Re: Māori Macrons & olpc keyboard

Chris Leonard cjlhomeaddress at
Mon Jun 24 10:46:44 EDT 2013


Walter Bender (cc'ed) is very much our keyboard expert.

Sugar Labs Translation Team Coordinator

On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM, Tom Parker <tom at> wrote:

> Hi,
> 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
> 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.
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