Multimedia keyboard howto

So thanks to Crispin
and the people commenting on his blog I at least figured out how
one creates new keyboard profiles for X11.

Step 1: Get the numerical code for the key using the ‘xev’ tool shipping with X

Step 2: Figure out the X11 code by looking up those numbers in /usr/share/X11/xkb/keycodes/xfree86

Step 3: Add a section to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/inet with those codes linking them to relevant XFree86 codes. (make a backup copy first) For my laptop that ended up with:

// Laptop/notebook Dell Inspiron 8xxx
partial alphanumeric_keys
xkb_symbols "inspiron" {
    key <I22>   {       [ XF86AudioPlay, XF86AudioPause ] };
    key <I10>   {       [ XF86AudioPrev         ]       };
    key <I19>   {       [ XF86AudioNext         ]       };
    key <I24>   {       [ XF86AudioStop         ]       };
    key <I30>   {       [ XF86AudioRaiseVolume  ]       };
    key <I2E>   {       [ XF86AudioLowerVolume  ]       };
    key <I20>   {       [ XF86AudioMute         ]       };

Step 4: Then make a unified patch by doing:

diff -u inet inet.backup > inet.patch

Step 5: And finally submit
a bug into the freedesktop bugzilla

4 thoughts on “Multimedia keyboard howto”

  1. I have one key that even xev doesn’t respond to. Is it hopeless? Or does this mean that I need to dig around in obscure configuration files (which is pretty much the same thing)? :-)

  2. No idea Ken, I guess if Xev doesn’t respond to it simply isn’t registered being pressed at all.

  3. If xev doesn’t show the keypresses at all, maybe the kernel is missing information about the keys (as on my laptop)
    take a look at the kernel messages and man google for setkeycodes.

    I hope that helps ;)

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