Pain in multimedia keyboard land

After my latest update of Rawhide I suddenly noticed my multimedia keys had stopped working. It turned out the feature had been removed as it didn’t work as expected. Instead one is supposed to use the keyboard layout settings now to choose the keyboard one have and it will contain mappings for any multimedia keys on your keyboard. A couple of things strike me, the first is that we should be very clear on communicating this switch, to many people assume or like to foster the assumation that we remove features for the fun of it. So it should be made clear that the feature is not removed, but moved. That said I am not sure our new solution is good enough, problem is that multimedia keys are horribly unstandarized and I fear the keyboard layout list might grow very long and ungainly with this approach. Part of the problem is that even with the same hardware maker the keys don’t seem to have a standard mapping. For instance in the layout menu there is a Inspiron 8xxx option, but they key-mappings for it doesn’t seem to match with my inspiron 8600 keyboard. Anyway, Bastien and Crispin is working on a Wiki page with some explanations on how to add your keyboard to the system so maybe it will at not be all bad.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Victor Bogado on 01.24.06 at 06:39

There is yet another problem with changing models. using the keyboard switch applett you can change the keyboard model and add one or more layouts. The problem comes it you have more then one keyboard.

Let me explain, my laptop have a usual laptop keyboard (no numeric keyboard, and awkward key positioning). When I use it at home I have a secondary keyboard that I hook into the USB port. The problem is that this keyboard is a ABNT2, mutimedia keyboard.

Not only this keyboard is probably unlisted in the model dialog, but also in the default configuration for ubuntu the ABNT2 and the laptop models are incompatible. And I have to choose one. If I use the ABNT2 for the us layout it does not work and if I use the PC-104 with the br layout it also do not work.

I solved the problem by changing the model files in the xkb directory. I sent a patch to the ubuntu bugzilla at the time. But this is not a good solution.

So the question is how to handle a new keyboard? Should we have a second configuration for it’s layout?