Map some other function to the insert key

Michael R Head burner at
Wed Apr 20 14:08:45 CDT 2005

On Wed, 2005-04-20 at 18:56 +0200, Molot wrote:

First of all, let me point out that I don't think Ubuntu's job is to
fiddle with people's keyboards, so I'm really playing devil's advocate

> About overvrite-mode... It's a basic of electronic use - don't press
> the button until you know what it will do ;)
> If some  newbie is pressing  anything just to check how it works - ok,
> let him see how it works! If anyone don't need this key, he don't
> press it anyway.
> Changing behaviour just to prevent "strange things" to guy who is
> pressing keys without care / thinking for me sounds as a bad idea.

I agree in principle, except for the problem of the accidental press.
This is particularly a problem on laptops. Indeed, just this morning I
went for the delete key and pressed the insert key without knowing it. I
got a word or two in before I realized what the problem was.

And now, for a realworld example of a confused user (in case you think
is just idle speculation). I put Ubuntu on my dad's and sister's
computers in January. They've both been using computers for many years
(several decades for my dad). He complained to me that he couldn't get
the computer to type words into the middle of his openoffice documents
without destroying the words after where he typed. I had to explain to
him about the insert key and how he can see the insert status at the
bottom of his openoffice window.

> Aslo... if insert and replace aren't oposite as they are both writing
> modes, then lowercase and uppercase aren't oposite as... hmm... they
> are both writing modes, aren't they?

Most users tend to be very bad at understanding modes of operation. It's
very confusing when doing the same action in (essentially) the same
context does a completely different thing. 

Think vi. It's very powerful, and those that master it can do great
things, but it takes a long time to learn. Time lots of people aren't
willing to put in. In general, users just want to get their work done.


Michael R Head <burner at>
GPG: (ID 23A02B1F)
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