Support for multimedia/internet keyboards

Pascal De Vuyst pascal.devuyst at
Wed Aug 15 09:54:24 UTC 2007

Currently Ubuntu provides no out of the box support for the extra multimedia
or internet keys on desktop keyboards.

The problem is that not all keyboards generate the same X keycodes for the
same multimedia/internet keys, these keys were added later to keyboards and
every manufacturer could choose different scancodes. So there is no standard
way to map these keys out of the box with a keysym.

To get these buttons working there are 2 possibilities:
1) Find out the keycodes with xev and map them to the right keysyms with
2) Define a new keyboard model in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/inet which
allows you to select the keyboard in Xorg configuration.

A detailed description on how to do this can be found on the gentoo wiki:

KDE in Ubuntu seems to provide out of the box support for
multimedia/internet keys. This is because kdebase-bin package provides this
file: /usr/share/apps/kxkb/ubuntu.xmodmap
This file contains keycode to keysym mappings for frequently used
multimedia/internet keys (see attachment).

It looks like some buttons like Back and Forward have the same scancodes on
nearly every keyboard. It would probably be safe to make these buttons work
out of the box. But I think using a xmodmap file like KDE will likely result
in some multimedia keys still not working or some keys being swapped.

So my question to Ubuntu developers is:
Should some keyboard buttons work out of the box in Ubuntu GNOME like they
do in KDE? Or should keyboard models be added to xorg to make all the
buttons work when selecting the right X keyboard model in GNOME Keyboard

Perhaps it would be nice to set up some project and ask the community to
provide their xmodmap files and create keyboard models from this that can be
added to the xorg package in Ubuntu or sent to xorg upstream.
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