I use tablet instead of mouse. Why? It feels more natural when compared to mouse especially after you get used to it. And freehand drawing in Gimp becomes much easier and gives better results when you replace you mouse with tablet device. The only tablet manufacturer with good Linux support (provided by the community) is Wacom. Linux Wacom driver consists of kernel module and Xorg driver. Latest Wacom kernel module and Wacom Xorg driver can be found at Linux Wacom project Sourceforge site. It is very important for me to have my tablet in top shape on my Linux PCs so I often grab latest driver from projects Git repository and go trough process of compiling it. You might have some brand new Wacom tablet without support in your current Ubuntu distribution so you should do the same. Problem is that Git repository can sometimes be in semiusefull state because, after all it is the place where development is taking place.
Installing Wacom tablet driver from Ubuntu PPA
Better way to keep up with the development of Wacom Linux driver is to add Irie Shinsukes PPA to the list of your repositories. This way you can be sure that at least someone tested Git driver before you start using it. From my experience, Irie PPA is rock solid and hasn't ever let me down with bad driver release from Git. After adding Irie Shinsukes PPA you will receive Wacom driver updates the same way you receive other updates. Here's what you should do if you are running current Ubuntu distribution (Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick at the time I'm writing this):
First thing is to add Irie Wacom PPA to the list of your repositories.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:irie/wacom
After adding new repository we must update list of packages:
sudo apt-get update
Linux Wacom driver consists of two parts. Kernel module and Xorg driver. Now we will install kernel module from Irie Wacom PPA.
sudo apt-get install dkms wacom-dkms
Last thing is to update Xorg driver from Irie Wacom PPA repository.
sudo apt-get upgrade
Now we must restart our PC. If everything works fine or better than before, great.
Removing Wacom tablet driver Ubuntu PPAIf you want you can easily revert your Wacom driver using ppa-purge application. First we make sure that ppa-purge is installed:
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
Now we remove Wacom kernel module. After this step Ubuntu will use Wacom kernel module that came with your current kernel release instead of the one compiled from Irie Wacom PPA.
sudo apt-get remove wacom-dkms
Last thing is to purge Irie Wacom PPA from your list of repositories and to downgrade Wacom Xorg driver.
sudo ppa-purge ppa:irie/wacom
After reboot Ubuntu will once again use default Wacom driver.
Tweaking Wacom tablet in Ubuntu LinuxFor help tweaking Wacom driver you can visit one of my older post about Wacom tablet configuration on Linux: Linux and Wacom tablets
Please comment if something isn't working and I will help you update Wacom driver on your Ubuntu box. Cheers.