Today I finally got around to looking up the solution to that wierd X error I kept getting in Ubuntu. It's the one where running pretty much any X application from a virtual terminal results in errors like "X Error: BadDevice, invalid or uninitialized input device 168".
Turns out this is a pretty easy fix. These messages are apparently due to lines in xorg.conf to support some kind of tablet PC, or something. So, just comment them out, restart the X server, and you're good to go.
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