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new kbd manual

Hi folks!

I just uploaded a first draft of a new manual: Debian Keyboard
Configuration. The URL is


for now.

I also incorporated Marco's specification (thanks Marco!).

The document is meant to involve as we implement the consistent keyboard
configuration. When we are finished, the manual should document what we've
done and how the local sysadmin can fine-tune the configuration to suit
his/her own needs.

I played a bit with the kbd cfg the last days and am quite impressed. Some
parts are working quite well, already.

I used the M4 macros to create the keytables (I have a German kbd). Then I
realized that the setting of TERM is important (!). I check out
/etc/termcap and it looks like "linux" is the correct setting for the
console and "xterm" for an xterm. As both programs set this automatically,
I removed the "export TERM=vt100" from my .bash_profile.

After that, I had a look at readline: I set up a ~/.inputrc with the
following rules:

$if term=linux
"\e[1~": beginning-of-line
"\e[4~": end-of-line
$if term=xterm
"\e[H": beginning-of-line
"\e[F": end-of-line

This made everything work quite well on the console! (I've tested bash,
vim, git.)

BTW, I noticed that it's sometimes useful to test with "cat". I start it
without arguments. This makes it copy everything from stdin to stdout with
any interpretation. When one presses "Home" for example, one can see the
ask sequence.

Then I set the following in /etc/X11/XF86Config:

Section "Keyboard"
     XkbRules "xfree86"
     XkbModel "pc101"
     XkbLayout "de"
     XkbVariant "nodeadkeys"
     XkbOptions ""

And I use the following Xresources:

! This fixes Delete/Backspace in XTerm
*VT100.Translations: #override <Key>BackSpace: string(0x7F)\n\
        <Key>Delete:    string(0x04)

With this setup, bash seems to be fine in an xterm. However, "vim" has
still problems. 

I've also problems with the modifiers in X. I can't access the "AltGr"
keys. But if I press Ctrl-Alt (without any other key) the whole keyboard
behaviour switches to another state, as if I hold done the AltGr key on
the console. I can toggle the behaviour with Ctrl-Alt.

Another X problem: Netscape still interprets <Del> as <Backspace>.

Regarding the Xterm problems: I currently see two possibilities: we can
either fix the termcap entry to apply to xterm's key sequences or we
change xterm's behaviour by modified its app-defaults file. 

Anyways, I think we should be careful with changing any applications
unless their are buggy. If we succeed with just changing the "global
configuration files" (i.e. keytables, XF86Config, etc.) the user can
install other non-Debian programs and have the keys working too.

It would be nice if others could check this setup on their system and tell
me their comments about it.

One other thing regarding the M4 macros: I think we should rewrite
everything in Perl. This would make the input files much more flexible.
For example, I'm think about a global /etc/kbd.conf file which contains
the sysadmins preferences, e.g. switched Ctrl/Capslock, etc. Such a file
could be used by several programs. For example, the xf86config/XSetup
programs could read this file and adapt the X configuration as required. 

The perl script could be used to create keytables, inputrc, and similar
files and check for existing cfg, etc.

Now to the implementation: I think we should put more effort into this
project than in the past. If we succeed until Debian 2.0, I think this
would really be a highlight of Debian 2.0 over the other distributions.
(Debian has been considered as "base distribution" for others. Maybe we
can continue with this in the kbd cfg too.)

The question is how we should proceed. I'm thinking if we should set up a
new package which contains everything needed. The package will probably be
only used temporarily as the code we produce will probably be incorporated
into the different packages later (kbd, xbase, etc.). 

Or we could document everything on our web page and provide examples and
scripts for download.

As always, _any_ comments are appreciated.



--                  Christian Schwarz
                   schwarz@monet.m.isar.de, schwarz@schwarz-online.com
                  schwarz@debian.org, schwarz@mathematik.tu-muenchen.de
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