Wacom Bamboo tablet and point of Ubuntu 10 10

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The Wacom Bamboo Pen is an excellent product, which comes with its own level of 'learning curve' and takes some getting used to while learning its capabilities. Surprisingly easy to install in and environment, the Bamboo worked well with my Ubuntu laptop and my working Desktop PC.

I did some pre-purchase research for an affordable pen and tablet, to begin working with some of my hand-drawn digital skills. I found the Wacom Bamboo to be a great beginner item, under $100 and that afternoon got my Bamboo at the local Best-Buy on my way home from work.

Installing this little USB device on a Windows based computer would child's play - insert the DVD and run installation crap, and reboot windows about 2-3 times, then plug it in and 'shazam'. But this little geek decided he didn't want to be ruled by the Ms, and I set out to install the Bamboo on my laptop running Ubuntu 10.10.

I figured "This will be easy, let's just copy/paste the comands, like so.. and simply reboot the laptop like so..."

Dig, dig, dig... Oh, whats' this little blog about Wacom's Bamboo under Ubuntu 10.10? I read everything, even the poster's comments and it looked fairly short-and-simple.

Three simple commands in a terminal window:



sudo add-apt-repository ppa:doctormo/wacom-plus

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install wacom-dkms

Then, connect your Wacom Bamboo and test to see if it's working (lsusb command):

~$ lsusb

Bus 005 Device 002: ID 056a:00d4 Wacom Co., Ltd

Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 002 Device 002: ID 045e:0745 Microsoft Corp.

Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:2514 Standard Microsystems USB 2.0 Hub

Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

A smile crept across my face, and I picked up the pen, thinking "No way.. Can't be THAT simple, can it".. I giggled with glee as I watched my mouse pointer follow on the screen as I hovered the pen inches above the tablet, and shrieked with joy as I began using my pen as a mouse.

Unfortunately for me, I have the hand-eye coordination of a sloth, so I knew this was going to be a steep learning curve, getting used to using this new device.

I recommend visiting this page on configuring GIMP and Inkscape to work with your Bamboo Pen (4x5), which contains useful information about configuring your tablet's pressure sensitivity and other things.

So, for my first attempt at using a digital tablet to draw, I present a colorful artsy squiggle of lines, and other sample brushes I created in InkScape, and then toyed a but with GIMP.

Practice makes perfect, but I know I'm going to enjoy having this new device as the control is amazing, and I look forward to the creative flow that can come much easier now that my eye isn't tied to a mouse for getting the art out of my head and onto the screen!

The Ubuntu Black Screen Of Death

Just when I didn't think things could become more interesting - they definitely became more interesting.

I am appending this portion of my article with a bit of information that may come in handy if you should have happen to you, what I had happen to me.

It happened, but I didn't think this was related to my recent installation of my Bamboo - but later I discovered it was, and it happened twice, actually. Here's what happened to me, which may happen to you, should you be in the same situation as I was (Wacom Tablet with Ubuntu 10.10)

Rebooting the computer after newly installing the Bamboo device yielded me with the Ubuntu Black Screen of Death. I was surprised at first, intrigued, and then later angry and then suddenly intrigued again to find out how quickly anyone can recover from the Ubuntu Black Screen Of Death.

The Ubuntu Black Screen Of Death is observed when your computer boots, and seems to be loading normally, but then it just stops, and your monitor remains completely blank and all hard disk activity ceases. No error messages, no nothing - just silent blackness and a dreaded feeling of death. I restarted my computer 3 times, and witnessed the same result over and over again. Despair, anguish and fear gripped me tightly, and I panicked and promptly went outside and smoked a cigarette to absorb the moment.

How To Recover From The Black Screen Of Death (After installing Wacom Bamboo Tablet).

Turn the computer on, and while the POST screen is displaying begin holding the LEFT SHIFT key. Keep holding it until you reach your Grub Screen.

Select the line item that displays (recovery mode), which is similar in nature to booting into Windows 'Safe' mode.

The recovery mode provides many options for recovering your Ubuntu operating system, and are not included as a scope of this article.There are several other resources which cover this topic, but it is not the scope of this article to provide further details, sorry.

The Recovery Menu

Once in the recovery mode menu, I selected the "failsafeX" option, which provides you the resources to reset your Xserver configuration, and give Ubuntu a slap upside the head. Now, this was the trick for me, and I don't guarantee it will work for you, because it's all related to the new installation of my Wacom Bamboo Tablet and that's all I will claim within this brief informative article.

Leave yourself a breadcrumb trail

The main purpose of this article was to do just that - leave myself a breadcrumb trail should I ever find myself in this situation again. It's also to provide others with a path to recover as I did and provide information to you regarding my experiences with the Wacom Bamboo Tablet under Ubuntu 10.10.




Scott Fleming is CEO of Music City Guru, based in Nashville, TN. An affordable Website Development company and Hosting Services provider.

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