This blog article was revised on April 16 and includes and important update.
Operating system: Linux
Desktop environment: XFCE
Tablet: WACOM Pro L
Dual ASUS 4K HiDpi monitors
This article is for Linux users who run the XFCE desktop environment and work with a dual monitor setup.
XFCE is a very efficient desktop environment that doesn’t have a GUI (graphical user interface) to configure a Wacom tablet. If you run XFCE then you need to first figure out the device name of your tablet. To do so, enter this text string exactly as stated in your terminal (no sudo required):
I happen to use a Wacome Pro L tablet and the output of xsetwacom –list is:
Wacom Intuos Pro L Pen stylus id: 9 type: STYLUS
Wacom Intuos Pro L Pad pad id: 10 type: PAD
Wacom Intuos Pro L Finger touch id: 11 type: TOUCH
Wacom Intuos Pro L Pen eraser id: 23 type: ERASER
After that, you need to run xrandr to learn how your monitors connect to the PC. Again, type this command into your terminal:
Screen 0: minimum 8 x 8, current 7680 x 2160, maximum 32767 x 32767
DVI-D-0 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI-0 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-0 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-2 connected 3840×2160+3840+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 620mm x 340mm
3840×2160 60.00*+ 30.00
DP-3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-4 connected 3840×2160+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 621mm x 341mm
3840×2160 60.00*+ 30.00
I cleaned up the above output because the lower screen resolutions are of no interest. The important parts are the two lines that begin with DP-2 and DP-4 (see bold text). Depending on how you connect, you could see HDMI-# or VGA-# and so on. Open a second terminal or write down/memorize those two names and when you do, enter this command into your terminal. Again, you don’t need to be root to do so.
xsetwacom –set “Wacom Intuos Pro L Pen stylus” MapToOutput DP-2
(If the above command is not working, then see the “UPDATE” below)
My right monitor happens to be DP-2 which could have something to do with the way I have plugged in the display port cables. If you get an error message that states:
Unable to find an output ‘DP-2’
then issue the command again but this time, replace “DP-2” (or what ever your connection happens to be) with HEAD-0 or 1 like so:
xsetwacom –set “Wacom Intuos Pro L Pen stylus” MapToOutput HEAD-0
“Something” has changed and the above command might not work anymore.
Here is the fix:
xsetwacom set “10” MapToOutput HEAD-0
When I used “HEAD-0 (zero), the command worked and and my tablet worked only on one monitor. I can not tell you how glad I was to have figured this out because the alternative would have been to once more return to KDE. By the way, if you can not make it work, then you still have the option to switch to KDE Plasma. The Plasma desktop includes a state-of-the-art configuration option that makes configuring a Wacom tablet a breeze.
Normally, I am not picky about which windows manager or desktop environment I use. The reason why I recently switched to XFCE is because of ArcoLinux which uses XFCE as the default. Yes, ArcoLinux also has many ISO images that target all well-known desktop environments but I didn’t have time to play with them as much as I would have liked to.
My previous Linux distro came with a polished KDE Plasma implementation with made graphics related tasks a breeze. Unfortunately, it didn’t do so well when it came to sharing files on the local network which is why I keep looking for a better solution. After trying Fedora Workstation, Solus, MX Linux and a few others, I came across ArcoLinux and knew right away that this is the one. The creators of ArcoLinux include two scripts named 140.xxxx and 150.xxx which make setting up a local server a snap.
The ArcoLinux website has video tutorials that explain where those scripts are and how to run them. The good news is that as soon as you do, you have a reliable local network that functions like a Swiss clock. The downside was that XFCE didn’t play nice with the Wacom tablet but as of today, this is no longer an issue.
If you are not happy with your local network setup, then you can watch this short video. I became an ArchLinux user because of how easy it was to set up local file sharing between my iMac, laptop and main workstation.
Graphics design on Linux is now a reality. Software packages such as Flowblade 2, SimpleScreenRecorder, GIMP, Krita, Blender 2.8, Timeshift and a handful of other titles provide a robust workflow. Linux has always had a superb way of configuring hardware and these days it is a no-brainer to buy a new workstation and nuke the included Windows 10 on day one. I did and never looked back.
Windows 10 is excellent for audio related work but for simple tasks, Linux is just as capable. As always, to find out what Linux is all about, you can head over to distrowatch.org and take a look at the top 100 distributions. Download some ISO images, write them to a USB stick and run them. If you happen to have a Dell computer, you simply press F12 while booting and select the USB device to boot from. Seconds later, you will be running Linux and able to see what it is all about.
Windows users can use Rufus to make a bootable USB stick. Once you have an ISO downloaded, writing the USB stick only takes a few minutes or less if it is a fast USB 3 or 3.1 version.
I hope that my notes are of help as you configure your Wacom or similar tablet with a dual monitor setup. Fell free to comment and thank you for reading.