International keyboard talk (discussion)

Many thanks @Caliga for summing this up! :grinning:

1 Like

Uh… actually, hotter news are out over on Twitter.
And nobody cared to put it here, too… :roll_eyes:

Poll for features of the next Librem revisions:
Reaction to German keyboard request:

That sounds like we get German keyboards 2018!
Maybe Q2?

1 Like

German is almost the same as Swedish (Nordic) keyboard. Only å is missing. But I would like to have that too.

Well, it seems feasible to remember that ü=å. But there are more differences: ²=@ and ß=+. And some other differences with less-used symbols. (see German, Swedish).

But yes, it’s much closer than the US layout. Maybe they can offer a German/Nordic set, where you get a German layout plus 9 extra key caps, if there are not enough requests for nordic layouts. That would also help to increase the volume for German.

In fact I use German keyboards. It is not only the symbols but also the ordering of the keys are different. But when you get used to it you can easily use a German keyboard. Much easier than the US keyboard.

1 Like

German keyboards confirmed for next batch!

I need an italian keyboard!

(I’m answering in this thread to keep the poll thread tidy.)

Yes, good idea… But creating yet another thread would probably only make it even messier than it is alreday :wink:
Besides… that would actually be the job of Purism! @nicole.faerber
I tried to sum up all old voices, so that the poll thread contains them all. If now you do a new poll, some people will be in both polls, but not all. Trust me :wink:

Over at Twitter, where they ask for wished features in the next Librems, also many people asked for keyboard layouts. There, too, a poll tweet has been suggested, but no reaction yet.
I think staff is really overloaded, and I hope it’s a rather temporary thing… Hope they get some rest on xmas :slight_smile:

Hi all,

I am not the right person to get a poll or similar things done but I will try to ping them.

What I can say though is that we are working with the manufacturer on intl keyboard layouts and ways to make this easier. Up to now it means to order complete devices with each layout which, as you may imagine, increases cost dramatically. E.g. if we have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of, say, 100 keyboards for one language and then have to build 100 laptops with this single layout it will bind a lot of money. So we are working on getting this decoupled, e.g. ordering just keyboards which can be swapped or something similar. We sincerely hope that we can offer more layouts at a reasonable price this way.

I will ping the other staff members concerning the poll idea etc. which would be really good to have so that we get an idea how many of each variant are requested.



The poll is here: Keyboard layout poll

1 Like

I would like to share some thought on keyboards and derive why it is important to care about their design in detail and what may be important for some usergroups.

1. Who is the target group of Purism products?

As the unique selling point of Purism notebooks is the coreboot feature I think the main target group are people who understand from / against what coreboot can protect them from.

a) activists, political opposition, people living under repressive regimes

In short people who must consider serious consequences for their lifes, health and freedom. I think they are maybe those who profit most from the coreboot feature. This group is quite international by its nature. As everyone they will profit from a localized keyboard easier writing out local names and longer texts. I guess other keyboard requirements from this group is quite individual.

b) developers and power users

Now it gets much more interesting on keyboard details. This part will be influences much by my personal experiences, because I am a software developer and power user. I hope that many fellow colleges will agree with my argumentation.

When I am programming, I make huge use of keyboard shortcuts, because that raise my productivity exponentially. Ideally the already learned shortcuts work out of the box without further configuration on new hardware, too. It is nasty to rearrange brain and hardware to new shortcuts while the old ones had become an automatism long ago. Part of that is, that many keyboards break with established keyboards layouts. The “Ctrl” key e.g. has been the lowest left key on the keyboard for long time. People where happy with that until the “Fn” key broke the paradise with taking the place “Ctrl” by moving it to the right. The place in the corner is an important strategic location. It is easy to find for your fingers without looking at them and it is a good starting point to blindly search other keys. I use the controll key all the time while using the “Fn” key rarely. So the important corner place is wasted by the “Fn” key and it is needed for the “Ctrl” key. That is one of many details which can be done wrong by a keyboard designer.

