Re: Much better Latin-1 keyboard for Windows

From: Alain LaBonté (
Date: Thu Jul 22 2004 - 15:38:29 CDT

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    À 02:32 2004-07-18, John Cowan a écrit:
    > is a page about
    >(and a link to) a truly excellent Windows keyboard driver that
    >provides full access to the Latin-1 range but is completely compatible
    >with the US-ASCII keyboard except for AltGr (the right Alt key).
    >All non-ASCII characters and dead keys are available there: for
    >example, to get à, one types AltGr-` followed by a.

    [Alain] My two cents:

    It would have been nice if this keyboard would have been based (for its
    second layout) on ISO/IEC 9995-3 International Standard. The latter is
    based on the following philosophy:

    -Group 1 is the national (or prefered layout) [in the USA that would be the
    standard US keyboard; in this case AltGr could be added to show exactly
    what « qwalla » documented in his first figure (it is obvioulsy what he
    prefers). Group 1 normally corresponds to unshifted, shifted and AlGr
    layouts (3 levels, called level 1, 2, and 3)

    -Group 2 is a supplementary group whose purpose is to supplement national
    usage for the Latin script, based on the ISO/IEC 6937 repertoire (roughly
    330 Latin characters), for European languages using the Latin script.
    Subsets can be implemented [I would friendly recommend that « qwalla »
    slightly modify his figure 2 layout to fit with this international
    standard]. Group 2 needs a group select mechanism, which is so far left to
    implementation (it could be AltGr and AltGr+Shift to access the two levels
    described in this group in ISO/IEC 9995-3 -- however in this case that
    would not be sufficient for some keys of the Canadian Standard keyboard --
    in at least one case we have 5 characters on the same key, see below how we
    do that).

    Canada included ISO/IEC 9995-3's group 2 in its Canadian Standard CAN/CSA
    Z243.200 (implemented as "Canadian mutilingual keyboard" in several
    versions of Windows -- and Win XP fully implements all the characters of
    the ISO/IEC 6937 repertoire, with Unicode encoding [keyboard layout
    standards are based on abstract characters, not on coding] ; all Macs sold
    in Canada with French language support provide this layout as their
    standard layout). Group 1 is of course our national standard layer. Most
    Canadian implementations on PCs dedicated the scan code used on US
    keyboards for the RightCtrl rather as a Group Select key to access Group 2
    (which can be shifted itself to get access to Group 2 Level 2 characters
    [so up to 3 levels in group 1 if you have followed and up to 2 levels in
    group 2).

    Here is an example of commercial keyboard implementing the Canadian
    Standard keyboard with Group 2 limited to Latin 1 access (level conformance
    B -- full set is level conformance C [330 characters]):
    See also another older commercial implementation (with blue color to
    distinguish group 2 [levels 1 and 2] and red to distinguish group 1 level 3):

    There is a joint Canada/Sweden project to present a new work item proposal
    at ISO to standardize (or offer guidelines) group selection mechanism (this
    has been tried in 1991, but that failed). With UNICODE/UCS now of age, this
    in our opinion would be highly desirable to go beyond international
    standardization of the Latin script support limited to some languages as
    now. If others are interested, please let me know, I convene ISO/IEC
    JTC1/SC35/WG1, which is responsible for keyboard international
    standardization. Our next meeting will be in November, most likely in
    Stockholm (fallback: Paris). In the meanwhile someone can also implement
    ISO/IEC 14755 (poor man's input method to enter UCS character with the help
    of any keyboard), a standard made in the mid 1990s (it is not a keyboard
    standard but could be useful for limited usage of "special" characters).

    John, could you please forward this to Livejournal, I do not subscribe to
    such online forums (I prefer email reflectors, due to a lack of time).

    Alain LaBonté

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