Proposing changes to the international keyboard

Peter Hutterer peter.hutterer at
Thu Jan 8 13:29:50 PST 2015

On Thu, Jan 08, 2015 at 05:37:16PM +0100, Adriaan van Nijendaal wrote:
> A few years ago, I proposed to add a 'new' international keyboard
> layout: altgr-intl, which hides dead keys behind the right Alt key (aka
> AltGr). It is based on the International Keyboard layout, which in turn
> follows an example set by a company in Redmond. The map was accepted and
> is now used by quite a few people who use a standard US keyboard to type
> multiple languages. They type á (a-acute) with altgr-a.
> Some people (and myself) would like to have more accented letters
> readily available through the altgr modifier. When Microsoft defined the
> international keyboard, they must have been thinking of a certain set of
> languages (including Icelandic?!?). The resulting keyboard does not suit
> all languages well (and it never will). But one could think of maps that
> would suit a few languages a little better.
> For French (and Portugese and Italian), à (agrave) would be handy (about
> 0.5% frequency in those languages). For Portugese, ã (atilde) would be
> nice (0.7%). Currently, ã is only available through a shifted dead key
> (which in altgr-intl becomes altgr-shift-tilde followed by a).
> We would like to propose a modified International Keyboard map, keeping
> the dead keys where they are, but adding all diaeresis and grave
> versions of all vowels on altgr-keys close to the vowel. This would
> require moving some others around or dropping them (like ð (eth) used in
> Old English, Middle English, Icelandic, Faroese - languages with fewer
> speakers).
> How do you feel about 'breaking' the (Microsoft) International Keyboard
> map in favor of one that suits some languages better?

tbh, breaking is a bad idea, especially for something like keyboard
layouts. Like languages itself, there are few technical arguments that
really carry so changing a layout inevitably ruins the experience for
someone (unless it's a clear bugfix, obviously).

Worse, those who use it may not notice until a few years later when it
ships in some random distribution, may not know who to contact for a
regression fix, etc.

So if you want a new layout, I'd say add it as a new layout. Less conflicts
and less work all round for everyone involved.


> Regards,
> Adriaan
> The layout could look like this (qwerty etc with the altgr key held
> down):
> ã å é è ø ù ú í ó ò
>  á à ë æ œ ì ü ï ö
>   ä © ç ® ß ñ µ
> removed: þ, ð.

More information about the xorg mailing list