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Tue, Mar. 7th, 2006, 07:18 am
Keyboard Switching

Ubuntu has a built-in keyboard switcher. Since I used dvorak layout, I leave it available as a courtesy to those weirdos who insist on using the mapping printed on the keys.

The ordinary functioning of a keyboard switcher is very simple. A person walks over to the keyboard, starts typing, notices it's coming out all garbled, hits the keyboard switcher, and then forgets about it. I've long had a seething hatred of some anonymous moron at microsoft, who made their keyboard switcher only switch each application individually, so the process involves sitting down, starting to type, noticing something is switched, hitting the switcher, then repeating for every single process you switch to. The ridiculous process is repeated when I take my computer back again, sometimes with switches happening days later if I don't touch something for a while.

At some point in the recent past Ubuntu changed their keyboard switching behavior to the moronic microsoft approach. Geeze guys, I know you want to make things look and feel microsofty to be acceptable to the masses, but could you please not copy features which make users routinely fantasize about showing up at microsoft headquarters with a hatchet?

Update: It turns out that this is configurable at least. Right click on the keyboard switcher, Open Keyboard Preferences, Layouts tab, turn off the Separate group for each window checkbox. This puts it ahead of the windows keyboard switcher, which has no 'don't be moronic' checkbox, but the default is still wrong.

Tue, Mar. 7th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)

The per-window switching of keyboard layouts is very useful for international layouts — that way I can switch back and forth between email I'm writing in Russian and the paper I'm editing in English and seamlessly keep typing. But yeah, for the Dvorak/Qwerty switch it makes no sense.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC)
sich67: all


Tue, Mar. 7th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)

Make the whole thing automatic... Typing gibberish checks the gibberish for patterns that would make sense in the user's set language on another keymap...

'You typed ".N.LDABY" and I wonder if you didn't mean "ELEPHANT". The keyboard is set in DVORAK mode, would you like to switch to QWERTY?'

Of course, that's just another feature that would stand a chance of pissing me off.

Wed, Mar. 8th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
adumlah: the way i roll

perhaps i'm just odd, but i like having half my windows in dvorak and half in qwerty. i find certain tasks more suitable to each -- probably due to muscle memory for certain control functions.


Sun, Mar. 12th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)

well, as long as it's a user preference, that's good for all. and i suppose from their perspective, it makes more commercial sense to start with the pref set to the market-dominant default.
but still...

>Since I used dvorak layout, I leave it available as a courtesy to those weirdos who insist on using the mapping printed on the keys.

this is one of my life regrets. dvorak was not available on any box i needed to type constantly on when i started work, so i got good at qwerty. i now do 100-140wpm on qwerty. and i wonder how fast i could go on dvorak.
but each time i sit down to completely overhaul the brain-to-fingertip mappings (that are now instinctual- normal dictation speed), i look ahead to the 20-40wpm months and the slow crawl back up that hill to high speed, and the knowledge that it won't work on any other machine but mine, and i lose heart.
and i wonder how fast i could go on dvorak...

Fri, Mar. 17th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
qvtqht: ParaWin

For a second I thought to myself, "Yes, that is really annoying. But Windows does have system-wide switching, since I know that I enabled it."

It turns out that it was a third-party utility called ParaWin that added this feature for me. Kudos to them.

Fri, Apr. 21st, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC)

A Dvorak-using friend of mine had a cute trick related to this which you might appreciate.

He had two shell scripts, one to switch to dvorak and the other to qwerty.
One was called "asdf" and the other "aoeu". When he'd sit down at a keyboard, he'd hit the four keys under his left hand. If it cane out as he expected, he'd hit ctl-g (since he now knew which layout was current) to cancel the command. If it came out wrong, he'd hit enter, running the appropriate switching script.

He trained me to do this, too, and we could then easily switch off on the keyboard when working together.

Sun, Dec. 3rd, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)
clumma: dude, totally

hukuma, you're the second person I've heard defend the per-window
stuff from an international use POV. Fine to have it, but not at
the expense of the simpler and most natural global version.

Yes, Windows XP does have a global setting, but *not one that can
be switched on the fly*.

Only the Mac did it right as of 2001 (that I knew of). Good to
hear about Ubuntu. The Mac has added the per-window thing now, I
see, and IIRC it's even the default, but thankfully they left the
global option.

xinit, do you really want to wait until you've typed enough
characters to get a big enough sample for autodetection to work


Sun, Jun. 17th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
steve47285: There's a program that fixes this in windows!

Good news -- There's a program called DvAssist that fixes this in windows!


I'm on day 1 of my switch to dvorak, and if I hadn't found this program I would have stopped right there, for exactly the reason described in the post (since my friend and I share a Windows computer). But here it is, it works great, enjoy!!