Talk:OLPC Keyboard layouts


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QWERTY-style layout?

..uh, you guys are gonna teach 100 mill kids how to break 1 bill fingers on q|awerty|z layouts???

..what's wrong with Dvorak layout's? (Other than these kids typing 40% quicker than you?)

Grab key?

To me, it looks like a stop key. That is what a hand in that position represents. Anyway... what does it do?

It would look a lot more like a grab key if the thumb were on the left. Granted, that's a right-hander's view.
The Image:Key grab.jpg is, according to the HIG, is for panning/scrolling.... --Xavi 14:06, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
Agreed that the thumb should be on the left; also the fingers should be spread and possibly curved, as when grasping something. -- 19:13, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

The QWERTY phenomenon

It is interesting to note that although one of the three (3) parables Seymour has picked talks about the QWERTY as a phenomenon, the keyboard layout chosen for the XO is that very layout.

Seymour, are you all talk? Why do you make such a number of the QWERTY layout, if you are not willing to back that opinion by enforcing a different layout (e.g. the Dvorak) on the XO?

What kind of a learning tool are we making, if we are forcing children in emerging countries to learn to type on an archaic layout made for inefficiency? Shouldn't we be empowering the children, encouraging them to break the world record for type writing instead of crippling them with the XO's keyboard?

What kind of a message are we sending out the XO? That we are all for efficiency in power consumption and economics, but not user interface?

What kind of a message are we sending about staying true to our stated goals, our mission, our publicly expressed views about better education, if we are not willing to change the layout of the keyboards, when we already concede that the QWERTY layout is inferior (although the Wikipedia article on Dvorak does leave some room for debate on the superiority department)?

For some reason I found very little discussion on this. I think the external user interface is as important as the internal especially as one key tool for learning is writing. We should not hamper that with a design decision that cannot be thoroughly backed.

I hope it is not too late for this discussion. I'm sure it shouldn't be, since we're talking about another different layout for the keyboard, which already has a number of different layout options. Also since we're designing both the hardware and the software, the software can be made Dvorak (or other superior-to-QWERTY-layout) aware from the start and thus avoid some of the problems stated in the Wikipedia article on Dvorak.

More on this at the Keyboard design topic. The worst part of the deal is the usage of the same slanted-column layout they had to apply back in the old days because of limitations of the early typewriters. IMHO it would take little effort to make it slanted in a way to possess mirrored symmetry (or at least to have a plain matrix). -- bkil 20:51, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

A need for 6 international chacacters ĉĝĥĵŝŭ

Looking at some of the keyboad layouts, I must say I'm rather disappointed not to see c-circumflex g-circumflex h-circumflex j-circumflex s-circumflex u-breve on them all as standard. To my mind these six (which are from the Unesco-resolutioned Esperanto) are as fundamental as the 26 letters of the English alphabet. If the EU could save up to 25 billion euros a year by using Esperanto, if the Grin report is right, then think how important these letters could be for the keyboards of developing nations. AltGr-U and AltGr-^ would make sense, or at least please support the ISO 9995 hotkeys (circumflex and breve included). -- Irvdel 2007-07-13

Don't be disappointed: the Unicode combining characters for circumflex and breve are on all of the keyboards. If one prefers deadkeys, they can be remapped. --Walter 17:43, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

Could you add one more key to the EN-US layout (for next gen)? The Hawaiian letter `okina is not quite a grave -- it's a reversed apostrophe. It's treated as a letter, not an accent (i.e.: not dead and not a combining glyph). (For those who want to know, the Hawaiian alphabet consists of the latin characters AEHIKLMNOPUW, the `okina and the vowels can take a macron.) -- dave wallace 2007.12.14

You don't have to wait for us to redesign the keyboard: you can reassign a key in the xkb symbol table. Not sure where (what key position) you'd like to assign the okina to, but I'd be happy to walk you through the process. (The relevant file is /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us and the relevant place in the file to look is the xkb_symbols "olpc" section, near the end of the file. --Walter 14:24, 14 December 2007 (EST)
The ʻokina is in Unicode position U+02BB. I've chosen to use AltGr+K as the key assigned to the purpose. So the mod to .../symbols/us is to change the definition for key <AC08> to be
"   key <AC08>  { [       k,        K,    0x10002BB,      0x10002BB ] };"
(Note that this modification works for builds from 653 on.) -- Davewa 20:19, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Volume Control

Can someone explain the reasoning of the top right bar, which on the B4 controls volume? Why does have four symbols? Of which the left two look like brightness commands, the right two symbols appear to be volume, yet the whole thing is volume control. The sun symbols are in fact almost identical to the brightness buttons on Macbook Pro's. Its very confusing and somewhat ridiculous.

The brightness controls control brightness; the volume controls control volume. Not sure what is ridiculous about that. --Walter 15:33, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
The controls don't work properly until you have a late enough software release (Build XXX). The older builds use a different keyboard layout that worked on the B2's. --gnu


Ctrl being on the same line as ASDF is sooo archaic (Sun4/Sun5 keyboards). Also, Œ should be on O, much like Æ is on A, so that € can be on E instead. Spacebar could be narrower. (Sony Vaio PCG-U3's spacebar only spans VBN keys, for example)

Well, something needs to go there, and caps lock does not deserve such prime real estate. Typewriters used to put the tab key there. Of course, then there would be two tab keys or an empty spot. 21:27, 14 December 2007 (EST)
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