The keyboard layout GUI in 12.04 system settings is not responding on my laptop. In a different post a workaround was found (see: Cannot switch keyboard layouts).

Problem now: Having manually altered the file /etc/default/keyboard I can now access all the keyboard layouts I want except for one: Russian phonetic. (i.e. the letters are placed where the equivalent Latin letters are - qwerty) This keyboard was in the old Gnome and it is still listed in the "system settings" keyboard GUI. But the GUI is not responding.

I can toggle between the official Russian keyboard and Norwegian with the command:

sudo setxkbmap -option grp:alt_shift_toggle no,ru

But ru phonetic is not understood. What is the code for the phonetic Russian keyboard?

2 Answers 2


I use it like that:

setxkbmap -option grp:switch,grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll,compose:menu -layout 'us,lt,ru' -variant ',,phonetic_winkeys'

The main thing is 'us,lt,ru' and ',,phonetic_winkeys'. In your case it will be -variant ',phonetic_winkeys'


I do not know what nationality you are. Norwegian? I am Czech, so I use the standard Czech QWERTZ keyboard. So I prefer Czech Russian phonetic keyboard:

setxkbmap -option grp:win_space_toggle -layout 'cz,cz' -variant ',rus'

The problem is that this layout has switched YZ keys to the standard Czech keyboard. So I had to modify the file:

sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/cz

First I found the section:

// phonetic layout for Russian letters on an CZ (QWERTY) keyboard
xkb_symbols "rus" {

There I changed these lines:

//    key <AB01> { [       Cyrillic_ze,       Cyrillic_ZE,            z,        Z ] };
key <AD06> { [       Cyrillic_ze,       Cyrillic_ZE,            z,        Z ] };
//    key <AD06> { [     Cyrillic_yeru,     Cyrillic_YERU,            y,        Y ] };
key <AB01> { [     Cyrillic_yeru,     Cyrillic_YERU,            y,        Y ] };

This way I got Russian phonetic keyboard with Czech QWERTZ layout. So I hope it can help you when you need more detailed setting of Russian phonetic keyboard even in Norway. :-)

Most settings and options can be found here:

less /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/base.lst

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.