New keyboard layouts
pgf at laptop.org
Wed Apr 28 13:43:59 EDT 2010
benjamin m. schwartz wrote:
> On Wed, 28 Apr 2010, Walter Bender wrote:
> > On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM, Tiago Marques <tiagomnm at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> I was just looking at the layout again and just noticed the new arrow keys
> >> placement.
> > We debated this one. A shorter shift key would be difficult to type
> > on. We opted to emulate the hjkl vi arrangement.
> Keyboard layout is virtually the ultimate bikeshed painting problem
> ... but here's my opinion anyway.
> Ins and Del are Harmful. You probably know Ins because when you
> accidentally bump it, your editor switches into "overwrite" mode, and
> every character you type deletes another until you figure out what
> happened and hit Ins again. "Del" is the reverse erase that nobody
> wants. Apple, and the XO-1, have eliminated Ins and relegated Del to
> Fn+Erase. I recommend removing both.
part of the impetus for this keyboard is that it be more "normal", for
use by older students, perhaps in non-sugar environments. so i think
that's why some of the legacy keys have come back. (but i agree --
i occasionally use Del in a web editing form to delete forward, but
could easily live without it or Insert.)
> Getting rid of those keys frees up valuable space that can be used,
> for example to move += to the top row, replaced by ?, replaced by
> up-arrow. No more hjkl.
i'd far rather have as much of the punctuation in their correct places
as possible. i even tried to get walter to shorten the enter key, to
make room for the '" between ;: and enter. he didn't go for it. :-)
> Some other notes:
> 1. fn is a bad key because software can't reuse it. For example, on
> the XO-1 we tried to make fn+F1 send an F1 press to the activity
> (instead of going to the mesh view), but it was not possible because
> the fn key is treated specially by the keyboard microcontroller, and
> not forwarded to the OS. There was no way to tell from software
> whether a user had pressed fn+F1 or just F1.
if you watch /dev/input/eventN, where N is the right device for
the keyboard, you'll get a KEY_FN code for the Fn key. and if
you use it to modify F1, you'll get KEY_FN_F1 instead of KEY_F1.
i'm checking this on 2.6.31 on XO-1.5. it's possible that 2.6.25
on XO-1 was different.
> Accordingly, on new keyboards, OLPC should consider pushing this
> special handling into the software keyboard mapping as much as
> possible. It's hard to see why fn+Spacebar needs to be a new keycode,
> and not just a series of standard up/down events. The only tricky
> spot I can think of is PageUp/PageDown/Home/End.
> 2. We have a lot of redundant modifier keys. fn, altgr, and hand-key
> could all be a single key, because they are never used together. If
> the keyboard controller would turn altgr+left into Home (etc.), there
> should be no regression of functionality, even under windows.
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paul fox, pgf at laptop.org
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