Quick Tut for Adding a Custom Keyboard Layout to Linux (XKB)

Shimin Guo mentioned the BEAKL keyboard layout in a recent article on Medium – I was unaware of this layout myself but more importantly Shimin highlighted the process by which to add a custom BEAKL layout to Linux’s XKB configuration – basically a quick tutorial for creating custom layouts 🙂

Discovered https://www.shenafu.com/code/keyboard/beakl/index.php. It addresses all the pain points I had when using dvorak, namely awkward locations for symbols when coding and for abbreviated Linux commands like ls. I strongly agree with its philosophy that strong fingers should do more work.

It’s a little tricky to install this layout in Linux, because it’s not pre-installed like dvorak. After some search I figured out what files to change to add the new layout.

Added this to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us

Read more here at Medium including the code to create a custom layout.

For more on XKB read this.

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