Joined: Dec. 2007
||Posted: Jan. 23 2008,20:22
Let me first say that I'm impressed by DSL, it's astonishing how much can be crammed in a mere 50 Mb, while still being user friendly. There's one thing that's been bothering me for a while though: keymap selection. There are several ways in DSL to change the keymap, and for non-X consoles they work nicely, but the X part is a bit obscure. I'm an experienced enough Linux user to make the keymap switching work, but the current situation is, in my oppinion, a bit more confusing for newbies than it needs to be, and I believe this can be easily changed. Let me first describe the current situation.
The first way to change the keymap is through "DSL -> Setup -> keyboard". This pops up a menu from which I can select a different keymap, for instance dvorak. When I switch to a non-X console, the new map works fine. However, within X, it doesn't. DSL gives no hints here as to why it isn't working.
The second way to change the keymap is through "DSL -> System -> Control Panel -> Keyboard". This pops up the same menu as the one under "DSL -> Setup -> Keyboard", but this time DSL tells me that "You must restart X windows for the new keyboard to take effect." That's better, but unfortunately it doesn't indicate how to restart X. Browsing through the DSL menu, I couldn't find an option to restart X. The thing in the DSL menu that comes closest is probably "DSL -> Exit -> Switch Window Manager", which will, when you choose the same window manager, basically just restart X. This is not an obvious way to do it though.
A third way to switch keymaps on most distributions is to use setxkbmap from the commandline. setxkbmap is in fact available on DSL, but when I run it, it tells me "XKB extension not present on :0.0".
I think the easiest way to improve the situation is to make both "DSL -> Setup -> Keyboard" and "DSL -> System -> Control Panel -> Keyboard" tell the user that he has to restart X, and to add an option "DSL -> Exit -> Restart X" that does just that.
Another option would be to enable the XKB extension, which would allow keymap changes through setxkbmap without the need to restart X. I guess that this doesn't fit in the DSL philosophy though. Hence I suggest to remove setxkbmap from DSL, since having it available but not functioning is only confusing.
I'd like to hear what others thing about this!