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Remapping Linux

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 2 months ago


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Krueger Linux USB Keymapper Version 0.1


Lars Krueger created USBHOTKEY ... an AutoHotkey alternative for Linux. The program allows you to catch USB keyboard events (key press and release events) and transform them into X11 keyboard events using a ruby script. This provides a mechanism for creating keymaps that can be more versatile than the standard table-based keymap approach of X11.


USBHOTKEY is available in version 0.1. As the product is still in its infancy, installation and use may not prove to be a simple process. If you have any problems or questions, please see the USBHOTKEY Support Page or contact Lars via the AlphaGrip Google Group.

XKB for Linux or Unix

An xkb file is the best way to permanently install a new keyboard layout in X11, on linux or unix. Layouts installed this way can be selected using the tray icons provided by Gnome and KDE.


An xkb file needs to be copied into the directory /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/, /usr/lib/X11/xkb/symbols, or something similar depending on your distribution. In that directory you will find various files for the standard regional keyboard layouts. There are two methods for installing it:


1. Replace one of those existing regional layout files (after taking a backup, of course). For example by replacing the file "al" you are replacing the "Albania" layout, so you can switch to this new layout by choosing "Albanian" in your Gnome or KDE configuration.


2. This method adds a new entry for your custom AG5 layout to the Gnome or KDE configuration, so that you can select "Alphagrip" rather than "Albanian". Save your new file in the symbols directory - for this example call it "ag5". For KDE or Gnome to know about this new layout you need to add it to xkb/rules/base.lst. Copy the line for "Albania", but replace "Albania" with "Alphagrip" and "al" with "ag5".

Xmodmap for Linux or Unix

An xmodmap is an easy way to quickly try out a new layout using X11, on linux or unix. No files need to be permanently installed. Download the xmodmap file, then switch to that layout using the following command:


$ xmodmap MyDownloadedFile


You can switch back by logging out.


An xmodmap file is great for quickly trying a layout. You can use this method for a permanent installation (by running xmodmap from some login script) but it may be more practical to use an xkb file.

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