Re: BS versus DEL (was: I18N for Debian 1.3?)
> > It's fine to add functionality to keys that just beep at you. But to
> > change the behavior I'm used to to comply with dos/windows is, ahem,
> > /not/ why I'm using Debian (to put it mildly). Eventually, it might
> > be nice to have all applications use Lars' cfgtool to set BS and DEL.
> > But don't even think about making a fundamental change like this the
> > default!
> I don't want to start the DEL wars up. I was assumming that the majority
> of debian users wanted bs and del to do different things, similar to how
> they function in dos, extrapolating from the fact that every linux user
> I've ever met has their keyboard configured this way. Maybe I'm wrong?
I think the problems stems partly from an unclear definition of what BS
and DEL is.
In ASCII, BS is 0x08 (^H) and DEL is 0x7F (^?). The code that erases
the character before the curser is often called "RUBOUT". I know of
no common name for the code that deletes the character _under_ the cursor.
On you keyboard, most people call the back-arrow above the return key
as "backspace" and the key below insert and to the left of end as "delete".
X complicates things a little because it uses its own codes instead of the
ASCII ones, but these codes can be considered (for the purposes of this
message) to be the same thing.
I will assume the above naming conventions for the rest of this message.
Unfortunately, some unix systems return the BS code when "backspace" is
pressed and some return the DEL code. The "delete" key usually returns
DEL if "backspace" returns BS or some other code if "backspace" returns DEL.
Most programs will accept either BS or DEL as their RUBOUT chararacter.
Some require the stty setting to point to the correct code while other
(like tcsh) will always accept either.
Emacs _always_ wants DEL as the RUBOUT character and BS (^H) as "help".
Other programs are also hard coded as to what code does what action.
The functionality desired by almost all users is that the "backspace" key
erase the character before the cursor (RUBOUT) and the "delete" key to erase
the character under the cursor.
I think the only way to satisfy the needs of all programs would be the
- The "backspace" key returns the DEL code. This avoids conflicts with
programs that want to use CTRL-H as something else.
- The "delete" key returns some other code that can be considered standard
for erasing the character under the cursor. Having it return the samething
as the "backspace" key is possible, but redundant.
Using X, of course, the codes will have different number than their ASCII
equivalents, but their are standards there, too.
The current setup under X is close, except that the "delete" key returns the
same code as the "backspace" key.
The setup on the console already matches the suggested behavior.
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In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they're not.
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