Setting up Space Navigator with Ubuntu

This is more of a configuration philosophy question. I’m fairly new to Linux, and haven’t quite got my head around the proper way to configure this beast.

I have my SpaceNavigator running and I am able to work with Blender. But I am currently having to type

sudo /etc/3DxWare/daemon/3dxsrv -d usb
at the command line to get things started. This brings up their bug ugly application which is needed to translate the controller movements to something that Blender can understand.

Now… The installer script tried to add this command to /etc/inittab, but Ubuntu really doesn’t use that anymore. And I can’t just put the command as a startup program because the device handle is root only.

So, the question is, should I try and figure out the upstart system which, as I understand it, replaces the inittab and its ilk on Ubuntu distros, or should I add udev rules so the device is readable by all?

Ultimately, I’m sure I need to be able to do both, but personally, I’m a little twitchy about something that just sits around on my desktop running at elevated privlege. I think the right thing to do here is to fix the permissions so I can run the command as a normal user.

Good grief, I am navigationally impaired. I meant to post this in Off Topic. Somebody help me, then shoot me.


On a more serious note, you’d probably have more success if you’d ask that question on the 3dconnexion forum ( ). You’re right though, their current linux driver is pretty much brain dead. Last I heard, they were in the process of making is better, but that was months ago without news…


If you don’t mind my asking, how good is the Space Navigator? I’ve used several programs productively over the years. The most irritating thing I have to suffer when I switch between programs is that I have to switch between mouse controls.

For example, the middle mouse button rotates the view in Blender, while it pans in Max, does nothing in Maya. They all scroll the same way to zoom in and out, but some programs scroll in reverse.

I’d like to use both Max and Blender with more comfort. Is the Space Navigator right for me?

it doesn’t matter too much, I think after seeing this I’m going to buy one anyway

Andy, i found a solution for startup on Ubuntu on the 3d connexion forums, that was months and months ago, so You’d have to search.

Howitzer, i like it a lot, but it does take quite a bit of solid use and practice to get comfortable with… for the first day or two i was dissapointed and thought it was a bit of a gimmic, but then it just gets to feel better and better…

In blender because of all the key shortcuts you might find it a bit of a pain as you’ll take your hand of the navigator and onto the keyboard.

Here’s a script I wrote (modified!) for use with tabletPC and/or space navigator that gets over this problem somewhat.

Another note, for my taste in “turntable” mode the horizontal rotation of the camera is backwards compared with the vertical rotation. I changed the source code to work how i like it as i compile my own blender.

make changes in blender/apricot/source/blender/src/view.c

there have been some changes there which I haven’t checked in a while (been mostly painting rather than blendering for the past three months)…

good luck.

PS, it’d be nice to have the option to “roll” in turntable mode. (turntable mode rotates the scene around its center -sort of, which is why the horizontal rotation feels wrong) Fly mode moves the camera about its center… object mose I never use.

Thanks for the replies. Mainly looking for confirmation or refutation of my paranoia. If I run the driver app from upstart, it will be a UI program with root privleges that just sits around. That gives me the creeps (but maybe I’m just paranoid).
I did find something for the upstart, but given aforementioned creepiness, I’m still going to try and figure out the udev rule system and get the device visible at a lower level of privlege.

If using Blender for something like texture painting, or sculpting the tablet/SpaceNavigator can be a killer combo. I’ve not personally used it much for mechanical modelling since I am more in the top/left/front views.

If they could be my primary mouse (maybe they could be) i would use one of them instead of a mouse to navigate the screen i reckon.