X11 SummaSketch Driver?

Dan dan.btown at hotmail.de
Thu May 12 09:14:43 UTC 2011

Thx. for your prompt replies.
> Did you actually use this driver in the past?
Yes. I can positivly confirm this driver has worked in the past. It 
could be used with the mouse or touchpad in parallel. The working is 
such that when you put the "cursor" or "puck" on the tablet, the pointer 
jumps to the respective place on the screen, from where you can move it 
away using the mouse. The pointer jumps back to the original position as 
soon as you touch the puck again. We've used our tablets with their 
styluses and 4-button pucks, which was both OK with the X11 driver. (The 
protocol indicates if a 4-button puck, a 16-button puck, or the stylus 
is connected to the tablet.)

I have a SummaSketch III ("MM III 1201") in front of me (sensitive area: 
12x12 inch, but larger tablets exist, I think up to DIN A3 landscaped, 
or so, with a model number of "17something"), and an earlier model sits 
in a box waiting for light (some SummaSketch II model). The tablets have 
been in wide use in the 1990ies with CAD software and are very robust. 
Several devices of other brands emulate their standard protocol, though 
simple, which is called just the "MM" protocol. The original SummaSketch 
tablets can talk one other protocol, but I think it is not used by the 
X11 SummaSketch driver. Actually, most of the SummaSketch tablets 
originally may well have been run with Unix because at least one 
prominent CAD software, Nemetschek Allplan,
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemetschek
* http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemetschek_Allplan
was delivered for commercial Unices since the end of the 1980ies.

It seems the tablets have fallen off the earth mostly because of missing 
driver support on Win and on X11. Search engine results indicate people 
have made attempts to turn the lights of their SummaSketches back on 
until recently, but appearently none has filed a bug report or feature 
request somewhere.

Before I posted here I made an attempt to get away with the F10 386 RPM 
of the driver on a F14 installation but did not succeed because of at 
least one missing symbol, according to the X11 log file.

I guess I'm not competent enough to write support for the MM protocol as 
a kernel module from the ground. (Really, you don't want me to put my 
fingers into to the kernel machinery, because I'm a Lisp guy.) For now, 
I could try to revive the driver mostly as is, and even then I'll have a 
steap learning curve. Currently, I don't have even a remote idea of the 
evdev driver, let alone the X11 API, I'm only about to get familiar with 
the source of the SummaSketch driver.

-- Dan

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