Re: Keyboard Hegemony

2020-08-09


This post is a reply to "Keyboard Hegemony" by Solderpunk

As someone who learned how to keyboard with an "exotic" layout (in my case: Turkish QWERTY), I wanted to chime in with some experiences with that layout.


If you don't know the Turkish Q layout, it's basically the regular QWERTY layout, with most of the quirks Solderpunk mentioned on their Finnish layout. The only differences I see are the Nordic letters on his are replaced with Turkish letters like ü, ğ, ş, and ı on mine.


The two I's

If you paid attention to the previous paragraph, you'll notice that one of the extra letters is 'ı'. That is a dotless i. You'll be familiar with it because it exists in English, too. It's just only in uppercase.


Not in this layout. We have both ı, i, but also, I and İ.


You might think, this is just another letter what's the big deal... But on the Turkish Q keyboard layout, the 'i' key in the topmost row is replaced by the 'ı'. And the regular 'i' is in the second row, two keys left from the Enter key. Now, this isn't that big of a deal since (a) I got used to it, and (b) both keys are relatively close to my fingers to write fast, but this is a problem if you switch to an English layout in a space where you don't have Unicode support, like a Linux TTY. Because you press 'i' and it turns into a garbled mess you cannot delete because it thinks it's two characters so it puts an invisible character and it's just all weird.


Also, since we have two I's that all capitalize separately, some programs like modded Minecraft can get really weirded out if the system locale is set to Turkish, but that's not related to keyboards so I am skipping over that.


Oh also, Linux TTY's don't work with <CAPSLOCK>+<ı>, so you have to do <SHIFT>+<ı>. Which is a really big deal if you capitalized your words using caps lock for ~15 years or so. (I remapped caps lock to escape a month or so ago, working on getting rid of that habit)


"Dead Keys"

The quirk Solderpunk mentioned with ` and ~, are what's known as "dead keys", where the key is "dead" until you press another key to combine it with. The Turkish layout has that too, but weirdly enough only on Windows. Under Linux, the keys work how I expect them to. I remember seeing a "Turkish with dead keys" layout option on various Linux installers, but I really don't need any of the "interesting" letters, so I never used it.


How do I put up with this

I kind of wonder - *do* non-US-layout-native developers typically switch their layout when coding? Or do they actually just put up with stuff like what I'm about to describe


Honestly, for me at least, I've gotten used to all the weird quirks of the layout and it's all became muscle memory now. Whenever I need to use an English QWERTY layout, I become completely lost, especially with the symbol keys like the <SHIFT>+<number row> or the cluster near enter.


However, being used to this isn't all that fine and dandy, since when I'll eventually need a better keyboard than what I've got today, most of the "interesting" options probably don't have any Turkish Q options, so I'll eventually need to face the challenge of switching over, probably.


What about the Turkish F layout?

I don't want to talk about it. I have nightmares about that from years ago.


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