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An older aiptek tablet
An older aiptek tablet



This HOWTO is going to explain how to make your Aiptek tablet (USB only) work, from the kernel driver over X11 input with pressure sensitivity to the configuration of applications for making full use of all your tablet's features.

Note: Unfortunately pressure sensitivity doesn't work yet in current X11, but a patch was submitted already and will be seen some time in the future.

Aiptek is (the cheaper) one of the two major tablet manufacturers (the other one being Wacom). Most Aiptek tablets are rebranded by local distributors, so when you buy a cheap tablet in your local discounter, it'll probably be an Aiptek. lsusb should tell you the manufacturer if you want to be sure.

Installing the kernel driver

The Aiptek kernel driver is included in the main kernel tree since 2.6.23, so no additional packages are needed. Additionally to your usual USB drivers, you'll need the following:

Linux Kernel Configuration: Enabling aiptek tablets in the kernel (2.6.23+)
Device Drivers --->
    Input device support --->
        <*> Event interface
        [*] Tablets --->
             <M> Aiptek 6000U/8000U tablet support (USB)

Exit menuconfig and make the kernel.

make && make modules_install

Normally everyone has Event interface support compiled in so all you need is the Aiptek driver itself.

Try modprobeing the module:

modprobe aiptek

If you see errors (check with dmesg), install your new kernel and reboot to apply the changes.

You may also want to add the following into your udev rules:

File: /etc/udev/rules.d/85-tablet-drivers.rules
# for Aiptek (vendor: 08ca) tablets
BUS=="usb", KERNEL=="event[0-9]*", SYSFS{idVendor}=="08ca", SYMLINK+="input/aiptek_event", OWNER="root", MODE="0666"
BUS=="usb", KERNEL=="mouse[0-9]*", SYSFS{idVendor}=="08ca", SYMLINK+="input/aiptek_mouse", OWNER="root", MODE="0666" 

Warning: Everything below will probably not work fully at the moment, so don't be surprised if X won't start or at least pressure sensitivity doesn't work as expected.

Install X11 drivers and configure xorg.conf

X11 drivers

To install the most basic X11 drivers (which should be responsible for pressure sensitivity, e.g.), do

emerge xf86-input-aiptek .

Pressure sensitivity doesn't work with <=x11-7.2, you have to install 7.3 (or later) and also the unofficial repository version of xf86-input-aiptek. Installing xorg-x11-7.3 is beyond this HOWTO's scope, but it is in portage already (2008-02-21). To install the most recent aiptek driver, make sure you have git installed and in the directory of your choice do:

git clone git://

and in the aiptek directory do the usual

./ && make && su

and then as root

make install

and replace /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/ with a symlink on /usr/local/lib/xorg/modules/input/


Now the only thing left is to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Namely you need a section to add the tablet as an InputDevice and that device must be registered in the ServerLayout.

Warning: This code used to work some years ago, it may or may not work with a current version of X11

Make sure that your normal mouse's device is /dev/input/mouse0 or whatever is appropriate and not /dev/input/mice since that collects events from all devices together.

Warning: Make sure to set your zMax to some value! The current release of xf86-input-aiptek (1.1.0) does not include sanity checking on this property, and will clip pressure sensitivity to -1 if this is not set.
File: /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "pen"
        Driver          "aiptek"
        Option          "Device"        "/dev/input/aiptek_event"
        Option          "Type"          "Stylus"
        Option          "Mode"          "absolute"
        Option          "Cursor"        "Stylus"
        Option          "USB"           "on"
        Option          "KeepShape"     "on"
        Option          "DebugLevel"    "2"
        Option          "zMin"          "35"
        Option          "zMax"          "1024"
# A special Layout for the use of a graphic tablet
# Call with "startx -- -layout tablet
Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "tablet"
    Screen "Screen 1"
    InputDevice "Mouse1"                "CorePointer"
    InputDevice "Keyboard1"             "CoreKeyboard"

#   Now the tablet devices
    InputDevice "pen"                   "AlwaysCore"

# Don't use the following line instead of the one above 
# unless you are very brave, it made my X totally unusable.
# ** You have been warned! **
#    InputDevice "pen"                   "SendCoreEvents"
# ** end of warning **


Feel free to update these lines with a working configuration.

Configure your favourite applications

If you want to test whether your device works in X, install >=x11-misc/xinput-1.3.0 and test your device with

xinput test pen




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Last modified: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 02:19:00 +0000 Hits: 2,855