Russian keyboard Control+ and Alternate+ key combination problem

Basil Fowler bjfowler at
Sun Feb 26 10:50:51 GMT 2006

When you press ctl-whatever, a signal is send to the keyboard controller. This 
signal is independent of the keyboard being used, it is purely a matter of 
hardware.  Once this hardware signal reaches the keyboard controller chip 
within the computer, it is interpreted into signals according to a preloaded 
keymap.  This could be an English keymap, or Russian, or whatever.

The keymaps for an X display are kept in /etc/X11/xkb/symbols.
As always in *n*x systems, these files are plain text and can be modified. I 
have used this editing facility to extend the standard French keyboard that I 
usually use with extra accented letters.

I have had a look at the Russian keyboard, /etc/X11/xkb/symbols/ru, and I see 
how it works, but I am not sufficiently experienced to recommend how to 
modify the mapping to produce the results you want.  For the moment, I would 
suggest that you use the keycombo such as shift-R+shift-L to momentarily swap 
to a Latin keyboard, press Ctrl-whatever and then return.  

You may need to contact people with direct X experience for further details. 
This is not specifically a KDE problem, but an X server problem. I am sure 
that the problem has been solved already.  A Russian language mailing list 
should dig up the required info. 

Hope this helps

Basil Fowler

On Saturday 25 Feb 2006 21:34, surlyc at wrote:
> I am using SuSE 10.0 with KDE 3.4.2. I have 3 KDE keyboards set up:
> Russian, English, and Spanish.
> The Russian keyboard does not have the function of the Control or Alternate
> keys. For example, there is no Ctrl key combination that actuates bolding
> or italics in a word processor and there is no Alt key combination that
> activates menus (e.g., File or Edit menus).  These key combinations work
> fine with the KDE English and Spanish keyboards.
> Can you advise me regarding what my problem might be and how to solve it?
> Thank you for your attention.
> Alex
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