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Wacom Bamboo Pen and openSUSE 11.3

September 23rd, 2010 by

It all started when my daughter discovered the Bamboo Pen. Naturally the tablet quickly turned into a must have accessory to her computer. After a bit of Googling I came to the conclusion that making the beast work with Linux should be possible. The prize for the effort would be a very happy young lady.

In order to avoid any potential hassle with shipping etc. we went to the local Best Buy to buy the tablet. As the store had the hardware at the same price as online retailers that decision was easy.

Once I actually had my fingers on the tablet it was time to make it work. Doing a bit more detailed research now, I found various openSUSE forum posts and various other links. Some of these were not quite consistent, others appeared to address only half the solution. Therefore, I decided to cast away most of what I had found and just concentrate on the information found on the Linux Wacom Project. The HOWTO is informative and provides all information needed to get everything working. The HOWTO does not provide the information in the linear fashion I like, when I try to get something new to work. With a bit of hoping back and forth and some pocking around I got the tablet to work.

Now to the linear summary on how to get the tablet working.

  • Install openSUSE 11.3
  • Install the necessary packages to build the code provided by the Wacom project (root access required)
    • kernel-source
    • kernel-syms
    • xorg-x11-server-sdk
    • plus make and standard build infrastructure
  • Get the sources from the Wacom download page (0.8.8 at the time of this writing). This is the kernel driver code. The included X utilities and driver code in this version will not work on openSUSE 11.3 and will not build either, that’s OK.
  • Get the X utils and driver code from the Wacom main page. The link at the time of this writing is near the top of the page and links to version 0.10.8
  • Build the kernel driver
    • Unpack the kernel driver code tar -xjvf linuxwacom-0.8.8-8.tar.bz2
    • cd linuxwacom-0.8.8-8
    • Configure the build ./configure --enable-wacom
    • Build the driver make
  • Copy the newly built driver over the driver supplied by the openSUSE kernel (root access required) cp src/2.6.30/wacom.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/tablet/
    • If you want to make a backup copy of the project provided driver make sure you store the copy outside of the modules tree, i.e. outside of /lib/modules/`uname -r`
  • Remove any updates for the driver rm /lib/modules/`uname -r`/weak-updates/updates/wacom.ko
  • Build the X11 utils and driver
    • Unpack the sources tar -xjvf xf86-input-wacom-0.10.8.tar.bz2
    • cd xf86-input-wacom-0.10.8
    • Configure the build ./configure
    • Build make
    • Install (root access required)make install
  • Create a udev rule (root access required)
    • With your favorite editor open /etc/udev/rules.d/60-wacom.rules
    • Add the following code
      # udev rules for wacom tablets.
      KERNEL!="event[0-9]*", GOTO="wacom_end"
      # Multiple interface support for stylus and touch devices.
      DRIVERS=="wacom", ATTRS{bInterfaceNumber}=="00", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}="stylus"
      DRIVERS=="wacom", ATTRS{bInterfaceNumber}=="01", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}="touch"
      # Convenience links for the common case of a single tablet. We could do just this:
      #ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", SYMLINK+="input/wacom-$env{WACOM_TYPE}"
      # but for legacy reasons, we keep the input/wacom link as the generic stylus device.
      ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}!="touch", SYMLINK+="input/wacom"
      ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}=="touch", SYMLINK+="input/wacom-touch"
      # Check and repossess the device if a module other than the wacom one
      # is already bound to it.
      ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", ACTION=="add", RUN+="check_driver wacom $devpath $env{ID_BUS}"
  • Regenerate the module dependencies depmod -e

There you go, now you can connect the tablet, fire up GIMP and be creative.

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6 Responses to “Wacom Bamboo Pen and openSUSE 11.3”

  1. chris

    That’s funny; I bought a used Bamboo One Tablet, plugged it in, and it worked!

  2. Siminin

    I have Wacom Bamboo One for a few years now and it worked perfectly on openSUSE 11.2 and 11.3. I plugged it and it worked without a problem.

  3. black screen

    Lucky you, so you are not using OpenSUSE 11.3
    I have:
    – Wacom Intuos2
    – Wacom Intuos4
    – Wacom Bamboo Fun
    None of which works in OpenSUSE 11.3. Not after fresh install from the DVD (it ships with a 2 years old Wacom driver, god knows why).
    And it doesn’t work after the on-line update, 3 months after the official suse release.
    With some tablets, it won’t even boot properly if the tables is plugged in, as input devices (mouse, keyboard, tablet) get totally fsked.
    Some tablets behave erratically, won’t transmit pen clicks.

    And now that Sax is gone, there is no graphical way to configure it.
    So either you do it the hard way (described above by Robert, thank you) or no way.

    OpenSuse packs tons of useless widgets but fails at the basics: configure graphics card, get input devices to work (Wacom), getting printer to work. You can’t even manage a print queue from KDE.
    All these things worked relatively well up to 10.3, but with KDE 4.x, it is just downhill, getting worse with each release.

    What is the point of having Linux distribution, if you have to compile the drivers and edit udev rules by yourself?
    For drivers which are GPL, available for years before the distribution was made?

  4. great article very helpful

  5. rrounsav

    Great howto! I have had to do this quite a few times with fresh installs and at every kernel update, so I created a script to install my bamboo pen & touch tablet. If anyone needs it or would like to try it out then it is available at


  6. bamboofan

    awesome!!!!!!! works fine!