Keyboard layouts: console-setup limitations

Anton Zinoviev anton at
Fri May 8 21:15:13 BST 2009

On Fri, May 08, 2009 at 10:27:21PM +0300, Yotam Medini wrote:
> Recently I am configuring my Linux box's
>     /etc/default/console-setup
> with the following values:
>     XKBLAYOUT="us,il"
>     XKBVARIANT=",lyx"
>     XKBOPTIONS="grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll"
> This works fine for me.
> So far, I failed to see accurate documentation saying
> How rich can these values be.

You can use any values but some of them are not supported as best as in X.

> In once case I tried
> to add a third (Arabic) layout, by putting
>     XKBLAYOUT="us,il,ara"

For example in this case the keyboard switch won't be us->il->ara->us as 
in X, but rather something like us->il->us->ara->us.

> But then upone running:  
>     dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

You don't need to use dpkg-reconfigure because the Debconf part of the 
package has certain limitations (and perhaps this is not going to 
improve). Use "/etc/init.d/console-setup restart" instead of 
dpkg-reconfigure after you edit the configuration file.

> I get the error:
>     The configuration file /etc/default/console-setup specifies a keyboard
>     layout and variant that are not supported by the configuration
>     program.  Because of that, no questions about the keyboard layout will
>     be asked and your current configuration will be preserved.

This is not exactly an error.  It is simply telling you that your 
customized setting for "us,il,ara" keyboard will be preserved. You are 
welcomed to use in /etc/default/console-setup whatever settings suit you 

I am afraid other users will be confused by this message too, but 
I don't know how we can avoid this.

Anton Zinoviev

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