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Projects/Tablet Support

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Thanks to the Sugar Learning environment and a suite of wonderful activities, the XO laptop makes an excellent place to develop childrens' creative abilities. However, the laptop's built in touch pad and pen tablet lack accuracy and sensitivity.

With proper software support, a Wacom Bamboo or similar inexpensive tablet enables students to achieve their artistic goals more effectively.

This project aims to add graphics tablet support throughout the Sugar Learning environment.

Project Members

  • Wade Brainerd - Activity developer
  • Chris Marshall - Open source developer & community member
  • Ping Cheng - Wacom Linux developer

Project objectives

This project will enable XO 1.0 and XO 1.5 laptops running Sugar to utilize graphics tablets (such as the Wacom Bamboo) at the driver, OS and activity level. These tablets are fairly cheap and provide a significant upgrade to the XO drawing experience.

The result will be an installer of some sort which adds tablet support to Sugar, as well as patches to Paint and other activities to support the tablet. An additional objective will be to get these features added into the official OLPC and deployment builds.

Finally, a Sugar developer tutorial will be written describing how to integrate tablet support into Sugar activities.

Plan of action

  1. Build wacom.ko kernel modules for each supported kernel.
  2. Develop an xorg.conf, based on the OLPC version, which enables tablet functionality in Sugar.
  3. Develop an install script which detects the current build and installs the linuxwacom package, wacom kernel module, and xorg.conf.
  4. Develop a Sugar control panel extension to adjust tablet sensitivity and button mappings.
  5. Test activities like Paint, Colors!, Physics and eToys, including any effects on sharing. Add pressure and tablet button / slider support where appropriate.
  6. Write an activity developer guide for integrating tablet support into activities.
  7. Work with OLPC and deployments to integrate.

OS builds targeted

As of 3/6/2011 we are targeting XO software version 10.1.3 (build 860) and future builds.


This project started the first week of March 2011, with delivery of 3 XO 1.5s.

The following schedule reflects our current plans, and will be updated as progress is made.

Month 1

March 2011

  • Assemble support network and publish plans.
  • Determine targeted OS builds.
  • Set up kernel driver development environment on XO.

Month 2

April 2011

  • Build wacom.ko kernel modules.
  • Build xorg.conf.

These may spill into Month 3:

  • Develop installer script.
  • Test basic features on targeted OS builds.
  • Release preview version for wider testing.

Month 3

May 2011

  • Build and test control panel extension.
  • Release control panel for wider testing.
  • Propose patch and Sugar feature proposal for the control panel extension.

Month 4

June 2011

  • Integrate tablet support into activities: Paint, Colors!, Physics, Etoys.

Month 5

July 2011

  • Write activity developers guide.
  • Release activities for wider testing.

Month 6

July 2011

  • Work with OLPC and deployments to integrate tablet support into future official builds.

Progress reports

Progress and obstacles will be reported via the sugar-devel and olpc-devel mailing lists.

This wiki page will be updated throughout the project as tasks are checked off.