[CentOS] Switching keyboard language (was: Re: Locales and filenames)

ken gebser at mousecar.com
Thu Oct 29 14:55:27 UTC 2009

On 10/28/2009 09:10 AM Alfred von Campe wrote:
> On Oct 27, 2009, at 19:28, ken wrote:
>> E.g., create a file with vi with just one German/Greek/French word,  
>> say,
>> Έντελέχεια (Entylecheia, an ancient Greek word).  If the  
>> name of the
>> file is "nonenglish", then, after you do your save in vim, run the  
>> shell
>> commands
>> touch temp; mv temp $(cat nonenglish)
> I guess my issue is how these characters get generated in the first  
> place.  By cutting and pasting the word "Έντελέχεια" from  
> your email into a file on Linux (via the Synergy mouse & keyboard  
> sharing utility no less), I was able to create a file containing that  
> word and also named that word and display it correctly with cat and  
> ls.  So UTF-8 encoding appears to work just fine.  It's 8-byte  
> characters in ISO 8859-1 encoding that are causing my problem.   
> Fortunately, I think I don't have to deal with ISO 8859-1 encodings,  
> and my problem was self-created by cutting and pasting characters  
> from the iso_8859-1 man page.
> Now I have a follow up question: so far I've only been able to enter  
> non-ASCII characters on my Linux system by cutting & pasting; how do  
> I actually generate any of these characters on a system with a US  
> keyboard?
> Thanks for all that have helped me solve this problem.
> Alfred

There are a lot of keyboard configuration files under /lib/kbd/keymaps/.
 One of these is loaded at boot-time, probably the one you configured in
when you first set up the system.  I don't know all the steps you'll
need to do-- I've never tried to do what you're doing-- but read the
xmodmap manpage and then examine the keycodes in the keymap files
mentioned above.  For example, mk-utf.map.gz under
/lib/kbd/keymaps/i386/qwerty has coding to toggle one keymap to another.
 IOW, you'd type in one language, hit a couple keys to toggle the
keyboard into another language, and then hit another couple/three
hotkeys to get back to English... or whichever your home language is.

Unless there's some app I don't know about, this is going to be a lot of
work, especially if you have to figure out how keymaps work.  But work
it out and you'll be linux-famous.

Document everything.

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