should I uninstall wacom utility from synaptic first then redo on terminal?
    and how to enter the key?
    Terminal says:

    W: GPG error: http://ppa.launchpad.net maverick Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY FC0D5CCAEDFBD1F9

    Thank you, Richard

    • Without knowing exactly what state your machine is in, it’s difficult to offer advice. Since you are still on Maverick I think I would start by entering, at a terminal, the following four commands:

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:doctormo/wacom-plus
      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install wacom-dkms
      sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

      At the end of that, I would expect that all the Wacom code would be at the latest level available to you.

      The first command (add-apt-repository) will normally take care of adding the key for you. If you are getting errors in response to that then I suspect you have other problems – either with the configuration of your repository sources, or with your connectivity to the network, and hence the access to doctormo’s PPA. You’d need to resolve those before any of this will work reliably.

      Hope that helps

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