Arbitrary key assignment interface program?

Peter Hutterer peter.hutterer at
Tue Nov 4 18:33:31 PST 2008

On Tue, Nov 04, 2008 at 07:21:50PM -0500, Saist wrote:
> What I don't know is whether or not such an interface program could be
> designed under Linux to begin with... documentation confuses the
> living daylights out of me, so I don't really know if the input system
> could support arbitrary key re-assignments and assignments to begin with...

xkb keyboard descriptions map scancodes (from the kernel) to a number of
literal symbols. This is (on most boxes) responsible for different keyboard
layouts, so basically you can map anything you want.

xkbcomp -xkb :0 mylayout.xkb
will dump you current description into mylayout.xkb. You can then play with it
and load it back into the server with xkbcomp mylayout.xkb :0.

(There's a few caveats I'll skip for now).

> After sending this I started thinking more about a possible structure for
> such an interface program. Again, I'm not a coder so I'm not sure... if this
> is possible... but what if an interface program could be designed to list
> basic functions (keyboard 101-104 support / mouse support)... but then
> feature a plugin model to extend functionality.. such as a KDE plugin that
> offers known interface shortcuts for existing KDE programs.

Integrate with xkeyboard-config's RMLVO descriptions. There's a simple
description (skipping all the nasties) on

As for the button->keyboard events, that's a bit harder as they are treated
very different by the server and can't be mapped as easily.


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