Keymaps and how to make them

Ken Moffat zarniwhoop at
Sat Oct 7 10:46:46 PDT 2006

On Sat, Oct 07, 2006 at 03:36:03PM +0000, Florian E. Teply wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Hello LFS folks,
> Currently i'm into bringing Linux to life on my trusty old Apple
> Powerbook G3. While that 'book alone is quite a bit off the beaten track
> of those x86 stuff, the keyboard is even more so. Apart from that, i'm
> not running an english keyboard layout but a german one...
> After quite a bit of research on the net i already found some generic
> german keymap for mac keyboards, but it isn't more than that: generic.
> The Problem here is, that laptops usually have keyboard layouts that are
>  different from the standard desktop sort of stuff. So the keymap i
> found makes the plain alphanumerical keys work, but i'm missing a couple
> of "special" signs like the "@" sign or the Unix Pipe...
> Could possibly someone give me a direction on how to edit those keymaps??
 If you are talking about the console keyboard, I can possibly help.
X is an entirely different can of worms -  I might have some old
debian URLs, but my current impression is that things which used to
work in X no longer work with 7.1 (e.g. .Xmodmap).  Also, at the
moment there is an ongoing thread on debian-powerpc about trying to
fix the X keyboard definitions for macs, and it looks as if there is
a lot of variation between different machines.

 I'm not familiar with the details of the various models, but my
impression is that apple laptops give a mostly-American layout, and
probably don't provide certain keys because they aren't needed for
mac graphical apps (e.g. on the UK layout we get a '£' but not a

 My first mac was a G4 iBook2 (the motherboard has now died), and I
can remember many a happy hour spent with 'showkey', and searching
through the keyboard tables for the names of the characters.
Basically, it's a matter of copying the current keymap to a new
name, then editing it.  Try a change, load the new map with
'loadkeys', if it doesn't help load the old map again, if it did
help, go on to the next change.  Sometimes, you might have to reboot
or power-cycle if you really screw it up and can't type all the
letters you need to restore the original map. That's why you don't
want to use the new version as the default until it is right!

 My old British keytable is at
 - they aren't directly applicable, but might be instructive.
BTW, at the risk of telling you what you already know, the 'delete'
key might be on 'Fn' + '.' (a bit easier than using backspace all the

 Possibly, people on clfs-support might also be able to help.

das eine Mal als Tragödie, das andere Mal als Farce

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