One of the reasons why X11 rocks

My Toshiba Satellite U200-XXX laptop died recently (as in two days ago). While setting up a replacement laptop, which I bought from the local “Plaisio Computers” store, I realized that I was looking for the left Alt key and kept constantly hitting the left “Windows” key. I had immediately replaced the Windows Vista installation of the laptop with a dump(8) / restore(8) of my original laptop’s FreeBSD installation, so I have no particular use for a “Windows” key.

Fortunately enough, X11 is a wonderful system. I can remap and swap keys to my heart’s desire, and this is precisely what I did just a few minutes ago:

keramida@kobe:/home/keramida$ hg log -v -p -r tip
changeset:   145:a148a5c79c0e
tag:         tip
user:        Giorgos Keramidas 
date:        Thu Jul 17 04:13:20 2008 +0300
files:       .Xmodmap
xmodmap: Replace the "Windows" keys with Alt_L and Alt_R

A couple of extra `Meta' keys are more useful than the
completely useless "Windows" flaggy bits.

diff -r e34b7e6ea856 -r a148a5c79c0e .Xmodmap
--- a/.Xmodmap  Thu Jul 17 04:22:57 2008 +0300
+++ b/.Xmodmap  Thu Jul 17 04:13:20 2008 +0300
@@ -32,3 +32,15 @@
 keysym Caps_Lock = Control_L
 add Lock = Caps_Lock
 add Control = Control_L
+! Customizations for Turbo-X laptop.
+! Make the Windows keys act the same as ALT.  I don't really need an
+! extra pair of ALT keys, but my fingers hit Windows keys far too often
+! when I want to type meta-combos.  This makes the windows keys more
+! useful and my fingers more happy.
+keycode 115 = Alt_L
+keycode 117 = Alt_R


Neat. Now I don’t really care if my fingers slip and hit one of the “Windows flaggy bits”. That’s really really nice :-)

PS: In a followup post, when I catch up with $realwork I’ll write more about the move from an old-ish, crashed laptop to another one. Let’s just say, for now, that FreeSBIE saved the day!

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6 Responses to One of the reasons why X11 rocks

  1. Markos says:

    This is a wonderful trick. Thank you for posting it :)

  2. Nuclear says:

    Heh, I’m also using xmodmap on my macbook’s Debian GNU/Linux installation. There is a weird apple key where alt should normally be, so I remapped it to alt.

  3. Pingback: Linkdump for 07/18 · DragonFly BSD Digest

  4. . says:

    it’s not a trick, it’s a configuration.

  5. keramida says:

    Yes, it’s just a configuration option of X11. One that I found useful, and just blogged about it in a ‘neat, it worked’ manner :)

  6. Pingback: Moving a FreeBSD Installation to a New Laptop « Blog Pseudoaccidentale

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