Tablet pens are one of the finest tools an artist can have in this digital age. I am not an artist per say; I am a wannabe. I own an iBall Tablet pen, which I used for sketching. I was using it under Ubuntu successfully until Lucid. After that version my tablet never worked. There was a PPA but it did not get upgraded beyond Natty so my tablet has been collecting dust ever since.
It hurts when your expensive hardware doesn't work under your favorite distro. Things changed a few days ago when I asked someone on the openSUSE mailing list if there is any way I can make my iBall tablet work under Linux. The answer came pretty fast, it solved all of my problems and further strengthened by view about openSUSE 12.1 that it is a perfect distribution for an average Linux user.
If you are a tablet pen user and are struggling to make it work under GNU/ Linux here is a quick how to which may help you. It may or may not work for you, but it did work for me.
Try openSUSE 12.1
This article is meant for openSUSE 12.1 users. Any other distribution is out of the scope of this article. If you are running Windows and want to switch to Linux but are worried about support for your tablet, it's time for you to try openSUSE. (I will write more about why you should consider openSUSE as a replacement for your Windows box in some other article).
I will also recommend openSUSE 12.1 to those who want a great integration with KDE (one of the most popular, advanced and customizable desktop environment after Gnome Shell) or just want to have a great Gnome Shell 3 experience (you can install both on the same distro with great ease).
In addition to many other benefits of openSUSE there are many other programs that are available in the repos or through OBS (openSUSE build service) which will allow you to use features such as pressure sensitivity of your tablet.
Make sure that your tablet is detected by your openSUSE machine. If you connect your tablet, and move the pen on it, you may see the cursor/mouse stuck at the top-left corner. If you move the mouse the desktop will switch between overview and normal mode. If this is what is happening that means your PC is detecting the tablet.
Now, go to software.opensuse.org and click on 'search options' and then select 'Include users' home projects'. These are similar to Ubuntu's PPAs where users/developers upload their own packages.
First search for 'wizardpen' and then click on the 1-Click Install Button. It will open software manager, just install the package.
Once installed, search for 'wacom-kmp-desktop'. This time you need to select the package appropriate for your version of openSUSE (be careful not to select Tumbleweed if you are not using Tumbleweed.)
Once both packages are installed just restart your PC. Now you can plug your tablet and you should be able to use it.
One issue I am facing, as I can't calibrate, is that I have dual monitor setup and the tablet takes into account the entire display as one so when I draw a circle it becomes an oval. It works fine on my Dell XPS and to use it on my main PC, I have to disable my second monitor, so if you know of an easy fix to calibrate the tablet, let me know.
Pressure sensitive sketching program
There is no dearth of sketching and painting programs in openSUSE. You can use GIMP, Krita, Xara, Inkscape and MyPaint. Some of these applications support pressure senstivity and allow you to draw more naturally.