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Tabula Mutata

Tabula Mutata is a command line tool written in bash for managing configurations for a Wacom tablet in Linux using the xf86-input-wacom drivers.


Since switching to Linux as my primary operating system I have been trying to duplicate the tablet configuration I have been used to using the official Wacom drivers on macOS. I have tried many desktop environments in Linux, and I have settled upon KDE currently. Cinnamon's tablet configurator could replicate my configuration. KDE's tablet configurator software is widely praised, but I find it lacking and its interface unnecessarily confusing.

The main feature I use concerning the buttons on the tablet is the button in the center of the touch wheel which in Wacom's official driver is strictly used to toggle between four different configurations for the touch wheel itself, denoted by a small LED. This isn't the default on KDE, and there isn't a way to configure it. So, if I wanted to have this feature I needed to make it happen myself. Tabula Mutata is the result of my efforts.

This is strictly designed to scratch my own itch, so right now it is configured for my own Wacom Intuos 4 XL tablet with my preferred configuration. I am open to expanding it in the future to be more generic and configurable without editing the executable if others are interested.


Tabula Mutata has the following dependencies:

  • docopts
  • systemd
  • xbindkeys
  • xdotool (only on GNOME)
  • X11

Tabula Mutata is made up of 4 parts:

  1. Executable: tabulamutata
    tabulamutata should be installed at /usr/local/bin/tabulamutata
  2. Udev rule: tabulamutata.rules
    tabulamutata.rules should be installed at /etc/udev/rules.d/tabulamutata.rules
  3. Systemd unit file: tabulamutata.service
    tabulamutata.service should be installed at /etc/systemd/system/.xbindkeysrc
  4. Xbindkeys configuration file: xbindkeysrc
    xbindkeysrc should be installed at ~/.xbindkeysrc

Following installation of the files enable and run the systemd unit file to get rolling:

systemctl enable tabulamutata.service
systemctl start tabulamutata.service


GNOME is a bit different. GNOME is incapable of registering anything but left, middle, and right clicking on mice whenever X11 has buttons for many more (see for more information). This means that binding tabulamutata toggle-touch-wheel to button 42 isn't possible. The workaround is to instead use xdotool. In GNOME's keyboard shortcuts settings add a custom shortcut and bind tabulamutata toggle-touch-wheel to Shift + Alt + Super + Home. Tabulamutata will automatically use this shortcut combination when using GNOME for toggling the touch wheel.


The executable (tabulamutata) has three subcommands:

  1. init
    This is run by the systemd unit file and sets up the tablet.
  2. set-permissions
    This is a command meant to be run as root that sets the permissions of the LED folders. This usually shouldn't need to be run unless the tablet wasn't initialized properly.
  3. toggle-touch-wheel
    This command is run by xbindkeys where it is bound to the button in the middle of the touch wheel, causing the configuration for the touch wheel to change

The udev rule tabulamutata.rules is used to run the systemd unit file (tabulamutata.service) to configure the tablet when the tablet is plugged in or when the computer is booted up.


A command line tool written in bash for managing configurations for a Wacom tablet in Linux using the xf86-input-wacom drivers






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