Wacom tablets in GNOME 3.6

Following up from Bastien’s previous reports, GNOME 3.6 will ship with another whole set of new features for Wacom tablets support, thanks to the work of my colleague Olivier Fourdan.

Video demo

Olivier demonstrating the new features.

What’s new

A lot of work has been put in making the user experience flawless and working as expected with complex and multihead monitor layouts. In particular:

  • Wacom input devices coordinates are now automatically translated according to the monitor layout reported by Xorg (using XRandr). In a nutshell, this means that if you change display configuration or layout, and one of the displays is a screen tablet (or a tablet bound to a specific display), such changes are automatically propagated to the tablet pen devices, which will keep reporting the right coordinates.
  • Screen rotation is now correctly mirrored in the input device coordinates. Again, this is all automatically taken care for the user; for bonus points, the left-handed orientation flipping of the tablet, as set by the option in the panel, will be taken into account when rotating the input.
  • Related to these, we now have an option that allows the users to change how the screen aspect ratio influences the active input area on the tablet. By default, we map the whole input pad to the screen area, even in case they differ in aspect ratio; the new option allows instead for the active area on input pad to be cropped to the same aspect ratio of the display.
  • Last but not least, it’s now possible to map a “Switch Monitor” action to a device button, that is, to change the output a tablet is bound to on the fly directly from the tablet itself! This will make it very easy to do complex operations involving multiple monitors without having to go to the settings panel every time.

What’s next

GNOME 3.6 hasn’t been released yet, but we’re already planning features for the next 3.8 development cycle. In particular, a great feature demonstrated in the video, which I’m really looking forward to, is the introduction of an on-screen-display showing the layout of the tablet buttons, and all the action shortcuts associated with them. As you can see, the OSD itself is multihead and left-handed orientation aware.

Thanks a lot to Olivier and all the other developers who made all of this possible!


#1 Jeff on 09.12.12 at 1:37 am

Y U NO HTML5 video? ;)

#2 Paul Wise on 09.12.12 at 4:45 am

Does the input coordinates translation stuff work on wacom-based touchscreens too? I’ve been waiting for that for a while. Making it configurable would be nice too, sometimes I want to map the touchscreen to my large external monitor and draw on the touchscreen.

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#3 cosimoc on 09.12.12 at 2:02 pm

@Paul: I would expect that to work correctly, but I haven’t tried it myself. You’ll need to get in touch (no pun intended) with Olivier for more information :)

#4 Anders Brander on 09.14.12 at 8:35 am

Using a mouse in a demo demonstrating tablets… Fail ;)

#5 suvi on 09.14.12 at 9:41 am

Cool. A few years ago I aksed Wacom about linux drivers. They didn’t know and refered me to another website about an open source driver.
Is the company WACOM finally helping with linux drivers?

#6 cosimoc on 09.15.12 at 1:21 am

@suvi: yes, as far as I know Wacom also contributes to the upstream Xorg driver.

#7 bersace on 09.18.12 at 11:46 am

ImpressiveĀ !

#8 Mike on 09.21.12 at 10:16 am

With the new version wll it be possible to 1) enable/disable the touch function on Wacom Bamboo P&T tablets and 2) map the buttons on the tablet itself (not the stylus buttons)?

Also, the video is really bad quality. One can hardly recognize anything at all. And could you please give a link to the Youtube video next time, for people who don’t use Adobe Flash?

#9 Rugama on 11.12.12 at 2:37 pm

hi, nice video, but i donĀ“t known y you can help me . you see now i already installed ubuntu 12.10, gnome 3.6, but i can not using that settings, because not exists. Map buttons exists, but when i access map button is empty .. some solution ? must i download or configurate something? and how can do that? thanks , by the way if you can not help me gime a link o email to the right person that can make it ..