[kde-linux] key board

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Tue Jul 27 23:49:52 UTC 2010

Hans Krueger posted on Tue, 27 Jul 2010 09:40:50 -0400 as excerpted:

> does anybody know what keyboard lay out I should use with suse 11.3 kde
> 4.4.4 I think for my acer travelmate 2480-2968 ? I'm have problems with
> the delete,right,down key how do we set the win key to the aps menu
> launcher thanks

There's an X troubleshooting applet called xev that can help figure out 
what the key association is, at least.  If you run it from a konsole 
window, it'll popup a little white window with a black-outlined square 
inside.  When the mouse is over the window (or dragging from it) you get 
mouse events.  As long as it is focused, you get keyboard events.  These 
events are listed to STDOUT, which if you've run it as I said from konsole, 
will be the konsole window.

That won't help get the right keys mapped, but it'll help you figure out 
what /is/ actually mapped.

I've never dealt with the kde keyboard i18n, but I know a bit about 
setting the keyboard mapping config for X.  There's three types of 
keyboard setup, depending on how old an xorg-server you're running. (FWIW, 
I don't know what X associates with what version of SuSE, I run Gentoo, 
which lets the machine admin choose between multiple available versions.)  
The old way setup the keyboard config in an InputDevice section of 
xorg.conf.  The config itself was straightforward, but knowing what 
specific options to use sometimes wasn't.  The middle way used hal 
hotplugging.  That was quite complex as it involved editing XML based hal 
*.fdi files.

The newest way, from xorg-server 1.8 I believe, is very similar to the old 
way. (hal is deprecated and its use phased out.  Good riddance IMO, when 
its hotplug just worked, great, but fixing things when it didn't was 
terrible!)  The format is generally the same, but there's additional 
flexibility in that X's configuration can now live in multiple files in 
xorg.conf.d instead of in a single xorg.conf, and a new InputClass section 
that works for hotplugging but is FAR easier than hal to configure when 
the hotplugging doesn't come up quite right, automatically.

Chances are you're either using the hal hotplug config method, or, 
hopefully, the new xorg.conf.d InputClass method, as the old method really 
is old now.  If you let me know a bit more about the xorg-server version 
you're running, and whether you have, probably, an /etc/X11/xorg.conf, or 
an xorg.conf.d directory with multiple files in it, in the same location 
(or both, the new way allows an xorg.conf file as well, for backward 
compatibility), then I can help you with the config for either.

Regardless, however, getting the correct combo of core i18n keymapping and 
extensions (like meta/win/super keys, plus the "extra" keys like the media 
and inet keys that many modern keyboards have) so everything's mapped as 
desired can be a bit complex, as X's keyboard config involves three levels 
of mapping between keysyms, keys, etc.

But once you get the basics setup, then back in KDE, mapping specific keys 
(such as the meta aka super aka win aka home aka linux key) to functions 
such as launching the kickoff menu, isn't difficult at all.  It's just 
that if you're having trouble with more basic stuff like the delete, 
right, and down-arrow keys, once you get your X mapping setup to handle 
that, it may change what the meta/super/win/lin/home key produces, thereby 
invalidating your previous kde mapping for it so you have to redo it.

Never-the-less, as I said, that bit's fairly easy to do and redo, so I 
might as well mention it here.  Once you know that the key is actually 
producing something recognizable as a key event by X (using xev as above 
to figure that out), simply right-click on whatever plasmoid widget 
(including the kickoff, classic, or lancelot menu plasmoid, for that's all 
they are, plasmoid widgets, just like others on the plasma desktop and 
panels), and select the widget's settings (in this case, probably 
application launcher settings).  The dialog that pops up should be the 
familiar kde config type with section icons to the left and settings for 
the active section on the right.  On the left, select Keyboard Shortcut, 
then make the setting on the right.

Simple enough, with the one caveat being that in many configs, the lin/win/
meta key is a modifier like shift, alt, or control, and modifiers aren't 
recognized as individual trigger keys on their own, they combine with 
something to form a trigger.

But you can use something simple like meta-space for your menu launcher, 
and the bonus is, that frees up other meta-key combos for use as other 

(FWIW, keeping the general "win" key designation, I map various meta-key 
combos to window-maximize (meta-pgup aka win-pgup), window-minimize (win-
pgdn), window-close (win-end, altered from the usual alt-F4), etc.  Also, 
I map win-h to the hide/show window border toggle, win-s to suspend/
unsuspend window compositing effects, win-ctrl-s to the snow effect, win-c 
to the cube desktop switcher, etc.  Or you can map them to launch specific 
favorite apps, but I have extra keys on my keyboard and a custom script 
setup for that, so one of the extra keys acts more like another modifier, 
allowing me to stack multiple launchers on a single extra key, much as 
multiple functions can be stacked on the win/meta/lin/home/super key when 
it's registered as a modifier.)

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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