Configuring graphics tablets on Linux

Command Line – xsetwacom

© Lead Image © Vasyl Nesterov,

© Lead Image © Vasyl Nesterov,

Article from Issue 212/2018

With a little extra effort, on-the-fly adjustment of your graphics tablet on Linux is possible with this command-line tool.

At first glance, Linux support for graphics tablets looks like a throwback to 15 years ago, when hardware support meant adding kernel modules and manual file configuration. However, a little digging shows that support for graphics tablets is actually strong in modern Linux, although unorthodox compared with support on Windows or OS X. A major part of that support is the command-line application xsetwacom – although it has a quirk or two of its own to overcome [1].

Graphics tablets generally consist of a tablet and a stylus, which commonly has an eraser on one end. The tablet is a representation of the computer screen, and the stylus – or in some models, fingers – are a replacement for a mouse. This arrangement allows graphic artists to work online with more precision than a mouse permits. Additionally, the stylus places far less stress on the hand, which makes it an ergonomic alternative to a mouse. (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Much like all graphics tablets, the Intuos Draw, an entry-level graphics tablet, is useful for both onscreen drawing and as an ergonomic mouse replacement. Copyright © 2017-2018 Wacom


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