LF Tip: Changing the keyboard layout on the fly
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original in en Guido Socher
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Guido likes Linux because of the community. It is a huge
project and somehow all the different people around the world
are working towards the same goal: Making it better every
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When I write a text on the computer I have my eyes on the screen
and not the keyboard. Recently I visited a friend in France and
he borrowed me his computer for a while. French keyboard layout!
It took at least 10 seconds per key to find it because I am used to
US or German keyboards ;-)
I did not want to edit the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 as it was
his PC. .... KDE and Gnome have some tools to change the keyboard layout
but it did not seem to be installed here. What now?
XFree86 has a standard command called setxkbmap which you can use to change
the layout on the fly (no X server restart). It is similar to the loadkeys command
on the Linux console.
setxkbmap -layout us
and voila I had a US keyboard layout. Before
I gave to computer back to my friend I just typed:
setxkbmap -layout fr
and it was as if nothing was changed.