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I'm using an Apple keyboard which has some annoyances compared to other keyboards. Namely, the Alt_L and Super_L keys are swapped, and the bar and less keys are swapped ("|" and "<").

I've written an Xmodmap file to swap the keys back:

keycode  49 = less greater less greater onehalf threequarters
keycode  64 = Super_L NoSymbol Super_L
keycode  94 = bar section bar section brokenbar paragraph
keycode 108 = Super_R NoSymbol Super_R
keycode 133 = Alt_L Meta_L Alt_L Meta_L
keycode 134 = Alt_R Meta_R Alt_R Meta_R

I did this by identifying the keys using xev and the default modmap xmodmap -pke and swapping the keycodes. xev now identifies all my keys as correct, which is awesome! I can also use the correct keys to type the bar and less than symbols. (I followed this answer on askubuntu: How do I remap certain keys?)

But it seems the change isn't very deep. Here are some examples

  • The Super key is now broken in the Compiz Settings Manager. No shortcuts involving the Super key works (but the Alt key does).
  • The settings dialog for Gnome Do doesn't heed the changes in xmodmap, and I can't open the Gnome Do window anymore if I use any of the remapped keys.
  • Chrome shortcuts doesn't care about the xmodman changes, I now have to use Super+D to focus the address field (Should be Alt+D)

So to summarize, everything broke.

I would like a deeper way of telling Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro for that matter) which keys are which on the keyboard. Is there a way to edit the Keyboard Layout directly? I'm using the Norwegian Bokmål keyboard layout. Does it reside in a file somewhere I could edit?

Any comments, previous experiences or relevant stray thoughts would be greatly appreciated -


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I finally got this working after hours of trying. I found the file where the evdev scancodes are translated into xfree86 keycodes under X11, namely /usr/share/X11/xkb/keycodes/evdev. I opened that file as root and moved the key codes around using the default xmodmap settings as a reference (xmodmap -pke). My final edits were quite simple:

<LSGT> = 49; // This was 94
<TLDE> = 94; // This was 49
<LWIN> = 64; // This was 133
<LALT> = 133; // This was 64
<RWIN> = 108; // This was 134
<RALT> = 134; // This was 108
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