Subject: Re: BS & DEL
To: None <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 09/01/2000 11:46:45
[ On Friday, September 1, 2000 at 12:04:21 (+0200), Lucio De Re wrote: ]
> Subject: BS & DEL
> What is the rationale behind configuring the PC keyboard to issue
> DEL from the <- (otherwise known as backspace) key?

Some of the more influential developers have grown up using VT220
keyboards where this is the case and have hard-wired their fingers to
believe this is the case on all keyboards!  :-)

> What is the situation with other architectures, do they also deviate
> from the conventional (call it native) keyboard mapping?

Sun, at least with their Type-4 keyboard, were very smart.  They put a
double-wide "BackSpace" key (which also has a left-arrow symbol on it),
just above the nearly quad-sized return key, and then they put a similar
double-sized "Delete" key just above the BackSpace key (i.e. right in
the very top-right corner of the main group of keys).

NCD N108 keyboards are visually identical in layout to VT220 keyboards
though so I have to re-map them to be more sane (i.e. to match my own
finger's programming).  Since they're almost always only used in X11
though I can do this very easily with xmodmap (and by using xkeycaps to
generate the xmodmap commands, of course).

> I presume DEL as the character erase is traditional of Berkeley Unix?

Yeah, that's pretty much what it boils down to!  ;-)

Us V7 types learned that "rubout" was the interrupt key and we've
programmed our fingers differently than the BSD types.

If you're more accustomed to the "traditional" behaviour, and if you're
using wscons, then you can repair the "bug" with the following

	wsconsctl -w map+='keycode 14 = Cmd_ResetEmul BackSpace Delete'

(Note I've had some trouble with this command not taking effect
sometimes when run from /etc/rc.d/wscons.  Also note the '+' in the
above command is critical!)

You might also enjoy doing this so long as you're already using the "us"

	# PC Keyboard layouts are *all* insane....
	wsconsctl -w encoding=us.swapctrlcaps

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
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