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2. Keyboard setup

2.1 Loading a keytable

You have two tools for configuring your keyboard. Under plain Linux you have loadkeys and under X11 you have xmodmap.

To try out loadkeys type one of these two commands:

loadkeys /usr/lib/kbd/keytables/ 
loadkeys /usr/lib/kbd/keytables/

The difference between the two keymaps is that enables `dead' keys while does not. Dead keys are explained in section Dead keys and accented characters. The program loadkeys and the keymaps are part of the package kbd-0.??.tar.gz which (with differing version numbers ??) is available with all Linux distributions.

Usually loadkeys is executed at boot-time from one of the scripts under the directory /etc/rc.d/. Details vary between distributions.

(Note for non-Danish readers: Support for other languages is enabled in a similar manner. Use for Spanish keyboards etc.)

Versions of XFree86 up to and including v3.1.2 will normally follow the keymap used by plain Linux, but you can modify keyboard behavior under X11 with xmodmap. Usually the X11 initialization process will run this command automatically if you have a file called .Xmodmap in your home directory.

In XFree86 v3.2 and higher you should have the following Keyboard section in your /etc/XF86Config (or /etc/X11/XF86Config) file (it should be made automatically by the program XF86Setup if you choose a Danish keytable):

Section "Keyboard"
   Protocol        "Standard"
   XkbRules        "xfree86"
   XkbModel        "pc101"
   XkbLayout       "dk"
   XkbVariant      "nodeadkeys"

The only keyboard variant available at the moment is "nodeadkeys", but dead keys can still be made to work. See section Dead keys and accented characters for more information on this.

2.2 Getting the AltGr key to work under X11

For versions of XFree86 up to and including v3.1.2 you should edit the file /etc/XF86Config (or /etc/X11/XF86Config) and make sure the line

RightAlt    ModeShift
appears in the Keyboard section. Usually you can do this by uncommenting the appropriate line. In XFree86 v3.1.2 you can use AltGr as an alias for RightAlt.

The AltGr key should work as expected in XFree86 v3.2 and higher if you choose Danish keyboard support.

Making {, [, ] and } work under Metro-X

You can't input the characters ``{'' (<AltGr><7>), ``['' (<AltGr><8>), ``]'' (<AltGr><9>) and ``}'' (<AltGr><0>) under the Metro-X server. This bug has been observed under versions 3.1.5 and 3.1.8 of the server.

To correct this bug you have to edit the file /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols/dk and change the lines

key <AE07> {    [               7,           slash      ]       };
key <AE08> {    [               8,       parenleft      ]       };
key <AE09> {    [               9,      parenright      ]       };
key <AE10> {    [               0,           equal      ]       };
key <AE07> {    [               7,           slash      ],
                [       braceleft,        NoSymbol      ]       };
key <AE08> {    [               8,       parenleft      ],
                [     bracketleft,        NoSymbol      ]       };
key <AE09> {    [               9,      parenright      ],
                [    bracketright,        NoSymbol      ]       };
key <AE10> {    [               0,           equal      ],
                [      braceright,        NoSymbol      ]       };

2.3 Dead keys and accented characters

Dead keys are those that do not type anything until you hit another key. Tildes and umlauts are like this by default under plain Linux if you use the keymap. This is the default behaviour for these keys under Microsoft Windows as well.

