keyboard problem

Brandon Peirce brandon_peirce at
Sat Oct 7 12:48:06 PDT 2006

Richard Caldwell wrote:
>How do you check your keyboard/locale configuration and change it? Next 
>time I reboot
>I'll try a differenet keyboard as a matter of interest.

You don't need to reboot to try out different keyboard mappings.
I'm not very familiar with the live CD, but I'm assuming it doesn't have X.
What I write hereafter applies only to the linux console.  X works
completely differently, using xmodmap.

Basically you just issue the loadkeys command.  Check out the man
page for all the options, but usually it should just work to enter a
command like
  loadkeys uk
to load a basic UK keyboard layout.  The actual keyboard map file
loaded by that command will be something like
You can browse around that directory to see what other layouts
exist. There is also the concept of "partial maps", i.e. you load a
basic layout first and then load one or more map files that just remap
a few keys to obtain specific features of variant keyboard models,
or different behaviours e.g. "dead keys".

One thing to remember is that loadkeys changes the keyboard
layout on _all_ virtual consoles simultaneously.  As long as you
don't change the default, you can always recover by rebooting.
The default is normally loaded by a loadkeys command in one of
the bootscripts. I reckon it'll be pretty difficult to change that by
accident on a CD-ROM ;-)
but it becomes important once you've installed your real system.

Take a look at chapter 7.6 of the LFS book too (Configuring the
Linux Console).


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