Polyglot keyboards (was: Non-standard 8-bit fonts still in use)

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at wanadoo.fr
Tue May 10 10:30:25 CDT 2016

Very true, and this will likely not change.
Even users of "ergonomic" layouts want to keep this ergonomy for their
letters (an letter pairs).
All that can be made reasonable is to extend existing layouts with minimal
changes: basic letters, decimal digits, and basic punctuation must remain
at the same place (and there's also some resistance for the most common few
additional letters used in each language that are typically placed on the
1st row, or near the Enter key).
What is likely to change is the placement of combinations using AltGr on
the first row (but on non-US keyboards, these also include some ASCII
characters considered essential on a computer like the backslash, hash
sign, tilde, arrobace, or underscore)

This leaves little freedom for changes except for keys currently assigned
to less essential characters such as the degree sign, the micro sign, the
pound sign (in countries not usingf this symbol daily), the "universal"
currency sign, the paragraph mark... Those can be used to fit better
candidates for extensions.

But without an extension of keyboard rows, it will be difficult to have a
wide adoption on physical keyboards. Function keys F1..F12 may be easily
reduced to fit additional keys for letters and diacritics.

Keyboards have instead been extended for many things that most people in
fact almost never use or don't need there such as multimedia keys,
shortcuts to launch the browser or calculator app. or the contextual
menu/options key (added by Windows), or TWO (sic!) keys for the Windows key
(Keep only one and map the few additional keys found on Japanese keyboards).

But it is challenging to have decent sizes for keys on notebooks keyboards
which are already extremely packed (F1..F12 are already reduced
vertically). They invented another way: using a new "Fn" mode key for
additional multimedia keys (or keys for switching the Wifi, Bluetooth or
display adapters, or control the display lightness or sound volume/mute, or
to eliminate the PrintScreen function, or the ScrollLock or NumLock mode
switch keys). A few of them added a couple of character keys for currency
units ($ and €) instead of the Japanese mode keys.

In fact every brand has done what it wanted to extend the keyboards...
except for extending really the usable alphabets.

For virtual on-screen layouts, there's much more freedom as the display
panel is adaptative and allows more innovative input methods, of things
never dound on physical keyboards such as entering emojis.

2016-05-10 16:55 GMT+02:00 Doug Ewell <doug at ewellic.org>:

> Otto Stolz wrote:
> > Yes, there is somebody going there. E. g., the German standard
> > DIN 2137:2012-06 defines a “T2” layout which is meant
> > for all official, Latin-based orthographies worldwide, and
> > additionally for the Latin-based minority languages of Germany
> > and Austria. The layout is based on the traditional QWERTZU layout
> > for German and Austrian keyboards (which is now dubbed “T1”).
> > Cf. <https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/T2_(Tastaturbelegung)>.
> Yes, but there's the rub. QWERTY users are about as willing to switch to
> QWERTZ in the name of global standardization as Germans would be to
> switch to QWERTY.
> --
> Doug Ewell | http://ewellic.org | Thornton, CO ����
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