Try XP-PEN official driver for Linux

Circumstances

I replaced my display to new larger one.

Then, I decided also to replace my LCD tablet to a smaller non-LCD pen tablet because there has been no space for it.

As a Linux user, the trouble with such peripherals is that there are often no official drivers available for Linux.

Of Course, for Wacom products, which is the most major peripherals brand, there is an unofficial driver developed by volunteers so it can be used without problems... but Wacom is too expensive for me.

So I research more inexpensive tablets, and knew that XP-PEN has a genuine Linux driver.

About XP-PEN's driver for Linux.

Download|XP-PEN official website

I search review about the driver, on the net12, and found that the driver as of 2020 needed to be run with administrator privileges every time you used it, and it didn't even reside in background. It was clearly inconvenient as a driver.

I couldn't give up, so I downloaded and checked the driver. Then, as below, it seems to contain not executable file but installing script.

xp-pen-pentablet_3.1.0.210331.x86_64 $ tree
tree -L 1                        
.
├── App
├── install.sh
└── uninstall.sh

I guess this driver would become resident program. So, I decided to try it.

What I used

Product

. XP-PEN Deco 01 V2. Official Website
Amazon (advertisement)

Drivers

xp-pen-pentablet_3.1.0.210331.x86_64

The newer version (XP-PEN-pentablet-3.1.4.210623-1.x86_64) was released while I was writing this article, but it didn't change anything about the issues in this article.

Try Driver

The version of Linux I am using is as follows

uname -r
5.4.105-1-MANJARO

Installing the driver

The contents of the driver are like this

xp-pen-pentablet_3.1.0.210331.x86_64 $ tree
tree -L 5                        
.
├── App
│   ├── etc
│   │   └── xdg
│   │       └── autostart
│   │           └── xppentablet.desktop
│   ├── lib
│   │   └── udev
│   │       └── rules.d
│   │           └── 10-xp-pen.rules
│   └── usr
│       ├── lib
│       │   └── pentablet
│       │       ├── conf
│       │       ├── LGPL
│       │       ├── lib
│       │       ├── pentablet
│       │       ├── pentablet.sh
│       │       ├── platforms
│       │       ├── plugins
│       │       ├── qt.conf
│       │       ├── resource.rcc
│       │       └── translations
│       └── share
│           ├── applications
│           │   └── xppentablet.desktop
│           └── icons
│               └── pentablet.png
├── install.sh
└── uninstall.sh

18 directories, 11 files

It seems to copy etc lib usr in App directly into /. As far as I can see, there are no conflict files in my PC, so it seemed okay.

Installing

$ sudo ./install.sh                                 
/home/fluo10/Downloads/xp-pen-pentablet_3.1.0.210331.x86_64/.
Driver installed successfully, please restart and use it.

I rebooted and it's ready to use.

About UI

Resident

taskbar

Even after close configure window, the icon showed up in the KDE taskbar, indicating that it is resident.After close configure window,

Settings screen.

setting window

It seemed to have all the functions I can think of, such as assigning between a display and input area, shortcuts, importing/exporting , and so on.

Of cource ,the aspect ratio of the ultra-wide LCD display doesn't match the one of the pen tablet, but fortunately, I didn't need to be able to select the entire area for the display by tablet because I need some space to open documents as references and they don't need to be edited.

So I assigned the whole recognition area of the tablet to the left side of the display with the aspect rasio intact and the full height.

The maximum value of the recognition area of the pen tablet was 1000:625, so I manually assigned it to 2304:1440.

Some menus are hard to read

This may be due to my desktop environment because the Linux desktops have different themes and colors.

Any way, in the above screenshot, the value of display size is difficult to read due to the light font color. The drop down lists about shortcut button also makes hard to be recognize if the menu was open or not.

Behaviors that seems to be a bug

I found three problems that seems to be a bug when I used it for a while. 3.

The app quits.

If the main configure window is closed while the menu that opened by the gear button in the upper right corner is still opened, the driver will stop, so I need to restart the driver.

No tilt detection

With the driver, the tilt was not detected. Strangely enough, without driver, the tilt was detected.

Unrecognized or abnormal input may occur

I don't know how to fix it other than reconnecting the USB. 4.

In my case, I had a USB switcher to switch input destination to Linux desktop PC, virtual Windows for gaming and home server, so I could make it re-detect without plugging and unplugging the USB physically, but otherwise I think it would be quite inconvenient.

Other things I noticed

The settings about aspect ratio will reset if the resolution of the display changes

It seems that if you use When I halve the width of the display to use PBP function of display, the recognition range will be reset. Well, I guess it's a rare case that the size of their display needs to changed frequently, so I won't complain about this.

But ideally, for me, It would be more convenient to maintain the settings, or to be able to read the configuration via shell to enable to reconfigure it along with the display resolution.

Finally

I can't deny that many things are still not stable.

In my case, I don't use tilt detection, I can easily re-recognize with a USB switcher, and I don't use this pen tablet often so it's not too inconvenient for me. Taking account of the reasonable price, I'm satisfied. However, It is difficult for me to recommend it to others at this point (July 2021).

However, during the past year, it has come to be resident, or there was an update during the three months that I am writing this article 5, then it seems that improvements have been made properly, so I have hopes for the future.

Appendex: behavior without the official driver

The behavior when the pen tablet is connected before installing the official driver was below.

  • Pen tablet was detected.
    • Pressure and tilt were also detected.
  • The buttons on tablet was allocated keyboard shortcuts such as ctrl+s by default, and they worked.
  • I couldn't found how to change the settings.

The default shortcuts allocated to bottun

I thought the stylus would be detected fine, but I didn't expect the button on pen tablet would be working. So I dug a little deeper.

showkey -a
Press any keys - Ctrl-D will terminate this program
b        98 0142 0x62 # Button 1 on tablet body
e       101 0145 0x65 # Button 2 on tablet body
i       105 0151 0x69 # Button 3 on tablet body
         32 0040 0x20 # Button 4 on tablet body
^[^Z     27 0033 0x1b # Button 5 on tablet body
         26 0032 0x1a #
^S       19 0023 0x13 # Button 6 on tablet body
# Not detected          Button 7 on tablet body
# Not detected          Button 8 on tablet body
。      227 0343 0xe3 # The nib side button on stylus
        128 0200 0x80 # The tail side button on stylus
        130 0202 0x82

The buttons that could not be detected are as follows

  • The bottom two on the body side
    It seems that Konsole, the terminal emulator running showkey, picks them up as shortcuts to change font size, ctrl + +(or -), so showkey couldn't detect them.
  • Button on the tail of Stylus
    • At least it seems not a right click.
3

Normally, I should not publish such issues on my blog but report manufacturer directly, but I'm not a conversationalist, so I've not had the guts to contact them directly.

4

I have had a similar problem with a wireless mouse, so this could also be a problem on the my Linux PC side.

5

As I mentioned above, the problems described in this post were not fixed so far.