[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Right Alt/Meta keys on Windows systems

From: Paul Michael Reilly
Subject: Re: Right Alt/Meta keys on Windows systems
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 01:08:12 -0500

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

 > Reply-To: Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden>
 > > Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 19:00:07 -0500
 > > From: Paul Michael Reilly <address@hidden>
 > > CC: address@hidden, address@hidden
 > > 
 > > Paul seems to be saying that the right Alt key has a compelling
 > > function for some set of Users (temporary keyboard layout disable)
 > Paul was talking about GNU/Linux systems, not about MS-Windows.

I understood him to be saying that his Windoze issue also should
apply to X-Windows.  His Windoze issue, as I interpret it, is about
the use of the right Alt key to temporarily force the keyboard into a
U.S. English locale so that a a key available in the U.S. English
locale but overridden in the other locale can be made available.
Suffice it to say that this is a related issue (to the use of right
Alt as a Meta modifier key) to the extent that there are two functions
that want to use the right Alt key.

There is even a larger issue here.  That being that Microsoft or any
other major player in the Windoze world can render some Emacs
convention (such as using the right Alt key as a Meta modifier)
obsolete, much to our chagrin.  This also applies to Lennort's use of
the left and right Windows keys (aka "alt option").  So again I tip my
hat to Richard for punting on this issue.  It deserves more discussion
and attention, both for the Alt keys and the Windows keys.  And to
make matters worse, I managed to scrounge around and dug up access to
a Windows/2000 system and, lo and behold, both Alt keys operated as
Meta modifier keys.  So my issue, so far, is a Windows/XP only issue.

My gut feel is that customization has to solve this problem, along
with a generous helping of C code to modify the behavior of keyboard
drivers via Registry settings.  Or some third party software tool.
Yuck.  Which is to say that the cure is looking more painful than the
problem.  Hopefully someone will suggest a simpler solution.

I will try once more to clarify the issues as I understand them:

1) There are two camps who want a particular behavior from the right
   Alt key on a Windows system.  I believe these behaviors are
   mutually exclusive:

   a) Right Alt key is a temporary locale modifier.
   b) Right Alt key is a Meta modifier key.

2) Some who want the temporary locale modifier on the right Alt key
   also believe that X-Windows systems should behave similarly.

3) The Emacs community is at risk of having well established
   conventions "stolen" [there is actually a better word than stolen
   but it is not coming to mind] by up-and-coming Windows UI

4) Various flavors of Windows, past, present and future, do or will
   exhibit different behaviors.

 > > 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.
 > Tell me what to look at on my machine and what to report, and I will
 > tell you what I have here.  (I simply do not know what information
 > defines the ``Windows locale''.)

If you are running Windows/95/98/NT/2000, as is my guess, then your
Alt key behavior is not relevant to this discussion any more.  If you
are running Windows/XP then you should go to the Control Panel and
select "Regional and Language Options" and let us know where any
pulldowns on any tabs show anything but "United States (English)". For
example if you use a Hebrew input method that just happens to make the
right Alt key work like a Meta modifier, that would be good to know.
But it would also be inconsistent with my understanding of Paul's
issue. :-)


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]