Re: FW: Canadian Keyboard Layouts

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Thu Jun 01 2000 - 00:37:45 EDT

À 09:11 2000-05-31 -0800, Magda Danish (Unicode) a écrit:
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Jeff Hickey []
>Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 6:22 AM
>Subject: International Keyboard Layouts
>We've found some differences in French Canadian keyboard in which we're
>trying to understand.
>Can you direct me to a resource which has commonly used keyboard layouts
>for a variety of countries? More specifically; French Canadian,
>Canadian Multilingual, US, US-International .
>Preferably, an internet site which layouts can be viewed.
>Are you aware of a standards body which sets establishes the standard?
>Thank you in advance.
>Jeff Hickey
>Information Services
>Edward Jones
>St Louis, MO

[Alain] There is only one current de jure keyboard standard for Canada
(implemented as the only Canadian French keyboard on the Mac). It is
CAN/CSA Z243.200-1992 (the standard can be bought from CSA sales in English
and in French). It is a "national standard of Canada", blessed by the
supreme authority in Canada in matter of standards, the Standards Council
of Canada (Conseil canadien des normes).

On PCs implementations of other keyboard layouts are a mess... Third
parties implemented the de jure standard on all platforms but IBM has been
very shy to almost implement anything else except the unprefered Canadian
French keyboard, designed in Toronto by non-French-speakers of the
marketing department (not NLTC) to make sure that it would not look too
much French (sic, it's the pure truth -- yes, some do not see French as
welcome in Canada)... This Canadian French keyboard exist in so many
flavours outside IBM's that I do not count them anymore. Anyway none except
the Canadina de jure standard support integral French.

The Québec government mandates the de jure Canadina standard at its
conformance level 2 (B) for its procurement. The federal government which
should be an example is more lax, it is also the norm, but remains more
optional. In the private sector, ignorance of the differences between the
de jure standard and other configurations prevail. Some just make reference
to "the CSA standard" in thinking it only has to do with the electrical
standard also involved... So those who just ask for "the CSA standard"
(without the exact reference to the layout standard) often get a keyboard
which is electrically standard but has nothing of a standardized layout.

Since the Québec government recently announced an important program to
finance PCs for Internet access among its less fortunate citizens, and that
it mandates the use of the de jure standard for homologated machines, IBM
promised to make a standard offer, this time. We'll see at what point
Toronto is serious this time. So far it is implemented even on IBM PCs
without any help on their side (many third parties offer all the required
hardware and software components on nearly all platforms).

That said Microsoft recently implemented the full Canadian standard
keyboard (I mean at its highest level of conformance with the full
repertoire of ISO/IEC 6937, but with -- Hurrah ! --- a Unicode native
encoding) in its keyboard drivers on the latest version of Windows NT and
apparently also on Windows 2000 which I have not tried yet. The other
versions of Windows implement it too under the name of Canadian
multilingual (limited to Latin 1, lowest level of conformance -- at a
higher level mandated by the Québec government, integral French is possible
with the famous OE ligatures, regardless of coding -- Latin 9, MS 1252 or
Unicode, in practice).

For those who read French, before buying the standard, you can have a look
at OLF site (this one also describes the labelig prescribed by ISO/IEC
9995-1 and the symbols of ISO/IEC 9995-7):

Alain LaBonté
Convenor, CAN/CSA SC35 (shadow of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC35 - Person machine
Project Editor, ISO/IEC 9995 series of keyboard standards (8 parts,
including one on allocation of letters to telephone and teller machine
keypads) developed by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC35

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