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11/07/2013

Dvorak layout with ctrl & caps lock swapped round on FreeBSD

Filed under: FreeBSD — Tags: , — Venture37 @ 12:33 am

Since getting a MacBook Air with a Japanese keyboard, I have grown accustomed to having the control key in place of the caps lock, so much so that now it’s annoying not having it there if I switch to another system. Searching around to see what I’d find on the subject, it seems that a similar frustration exists for users who are used to the left control key being in the bottom left hand side instead of the new Fn key & infact I have a bios image which makes this change for my X61s.

From the brief search for a bios image brought up lots of links to the image which I already have for swapping fn with ctrl & I didn’t fancy an introduction to ThinkPad BIOS hacking with IDA so I began to look for OS specific solutions.

On FreeBSD, a variant of the UK (uk.cp850-ctrl.kbd, uk.iso-ctrl.kdb) & US standard layouts (us.pc-ctrl.kbd) exist which swap the location of the two keys round & I found this guide (in Japenese) which discusses what changes are needed to a layout file (reassigning scan codes 29 & 58) but all this was already taken care of some 12 years ago. The header of us.dvorak.kbd menions:

“There are some minor variations, but this seems like the most common layout. I personally use one with three more pairs swapped:
esc `~, clock lctrl, and =+ \| (supplied as “us.dvorakx.kbd“). ”

I just needed to declare keymap="us.dvorakx.kbd" in /etc/rc.conf & restart /etc/rc.d/syscons.

2 Comments

  1. Out of interest, what are you using to remap keys in OSX? I’ve just bought a new ergonomic keyboard to plug in to my laptop and the American-style short-and-long return key is driving me nuts as I keep hitting \ which is above it, so I’m thinking of remapping \ to the caps lock key, which I can live without.

    Comment by Paul Silver — 07/08/2013 @ 11:48 am

  2. On OS X I settle for dvorak with the control & caps lock swapped over, you can make this change from system preferences without having to fiddle with the OS.
    There are applications which allow you to build your own layout but I haven’t tried any to be able to make a recommendation.

    Comment by Venture37 — 24/08/2013 @ 8:35 pm

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