The next thing is that “Fn” key or special hardware functions on the keys “F1” to “F12” are hiding more important functions. Some examples:

“F1” => help (okay okay, rarely used)
“F2” => at least used in Eclipse IDE to see source documentation and similar stuff. A bit individual but important for me
“F3” => next search result (I think [Shift] +[F3] => previous result), very very common shortcut in many programs with integrated search functions (browsers, document viewers, databases, file managers, text editors, IDEs etc.)
“F5” => refresh, very very important and common in all sorts of programs

And that are only some examples. It it ridiculous that nowadays I have to press [Fn] + [F5] to refresh something, where I only used to press [F5] only int the past. This is a function used hundreds of times per day.

I know sometimes those things can be configured in BIOS but it is usually limited.

Basically it boild down to this: It is okay for me the press the [Fn] in addition to a function key for rarely used functions like display brightness, sound controll, hardware kill switches, but please do not push me to press additional keys like [Fn] for often used functions like refresh.

Also very very bad is the placement of [Pos1], [End], [PgUp], [PgDown], [Ins], [Del] and the cursor arraokeys. Okay okay, a notebook a limited place for all that stuff, but these keys are so unbelievable important to me, I pray for those noobs that do not use them. I even use them on my android phone! Those keys can help ANYONE the RAISE PRODUCTIVITY up through the ceiling. Some keyboards place those keys on the numblock, but this is done in a way that their function depends on context. This may be more of a software issue. Anyway it drives me crazy when sometimes it is used to input a number when I want to place the cursor at the beginning or ending of a line or something by pressing the same key. It would be less of a problem to steal my mouse or touchpad or the whole numpad but please these keys have to be placed properly and their use must be easy. No magic wanted.

I am sorry. In the end I got a bit emotional. Thats only because a keyboard is so unbelievable important for programmers. It should be a crime to give them bad keyboards. People who do this should go to jail. It is like cutting a pianists fingers. Its criminal assault.


@mladen thanks a lot! Maybe you could make it sticky?
Looks even more official then :smiley:
(casting votes does not keep it at the top)

Yes, there are similar solutions. I’ve been using it for a few years now. Here’s one example:
And how it looks:

Hello speaking of keyboards, a part from having the ability to have a german layout (i have here at least 3 other guys who would buy a laptop immediately if there was a german kbd…) how about getting rid of the most useless key ever: the f***ing caps lock key?

1 Like

I was searching of any updates on keyboard layouts and I found this topic.
I am wondering if the Arabic keyboard layout is part of Purism future plans ?

I’m just interested in the specific type of plastic hinge the keyboard uses: one of the 4 “legs” of my “G” key’s hinge sheared off, so only 3 legs snap in and it falls off continually. I imagine you can replace the physical keys if we can find the manufacturer

An alternative approach for international keyboards could ne to offer both ANSI (like the actual US keyboard) and ISO keyboards, along with the option to blank character printings. (Coders know the character position on their favorite layout. Non-coders can use stickers)

Which adds up to only 3 different layouts

  • ANSI blank
  • ISO blank

Bonus: offer many different packs of stickers for a fee!

A quick and dirty hack, especially if you want to change keyboard layouts from time to time and don’t know them blind: I bought a cheap silicone keyboard cover that roughly fitted the dimensions of my Librem 13. Had to cut off all the parts I wouldn’t need and make separate stripes in order for it to fit. It’s far from pretty, but it works just fine and uses very little space in the bag.

Is it possible to reprogram the keys on a Librem 15 version 3 (or any Librem laptop) to make a UK keyboard more like an American keyboard?

If so, are where could I find instructions on how to do this?

I realize there are physical/real world keyboard layout differences with sizes and shapes of some of the keys near the pinkie fingers in the UK vs US keyboards.

I’m thinking about getting a clearance Librem 15 version 3 with UK keyboard and would like to change the function of some of the keys to make it more like a US keyboard. Especially would like not to have to reach so far to shift with my left pinkie by making the key just below and to the left of the “A” key able to shift.

Not sure if this should be a new thread. Thanks.

Short answer: Pretty sure yes, it’s possible

Some models had issues with the keyboard embedded controller, which were fixable with a configuration file.

You can read a bit here:

As far as I can see, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to apply that to any keys of your choice so that the system interprets the generated keycodes as whatever keycode you would prefer