Māori Macrons & olpc keyboard

Tom Parker tom at carrott.org
Mon Jun 24 06:53:05 EDT 2013


I'm looking at how you enter a macron for Māori language users.

It seems that the olpc us international keyboard binds a ̄  COMBINING 
MACRON (unicode U+0304) to algr + hyphan. When typed after the letter a 
you get ā which is similar to but not the same as ā LATIN SMALL LETTER A 
WITH MACRON (unicode U+0101).

Issues I've noted with a small amount of testing:

On older builds, Write does not correctly load files containing the 
combining macron.
The combining macron is not rendered at the correct height for lower 
case letters. (on older builds this seems to be the case all the time, 
on newer builds, it is rendered correctly after loading a file until you 
delete a following character the on the same line, then it jumps up)
You can have more than one combining macron, they stack.
You have to delete twice, once to delete the macron and again to delete 
the character.

Have these issues come up before? I don't see any. I will raise tickets 
for the bugs rendering the macron in the latest version of write 
shortly. I'm not sure if anyone wants a ticket for older builds? 
Obviously stacking macrons is by-design when using the combining macron 
character (see https://twitter.com/glitchr_/ for more improbable 
outcomes of combining characters, perhaps your browser will crash).

I haven't yet experimented with entering the ā U+0101 characters into 
sugar (tomorrow!)

Apparently on Windows, the Māori keyboard is set up such that when you 
hit the grave (apparently this is what I have always called the 
backtick) key and then one of the vowels, you get the macron version of 
the vowel. I haven't seen this in action but Māori typists claim it is 
very efficient.

Gnome on Ubuntu on my laptop binds right-alt-a to ā U+0101 when using 
the Māori keyboard layout. I'm not sure how Maori typists feel about 
this inconsistency with windows.

When you choose the language in sugar, can this change the keyboard 
layout too? If not, what is the recommended way to configure this?

How complex is it to change the localization of the keyboard for the 
Maori language? The xkb files don't look too complicated. Is the grave - 
vowel = macron vowel possible while still preserving the backtick for 
shell scripting? I haven't seen the laptops in question but I'm told 
they have the Australian simplified key caps, so changing the existing 
alt-gr mappings to render macron vowels (ie to mimic the Maori keyboard 
option on Gnome-Ubuntu) instead of the existing mappings won't confuse 
the key caps.

Obviously touching all the laptops to change how the keyboard works is a 
pain and the change is potentially erased by future updates.

More information about the Devel mailing list