Removing dead key functionality

  • Removing dead key functionality under plain Linux and XFree86 v3.1.2 Under plain Linux type
  • Removing dead key functionality under XFree86 v3.2 and higher Put the following line in the Keyboard section of your /etc/XF86Config (or /etc/X11/XF86Config) file:
    XkbVariant      "nodeadkeys"

Invoking dead key functionality

  • Invoking dead key functionality under plain Linux Under plain Linux type
  • Invoking dead key functionality under X11R6 sessions First you must make sure you are running XFree86 v3.1.2 or higher. Download and install everything related to the newest release if you have a lower version number. Neither compose nor dead keys will work in X11R6 applications unless these are compiled with support for accented (8-bit) character input. An example of such an application is GNU emacs version 19.30 (or higher.) Some X11 applications still do not support this input method. Eventually this situation might improve, but until that happens you can either hack your applications or submit polite bug reports to the program authors. The latter approach is often the most efficient. See section Programming tips for X11 for some advice on what needs to be done. Next you will have to map a key to Multi_key (Compose.) The Scroll Lock key is most likely already mapped as such if you use XFree86 v3.1.2 (you can verify this with the program xev,) and it is easy to map the right Control key by uncommenting the appropriate line in the Keyboard section of the XFree86 configuration file (often /etc/XF86Config or /etc/X11/XF86Config.) If you wish to use some other key, or if you are using XFree86 v3.2 or higher and want to change the default, you should put something like
    keycode 78 = Multi_key
    in your ~/.Xmodmap file. The statement in the example defines Scroll Lock as the Compose key. The default Compose key in XFree86 v3.2 and higher is <Shift><AltGr>. XFree86 v3.2 and higher comes without support for the dead keys on the standard Danish keyboard. To get this support you have to change a few lines in the xkb_symbols "basic" section of the file /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols/dk. The lines
    key <AE12> {    [           acute,           grave      ],   
                    [             bar,     dead_ogonek      ]       };
    key <AD12> {    [       diaeresis,     asciicircum      ],   
                    [      asciitilde,     dead_macron      ]       };
    should be changed to
    key <AE12> {    [      dead_acute,      dead_grave      ],   
                    [             bar,     dead_ogonek      ]       };
    key <AD12> {    [  dead_diaeresis, dead_circumflex      ],   
                    [      dead_tilde,     dead_macron      ]       };
    After these changes you can get support for dead keys by removing the line
    XkbVariant      "nodeadkeys"
    from the Keyboard section of your /etc/XF86Config (or /etc/X11/XF86Config) file. (Note for non-Danish readers: There are files for many local keyboard maps in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols.) The available keystroke combinations are listed in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/locale/iso8859-1/Compose. There are some bugs in that file you will want to fix:
    • The line reading
      <dead_tilde> <space>                    : "~"   tilde
      should be changed to
      <dead_tilde> <space>                    : "~"   asciitilde
    • In several places asciicircum is misspelled as asciicirum
    Finally make sure your shells and/or applications are set up for ISO-8859-1 compatibility as described in section International character sets in specific applications and you should be all set.

2.4 Making $ (the dollar sign), ø (oslash) and Ø (Oslash) work

$ (the dollar sign)

There is a bug in the Danish keymaps causing the dollar sign to be accessed with <Shift><4> instead of <AltGr><4> by default. If this is a problem for you, determine what keymap you load at boot-time. You can find it by looking around in the directory /etc/rc.d/ or simply by paying attention to what happens at boot-time. On my computer the relevant keymap is called /usr/lib/kbd/keytables/ You can fix the problem by changing the line

keycode   5 = four             dollar           dollar          
in the keymap file to
keycode   5 = four             currency         dollar
and then (re-)loading the keytable as described in section Loading a keytable. Currency (dansk: ``soltegn'') is the default <Shift><4> character on a Danish keyboard.

This should fix the problem for both X11 and plain Linux.

ø (oslash) and Ø (Oslash)

In some older distributions ``ø'' and ``Ø'' appear as cent and yen. Find the line for keycode 40 in the keymap file and change it from

keycode  40 = cent              yen
keycode  40 = +oslash           +Ooblique

This bug appears to have been fixed in kbd-0.88.tar.gz and newer versions.

The plus signs are necessary to get Caps Lock working properly. ``Oslash'' can be used as an alias for ``Ooblique'' in kbd-0.90.tar.gz and newer versions.

You can read more about keyboard configuration at this site.

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