Re: Dead keys

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Sep 26 2005 - 23:02:33 CST

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    From: "Wulfy" <>
    > For me, on my keyboard, the system outlined would be a great boon.
    > Perhaps for those used to dead keys and not the restrictions I face, it
    > wouldn't.
    > By the way. Do you switch to the Spanish keyboard map for your És and Çs?

    No. I use my own keyboard driver that just extends the standrd keyboard
    layout, to add the support for them. As I said in another message, I get É
    by using an additional acute dead key (mapped on [AltGr]+[&1] which is
    unused in the standard French layout) and an additonal cedilla dead key
    (mapped on [AltGr]+[,?] also unused on the standard French layout.)

    Using dead keys instead of direct characters (like '|' mapped on
    [AltGr]+[-6]) was a deliberate personnal choice, because it allows composing
    more characters used for other languages than just French, also because the
    standard French keyboard layout already has one standard dead key [ˆ¨] for
    the circumflex accent and the diaeresis, and Microsoft has also remapped the
    tilde as a dead key rather than the previous ASCII symbol on [AltGr]+[é2~],
    as well as the grave accent as a dead key instead of the previous ASCII
    symbol on [AltGr]+[è7`].

    So my addional mappings were consistent with the existing keyboard. French
    people are now used to these dead keys, and it is natural with the existing
    keycaps physical printed on the keyboard. On the opposite, other OEM
    keybaord manufacturers have chosen to add more keys on the keyboard, even
    when that was not necessary, and in fact troublesome.

    <side note>
    For example, Acer has added the [€€] and [$$] keys on the keyboard of its
    notebooks, but badly placed them just in the middle of the arrows function
    keys, instead of putting there the more natural [Home] and [End]. This was a
    very bad design because it causes characters to be composed when one just
    wants to move the cursor in a text without modifying it.
    Acer would have better placed the euro and dollar on the top row of the
    keyboard instead of putting there the too small [Ins] and [Del] function
    keys which are in unpractical positions. My opinion is that HP and IBM have
    better keyboard layouts on their notebooks, without adding keys for the euro
    and dollar, as they are already physically mapped (printed on the keycaps)
    on [AltGr]+[E] (as recommanded by the European Commission) and [$£¤].
    Just for that reason, I should have avoided buying an Acer notebook, whose
    layout is really more problematic.
    And unfortunately, the supplementary keys added by Notebook don't seem
    reprogrammable; when used, these keys simulate the standard sequences: the
    [€€] key really sends the keycodes for [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[E] to the system, and
    the [$$] key is really sending the same keycode as the existing [$£¤]
    independantly of the current shift state (so that no specific software
    driver is needed to handle them); you can see the effect of this bad design
    choice when you switch to another non-French keyboard layout, where those
    keys are not working the way intended by Acer...
    </side note>

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