Re: Latin-script keyboard layout (was RE: Quick Question About Korean Input Methods)

From: verdy_p (
Date: Wed Jan 06 2010 - 17:53:26 CST

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    > De : "Karl Pentzlin"
    > Also, regarding the real world, you find a photo (taken by Alain LaBonté)
    > of a real keyboard here:
    > adhering to a real standard - the Canadian standard as e.g. found on:
    > You see 3 levels and 2 groups employed, thus having up to 5 characters
    > per key (as Level 3 of Group 2 is not used).
    > ME> ... and I guess they hope that their standard will get rid of
    > ME> what they claim to be "unergonomic" keyboards in favour of what's in
    > ME> their standard.

    Can the "Fn" key commonly found on the last row of notebooks, to the right between the Ctrl and Alt modifiers, be
    used as the Level3 selector?

    Now the proposed standard is not a Level3 (i.e. a third row of labels on keys), but a Group3 (a third column of
    labels), and it is really impractical to make them fit cleanly on a real keyboard. It is already difficult to map a
    third row on keys on notebooks (that's why the "Fn" key is generally used with F1..F12 keys that don't have separate
    symbols for Shift (top row) or AltGr (right column) : the multimedia functions are then using symbols only on these

    The second difficulty will come with notebooks whose size do not permit placing a separate cursor/numeric keypad :
    there's a way to use a single "Alpha/NumPad" key to map the keypad on top of the main part of the keyboard. It comes
    in addition to the other existing "NumLock" key which allows locking the Shift state of the keypad separately from
    the main part of the keyboard (so numlock does not really adds new "levels" or "groups", it just uses the same two-
    "levels" as those used with Shift/Capslock, and the secondary level is also usable on the keypad without locking it
    with NumLock, but simply by pressing "Shift").

    But on these compact notebooks, these keypad keys already need their own labels in addition to the existing
    letters/digits/punctuation of the keyboard : where will you place any Level3 or Group3 label ? I see no easy
    solution, except if accepting that all keyboards need new physical keys, and this means that all existing keyboards
    will be unusable in practice with the proposed standard. And for notebooks, there's then a near-zero chance to have
    this standard implemented (it may eventually appear in separate keyboards for desktops, or with a secondary keyboard
    for notebooks, similar to those small USB keypads that are sold or notebooks that don't have a builtin keypad, but I
    cannot see how the standard can be mapped by adding such secondary keypad and using it).

    Given than notebooks are now increasingly used instead of desktops, even for non-mobile users, the only standard
    that can succeed will have to use the existing notebook constraints, including for the smallest models without a
    separate keypad). Otherwise it iwill be simply unusable in practice, if vendors are forced to add rarealy used
    labels with a confusive printout or extra colors, or two small glyphs for the engraved labels on top of keys: it
    will be even more problematic for the small diacritics that need to have a convenient size to be easily readable and

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