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Re: The Chthulhoid horror that is keyboard handling in Unix (Re: Backspace, Delete and other keys)

At Thu, 1 Apr 2010 02:59:02 +0200 (CEST), Magnus Eriksson 
<> wrote:
Subject: The Chthulhoid horror that is keyboard handling in Unix (Re: 
Backspace, Delete and other keys)
> To those born after the Stone Age of computing, the above doesn't even 
> begin to make sense.  "delete character"?  It's not a character, it's an 
> operation, it's *something you do*.
> What I mean is this: The up arrow key doesn't send a "move cursor up 
> character"[*], Caps Lock doesn't send the "START SHOUTING CHARACTER" 
> followed by the "toggle led character"; and the power key doesn't send a 
> "turn system off character".  "delete character"?  April Fools isn't until 
> tomorrow, you know.

Well said.

Of course the problem here is that there are these several levels of
understanding here, and indeed there is often confusion caused between
them because not everyone refers to the same level at the same time.

Underneath it all some keyboard controller, terminal, driver, or
whatever has to convert that key press into a specific code of some type
that then gets translated into data that causes the system or
application to do the operation that the user expects.

Jennings of course said much of this much better than I can.

We _do_ still have to do all this low-level stuff though, right down to
the way bits are represented and transmitted electrically or whatever.

To some extent the way you talk about the high-level concepts makes me
think of Steve Jobs and ultimately Henry Ford.  You can have any colour
you want, as long as it's black.  We've decided what that key over there
is going to do for you.

Unfortunately sometimes when there's more than one way to do something
and only tradition to say which way any one group will go, then only
Gulliver knows how things will end up.

                                                Greg A. Woods
                                                Planix, Inc.

<>       +1 416 218 0099

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