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Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout for XKB

This is a keyboard layout for XKB, the keyboard subsystem used by the X.org X11 server, a popular X server for Linux and *BSD systems. While it is intended as a port of the Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout for Windows XP, there are some differences. Please refer to the table below.

Differences between Windows XP version and XKB version
Unicode Character NameCode PointGlyphWinXP KeysXKB Keys
Pound SignU+00a3£AltGr+Shift+LAltGr+Shift+P
Section SignU+00a7§AltGr+Shift+SAltGr+S, Shift+S
Plus-Minus SignU+00b1±AltGr+_, +AltGr+-, +
Pilcrow SignU+00b6AltGr+Shift+PAltGr+P
Vulgar Fraction One QuarterU+00bc¼AltGr+2AltGr+4, 1
Vulgar Fraction One HalfU+00bd½AltGr+4AltGr+2, 1
Vulgar Fraction Three QuartersU+00be¾AltGr+6AltGr+4, 3
En DashU+2013AltGr+/, SpaceAltGr+-, Space
Em DashU+2014AltGr+/, -AltGr+-, -
Euro SignU+20acAltGr+Shift+4AltGr+Shift+E
Vulgar Fraction One ThirdU+2153AltGr+Shift+3, 1AltGr+3, 1
Vulgar Fraction Two ThirdsU+2154AltGr+Shift+3, 2AltGr+3, 2
Vulgar Fraction One EighthU+215bAltGr+1AltGr+8, 1
Vulgar Fraction Three EighthsU+215cAltGr+3AltGr+8, 3
Vulgar Fraction Five EighthsU+215dAltGr+5AltGr+8, 5
Vulgar Fraction Seven EighthsU+215eAltGr+7AltGr+8, 7
Diaeresisvarious¨AltGr+", letterAltGr+:, letter

The XKB version also includes the following additional characters that are not included in the WinXP version:

Please see Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout for the rest of the available characters.
Unicode Character NameCode PointGlyphKey Combination
Double DaggerU+2021AltGr+/, AltGr+T
OverlineU+203EAltGr+^, _
Fraction SlashU+2044 ⁄AltGr+/, /
Superscript DigitsU+2070,00b9,00b2–3,2074–9⁰¹²³⁴⁵⁶⁷⁸⁹AltGr+^, digit
Superscript Plus SignU+207aAltGr+^, +
Superscript MinusU+207bAltGr+^, -
Superscript Equals SignU+207cAltGr+^, =
Superscript Left ParenthesisU+207dAltGr+^, (
Superscript Right ParenthesisU+207eAltGr+^, )
Subscript DigitsU+2080–9₀₁₂₃₄₅₆₇₈₉AltGr+V, digit
Subscript Plus SignU+208aAltGr+V, +
Subscript MinusU+208bAltGr+V, -
Subscript Equals SignU+208cAltGr+V, =
Subscript Left ParenthesisU+208dAltGr+V, (
Subscript Right ParenthesisU+208eAltGr+V, )
French Franc SignU+20a3AltGr+Shift+F
Lira SignU+20a4AltGr+Shift+L
Service MarkU+2120AltGr+Shift+S
Vulgar FifthsU+2155–8⅕⅖⅗⅘AltGr+5, numerator
Vulgar SixthsU+2159–a⅙⅚AltGr+6, numerator
Vertical EllipsisU+22EEAltGr+., :

Installation: The tarball contains usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/unicodez and etc/skel/.XCompose. It should be extracted in the root of your file system by the root user (sudo tar -xjf unicodez.tar.bz2 -C /). Then the /etc/skel/.XCompose file should be copied to your home directory (cp /etc/skel/.XCompose ~/). Lastly, the new layout must be activated (setxkbmap us+unicodez). The layout will only fully take effect for applications started after the switch.

Automatically activating the layout: setxkbmap affects only the current X session, so if you always want to use Unicode Easy, you'll want to run the setxkbmap command automatically when your X session starts. This can be done a few different ways; consult the documentation for your desktop environment.

Activating the layout system-wide using HAL: Newer versions of the X.org X11 server support hot-plugging of input devices using HAL. You can configure HAL to tell XKB to use Unicode Easy for all keyboards attached to your system. Create a file /etc/hal/fdi/policy/unicodez.fdi with the following contents:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
                <match key="info.capabilities" contains="input.keyboard">
                        <append key="input.xkb.layout" type="string">+unicodez</append>

Selecting the layout in the KDE 4 Keyboard Layout module: It is possible to select the Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout in the KDE 4 Keyboard Layout System Settings Module (System Settings > Regional & Language > Keyboard Layout), though this is not necessary if you configured HAL as above. To make the layout available, you need to add the following element to /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev.xml as a child of xkbConfigRegistry/layoutList/layout[configItem/name="us"]/variantList:

		<description>Unicode Easy</description>
		<description>Unicode Easy (Dvorak)</description>

And add the following lines to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us:

partial alphanumeric_keys keypad_keys
xkb_symbols "unicodez" {
	include "us(basic)"
	include "unicodez(us)"

partial alphanumeric_keys keypad_keys
xkb_symbols "unicodez-dvorak" {
	include "us(dvorak)"
	include "unicodez(dvorak)"

Then in the KDE Keyboard Layout panel, select "Enable keyboard layouts" and choose "Evdev-managed keyboard" as your "Keyboard model". Then, if there are no layouts listed in "Active layouts", select "USA" from the list of "Available layouts" and click the right arrow button to add it. Then select the "USA" layout in the list of "Active layouts" and choose "Unicode Easy" from the drop-down list labeled "Layout variant". Finally click "Apply" to save your changes. Now KDE 4 will automatically switch your X session to the Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout whenever you log in. Sweet!

Getting GTK+ apps to use ~/.XCompose: For some unknown reason, GTK+ ignores X11's compose support and implements its own (unconfigurable) compose functionality. Thankfully, you can force GTK+ to use the standard X11 compose support by exporting GTK_IM_MODULE=xim to your X session's environment.

Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout for XKB (2.48 KiB)
MD5 Hash: 6b3dc5131ca7d592777f353e80168fe3

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