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Re: Right Alt/Meta keys on Windows systems

From: Paul Michael Reilly
Subject: Re: Right Alt/Meta keys on Windows systems
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 19:00:07 -0500

Paul Pogonyshev <address@hidden> writes:

 > MIME-Version: 1.0
 > Content-Disposition: inline
 > Eli Zaretskii wrote:
 > > > From: Paul Pogonyshev <address@hidden>
 > > > Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 21:55:21 +0200
 > > > Cc: address@hidden
 > > > 
 > > > I think it is related to the issue I raised under topic `wish: right 
 > > > alt/meta
 > > > to switch keyboard layout while pressed'.  I.e. right Alt acts as a 
 > > > temporary
 > > > layout switcher and so it does not look as Alt to applications.
 > > 
 > > Sorry, I'm not following: are you talking about keyboard language
 > > switch invoked on MS-Windows with the Alt-SPC combination?  If so,
 > > then the keyboard switch works for me as I'd expect (i.e., the same as
 > > it does in other Windows applications), and it doesn't affect the
 > > right Alt to META mapping in any way.
 > Well, you should have probably re-read that thread's opening message.  I'm
 > talking about a common function of right Alt key: it temporary (while 
 > pressed)
 > disables the current layout and switches to English layout.  I guess _that's_
 > why right Alt doesn't work as Alt in Emacs for Lennart Borgman.  I don't 
 > really
 > know, though.
 > > > I strongly believe Emacs must not do anything about it.  Quite the 
 > > > opposite:
 > > > it should properly handle Mode_switch on GNU/Linux etc. with X, so that 
 > > > it
 > > > disables LEIM layout while it pressed.
 > > 
 > > Are we still talking about the MS-Windows port of Emacs?  Or are we
 > > talking about Emacs on GNU/Linux?  The OP raised the issue for
 > > Windows.
 > Now I'm talking about GNU/Linux, where Emacs is working incosistently with
 > the rest of the system.  It disregards Mode_switch (i.e. right Alt when
 > working in the layout-disabling mode I described above) when working with
 > LEIM.  E.g., in Gaim, while using the Russian layout, I can type [right 
 > alt]-ъ
 > to type the closing bracket, because Russian letter `ъ' is on the same key
 > as the closing bracket in the English layout.  In Emacs, typing [right alt]-ъ
 > still produces `ъ'.
 > > > If Windows lacks a way to disable this feature and make right Alt
 > > > work the same way as left Alt, it's a problem of Windows, not of
 > > > Emacs.
 > > 
 > > As I said, right and left Alt keys work the same for me on MS-Windows.
 > That's OK, but they don't work the same for Lennart, right?  I'm arguing,
 > that since it is system setting, Emacs shouldn't override it.

Sounds to me like Richard's intuition to punt on this issue before a
release was well placed.  It does not appear to be a simple issue.

Paul seems to be saying that the right Alt key has a compelling
function for some set of Users (temporary keyboard layout disable)
while another set of Users wants to use both Alt keys for symmetric
Meta modifier keys.  I suspect it is only a matter of time before some
Users belong to both sets.  Providing a solution for both will
probably be very messy.

Meanwhile I am very curious to know how Eli managed to get his system
to provide both left and right Meta modifiers from the Alt keys.  If
memory serves, when I last used Emacs on a Windows/2000/cygwin system,
I did not have this problem.  But a freshly installed Windows/XP
system on a Dell PC with a Logictech natural keyboard does exhibit the
behavior.  Windows/XP has a very complex Locale setting mechanism in
the control panel.  Perhaps this is where one needs to select a
different locale, but it is not at all intuitively obvious how to do
this such that the right Alt key will map to a Meta modifier.  Knowing
what locale settings Eli is using might help some.



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