Support for multimedia/internet keyboards

Luka Renko lure at
Wed Aug 15 10:19:32 UTC 2007

On Wednesday 15 August 2007 11:54:24 Pascal De Vuyst wrote:
> 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).

I have added this mapping file as part of Edgy [1] and Feisty [2] improvements 
for Kubuntu laptop support. Initial goal was more focused on laptop specific 
buttons (sleep, suspend, hibernate, brightness...) which were handled nicely 
in Ubuntu/GNOME (but only for laptop buttons that are handled by GNOME Power 
Manager). Since we were unable to use HAL input events easily (long story), I 
have decided it would be better to ensure consistent key mapping to proper X 
keysyms as these can be nicely mapped in KDE. This way, user can also use KDE 
configuration to map keys to appropriate actions (if we do not ship default 
action yet).

> 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.

Kernel and some helper tools (like hotkey-setup package) already map keys to 
proper keycodes (at least they try) and ubuntu.xmodmap just tries to map 
those keycodes to appropriate X keysyms (sometimes it is hard as there is no 
proper name for the key). As part of Kubuntu improvements, we have collected 
some info [3] from users that have confirmed that keys are same (at least 
mostly) between different laptops/multimedia keys. For examaple, my HP laptop 
and Genius multimedia keyboard share all the keycodes.

> 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
> Preferences?

This is a question for people with more GNOME background. I would love to have 
this unified between GNOME and KDE version.
It would be also good to get input from Matthew Garrett and Paul Sladen that 
have mostly worked on the current kernel & hotkey-setup layer that are 
enabling technologies for this implementation.

> 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.

You could use my [3] as a base and start from there. We may also want to talk 
with xorg developers to introduce additional X keysyms definitions for keys 
that do not map to one of existing definitions.



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