Ice Bear SoftCzech/Slovak (TeX), Phonetic Devanagari and Gujarati, Mac OS X-like Armenian Keybord Layout xkb, v.2.0

These files are not considered as software. They are merely configuration files for xkb and thus cannot be copyrighted. The files are provided freely and can be freely used and redistributed either alone or as a part of any collection. They may become a part of Linux distribution. The files may also be a source for a derived work.

If a specific license is required, the above written text should be considered as “Public Domain”.

In the typewriter age minimization of the number of keys was important in order to reduce the size of the machines. Some typewriters did not even contain digits 0 and 1. Letters O and l were used instead. Mathematical symbols were not available at all. Layout of the keys on the Czech typewriters was prepared for easy typing the Czech texts.

In the beginning of the computer age the computers were used for programming and data processing only. The enhanced keyboards came with numeric keypads. Only US ASCII (or EBCDIC) was supported. The programmers got accustomed to the US keyboard layout used on the punching machines.

Later on operating systems became localized. The only normalized national keyboard was the one used on old typewriters. This is the reason why this layout was implemented. However, a lot of characters are missing. They were put to other locations that could be reached usually via AltGr. However, such typing is uncomfortable. If a user types a program on a US keyboard and a text on a national keyboard, he or she easily makes mistakes. The design goal is to make the utmost of the xkb features and prepare a layout that contains all symbols at the very same places as on the US keyboard yet it offers easy typing of the Czech text.

In the pre-unicode age the Devanagari texts could not be typeset directly. Several transliteration systems were developed. Frans Velthuis developed a system similar to transliterations used in textbooks and dictionaries. Later the transliteration was modified probably by inspiration from ITRANS. The system is phonetic so that users can easily find the characters on the US keyboard. Traditional Indian typewriters followed another scheme. This scheme is implemented in operating systems but it is not comfortable for western users.

The idea was to implement the Devanagari xkb layout that would be as close to the Velthuis transliteration as possible. A few modifications had to be accepted. Some characters were added later, for instance the Rupee sign.

The Gujarati layout (added in v.2.0) follows the same design principle as the Devanagari layout.

The standard Armenian keyboard layout contains too many characters on positions which are difficult to remember. The layout distributed in this collection (added in v.2.0) follows the Mac OS X scheme which is more logical.

Do read the manual before installation!


I am forced to sponsor musicians and other copyright organisations by my programming work because I store my software, input data as well as the results of calculation on CD and DVD media.