AW: 'de' keyboard layout issues (Re: AW: AW: AltGr key mostly fires an additional CONTROL key)

Paul Maier
Mon Aug 8 23:17:00 GMT 2011

Hi Jon,

1. Tilde sign

> > Tilde sign (~) should be a normal (not a blind) key.
> >    In Windows I hit AltGr+"+" to get ~, in XWin I need to type AltGr+"+" then space to
> get a ~.
> >    See attachment for the initial XWin xmodmap -pke table.
> >    Possible xmodmap correction (works fine):
> >    keycode  35 = plus asterisk plus asterisk asciitilde
> This is a can of worms I don't want to open :-)
> At the moment, in the 'de' layout, the tilde deadkey will add a macron
> diacritic, e.g. AltGr + "+" + a = ã.
> I really lack the expertise to determine if this is a bug in xkeyboard-config
> (if this german keyboard behavior is something no german keyboard user would
> ever expect or want)
> The xkb configurations we use come from the xkeyboard-config project, and
> aren't trying to be identical to Windows, but to conform to the appropriate
> national standards and user expectations.
> However, I can see in the case of XWin this is problematic, as it will be
> confusing to switch between X and normal Windows windows which have different
> keyboard behavior.

I did some research: German computer keyboard layout is defined in DIN 2137-2.
And to my surprise I found, that tilde is a dead key there.
That means, that the xkeyboard-config project perfectly matches the DIN norm,
while Windows (where the key is not dead) does not match it.
So I understand, that you may want to stick to the DIN norm.
A workaround for guys like me, who want the XWin keyboard work the same like Windows,
is possible with xmodmap, so yeah ... let's close this point.

2. Euro currency sign

> > Euro Currency sign doesn't work.
> >    I know - it's not a latin1 character, but together with CP1252 this xmodmap
> correction works like Windows:
> >    keycode  26 = e E e E 0x0080
> I guess this is another symptom of Xlib not understanding the de_DE.CP1252 locale.
> This works fine in the de_DE.UTF-8 locale.

I agree to concentrate on more important stuff.

3. Non breaking space (NBSP) on ALT+space

> > ALT+Space produces a NBSP character (HEX A0) in Windows, but not in XWin.
> >    xmodmap correction is unfortunately not possible, because the xmodmap setting on
> ISO_Level3_Shift+Space is just thrown away:
> >    Something like
> >    keycode  65 = space NoSymbol space NoSymbol nobreakspace
> >    or
> >    keycode  65 = space space space space nobreakspace
> >    doesn't work: it's discarded and the setting is not shown on a "xmodmap -pke".
> >    So I put nobreakspace to the fifth place of another key - there it works.
> >    That would be good if key 65 (space key) would accept above xmodmap setting or have
> it initially.
> Reading [1], this looks like an (undocumented) Windows-ism

I found out, that DIN 2137-2:2003-09 defines two different keyboard layouts, the one having ALT+space
undefinied (the common layout with an extra "<"/">" key left to the y key; see page 27 of that DIN norm), 
the other one defining ALT+space as NBSP (see page 9 of that DIN norm, table 2, line 1).

So it's fine, that ALT+space is undefined by default. But it wouldn't harm anybody, if
ALT+space were xmodmap redefinable, so that those guys, who got used to using ALT+space
in Windows, have a chance to xmodmap it themselves.

And: for all other keys you can xmodmap what you like on ALT+key, so why not for ALT+space?
I can easily xmodmap the NBSP onto another key, but if you try to do the same with the space key,
XWin doesn't take it:

Try xmodmapping
  keycode  65 = space NoSymbol space NoSymbol nobreakspace
  keycode  65 = space space space space nobreakspace
then issue a "xmodmap -pke" ... and the NBSP is not on the space key.

4. Number block

> I can't reproduce this problem.
> I wonder if this is a problem with handling numpad overlaid onto normal keys
> on a laptop keypad?  Again, -logverbose 3 output together with xev output
> would be helpful.

That was referring to plugging an external (USB) keyboard to the Laptop.
I got a new external keyboard recently.
The number block was not working with my old external keyboard, but with
the new one I can't reproduce the problem, with other words, it is working there.
Unfortunately I don't have the old keyboard any more, so I can't help you
debugging this issue. Maybe somebody else calls.


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