Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2008

SuSE and Compose tables

This will probably need some explanation. I use a German keyboard (you only get those easily in Germany), but I use the US keyboard layout, because it's faster for things like {}[] (which you need a lot while programming) or @. But, often, I need German characters like 'ä' anyway.

Now, for this, Linux has an easy solution: the Compose key. It was a matter of minutes to configure SuSE / X / Gnome so that the Caps Lock key is used as a compose key, and I can use <Caps Lock><s><s> to get 'ß'.

But for 'ä', I needed to press <Caps Lock><:><a>, and that is much too awkward, because you need the Shift key for the ':'. I wanted to use <a><e> for this (by default configured to produce 'æ'). How hard could it be to change the compose table? Well, it took me some hours ...

The reason is that I first and for a long time looked at kbd. SuSE has even some settings in YAST for the kbd compose tables. But no matter what I did, the tables in /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/include just didn't change anything. Probably they are only used without X. The right tables to be changed are at /usr/share/X11/locale, and the one I needed was in the subdirectory en_US.UTF-8. Phew.

BTW, for Windows there is an open source freeware tool called AllChars, which does exactly the same and is very easy to configure.


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