Wacom Intuos Photo and CentOS 6

I've had a Wacom Intuos 5x4 since 1988 or so. But support for the serial protocol it used has disappeared. What's more, my tablet was getting really crusty over nearly 20 years of use. So I went and bought a Wacom Intuos Photo, which has a smaller, wider surface (which is useful given I have 2 screens) but also can use a finger instead of a pen.

Of course, the new tablet didn't work out of the box. Well, it nearly worked.

Back in the day, I patched wacom_drv for XFree86 to get it working. Things have changed greatly since then. On modern Linux, the driver is in the kernel (wacom.ko) which creates an input and event device. X.org then uses HAL to enumerate input devices and HAL also provides hints on how to configure them. The long and short is we no longer need to mess around in xorg.conf when we change hardware. However, it means it gets very hard to debug when one of those layers does something annoying.

The easy way to get an Wacom Intuos Photo, Draw, Art to work on CentOS 6 is to install the backports of linuxwacom drivers. If you are running the stock 2.6.32 kernel, everything will Just Work.

I'm using the elrepo's 4.10 kernel-ml. This gets lm-sensors working for my motherboard and removes an annoying bug with my PS/2 keyboard.

In 4.10 kernel, the wacom driver is recognizing the tablet and doing it's job : creating 3 input event IDs one for the pad, one for the stylus and one for finger touch. However, lshal is rejecting the finger touch. I traced it down to HAL_PROP_BUTTON_TYPE not being set when hald-probe-input is called. This means the stylus automatically works on X.org, but touch doesn't.

To get finger touch to work on X.org, I had to force things. First, I need to create a symlink to the finger event ID using udev, then a partial config file for X.org :

/usr/local/lib/udev/wacom-type.sh will output a short name for each device it is called on. Make sure this script is executable!


name=$(cat /sys/$DEVPATH/device/name)
# echo "$DEVPATH=$name" >>/tmp/wacom-dev.txt

shopt -s nocasematch

if [[ $name =~ Finger ]] ; then
    echo finger
elif [[ $name =~ Pen ]] ; then
    echo pen
elif [[ $name =~ Pad ]] ; then
    echo pad
    echo unknown

exit 0

/etc/udev/rules.d/99-wacom.rules convinces udevd to call the above when the tablet is detected. It also convinces udevd to create a symlink in /dev/input/wacom-finger. Note that I restrict to 056a:033c, which is a Wacom Intuos Draw/Photo/Art small version. You can find the USB ID of your tablet with lsusb.

# Will create /dev/input/wacom-finger, I hope
ACTION!="add|change", GOTO="my_wacom_end"
KERNEL!="event*", GOTO="my_wacom_end"

ENV{ID_VENDOR_ID}!="056a", GOTO="my_wacom_end"
ENV{ID_MODEL_ID}=="033c", PROGRAM=="/usr/local/lib/udev/wacom-type.sh", SYMLINK+="input/wacom-%c"


Test the above by doing udevadm control --reload-rules, unplug tablet, wait, plug in tablet, then ls -l /dev/input and you should see:

lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root      7 Mar 22 15:50 wacom-finger -> event11
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root      7 Mar 22 15:50 wacom-pad -> event12
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root      7 Mar 22 15:50 wacom-pen -> event10

The numbers after event will change each time you reboot or replug the tablet.

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/wacom.conf will finally convince X.org to use the Wacom finger event id as a touch pad.

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "Finger"
    Driver "wacom"
    Option "Vendor" "Wacom"
    Option "AutoServerLayout" "on"
    Option "Type" "touch"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom-finger"
    Option "Mode" "Absolute"
    Option "Touch" "on"
    Option "Gesture" "off"
#    Option "Tilt" "on"
    Option "Threshold" "20"
    Option "Suppress" "6"
    Option "USB"    "On"

I'd like to very much thank whot and jigpu who spent an impressive amount of time helping me over IRC.

UPDATE: 24 hours later, I have found a problem with the approach. If you unplug and replug the tablet, the Finger event ID will change. And while the wacom-finger symlink will be updated, X.org will not know that it's changed and hold onto the old event ID. This means finger will no longer work after replugging the tablet, at least until you restart X.org.

UPDATE: 1 year later and kernel-ml has gone to 4.16, which won't work. 4.15.15 is the last version that does work.


Linux console

So I've finally upgraded Corey. By "upgrade", I mean "replaced every last component except the PSU." So basically it's a replacement.

This means I'm now running CentOS 6 on my desktop ("So soon!?" shut up). It also means I have to fix all the little annoying things about CentOS 6. One of which is that modern kernels us a framebuffer, which switches the console to illegibly small text. The solution is to put video=640x480 or video=800x600 on your kernel command line. Ideally in grub.conf.