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Asking Microsoft to add Colemak to Windows ?

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DreymaR said:

Apple look to Linux with a critical eye but they're trying to be avantgarde and cool and Colemak is just that. ;-)

Me smirks.

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Indeed, Pinkyache, your avantgarde is the avantgarde of last garde. My avantgarde is even avant of the main avantgarde, being a CurlAngleWide[eD]+Extend avantgarde. I tried to fit a kitchen sink onto it but it fell off my laptop.

Being ahead of the vanguard means you're either a spy or a scout. As to the best of my knowledge there are no one worth spying on in this battle, I guess that makes me a kataskopos. I can live with that. ;-D

Last edited by DreymaR (20-May-2015 12:10:04)

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So, if locales get things added to Microsoft, seems like we need to get Colemak as an (not 'the') official keyboard layout for some location. Anyone happen to be the Governor of a State, maybe even a mayor?

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It isn't quite as bad as that, Jonhines. Dvorak has no state, and it got included. It's just a bit wonky, is all.

Last edited by DreymaR (20-May-2015 22:30:11)

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DreymaR said:

This has been mentioned before, but the dilemma is that nations apply to Microsoft for layouts, or rather, 'locales'. This has been a problem for ethnic groups without their own countries and under non-acceptant governments, such as the Uighurs (but it seems that Turkey did speak up for its Kurd populace?). So here in Norway, the Norwegian government has decided which Sápmi groups to apply for.

I think that ANSI at some point after deciding on a standard Dvorak layout, applied and got it accepted. But it's a bit of a mess since Dvorak isn't really a locale! So there's a bit of shoehorning involved.

This said, I agree that Microsoft should've included Colemak by now as it is a fair bit larger than any of its contestants and I should think not much smaller than Dvorak in practice now? (Hard to say though!) But I guess they're loath to do so as then the next twenty contestants will start clamoring. Linux includes just about everything and the kitchen sink so it's a right mess of personal peeves. Apple look to Linux with a critical eye but they're trying to be avantgarde and cool and Colemak is just that. ;-)

If this is true (that only languages can apply to Microsoft for layouts to be included), that would be strange and wrong for various reasons:

1. I thought a commercial/technical company such as Microsoft makes decisions based on commercial/technical reasons? Such as: market demand; usability; brand image/ positioning; technical complications.

2.  there is no 1-to-1 relation of languages and keyboards. Look at the different keyboards for English (Colemak, Dvorak, Qwerty, Capewell, and so on). Or look at my language, Dutch (spoken in The Netherlands and Belgium). There is an official "Dutch" version of qwerty, which is included in Windows, but no one uses it. Instead, in the Netherlands we use the US version of qwerty, in Belgium even the Dutch speaking population uses the french azerty keyboard.

3. there is no 1-to-1 relation of languages and states. In many countries, several langauges are spoken. Smaller languages are sometimes oppressed by the state, unfortunately. The Basque language was forbidden in Spain during the Franco-regime, which ended in 1975. In Ireland, the Irish language was oppressed under the English. Oppression seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

4. why should a state be the best spokesperson for keyboard whishes?

All of it sounds like an excuse from Microsoft. For some reason they don't want to include too many layouts. My guess is that it is because several programs have the bad habit of using scancodes for hotkeys. In other words: in a shortcut like ctrl-P you *must* use the physical key P. More alternative keyboards would mean more customer complaints = more work.

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Oh, I think it is definitely just an excuse by Microsoft, and a poor one at that. It does seem to be true though. It would seem they are attempting to reduce their own workload (however minimal it would be) by getting these locations to vet their own layouts. In other words, just because some random internet users want a keyboard layout added doesn't mean that anyone besides those few people would actually use it. And they don't want to deal with the "Well you added Dreymar's ModDH Extend Angle Upside-down Inverted Reverso Colemak, why won't you add my random keyboard layout generator that randomizes the keys every 30 minutes?"

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Seems silly to me to include Colemak and not include perhaps another such as Workman.  So they'd be better to focus on layout portability and making it dead simple to switch and load layouts without 3rd party apps.

Last edited by pinkyache (16-Jul-2015 15:47:42)

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pinkyache said:

So they'd be better to focus on layout portability and making it dead simple to switch and load layouts without 3rd party apps.

In an ideal world where they're actually trying to find the best solution for keyboard layouts, yes.

For such a business model, though, there's no $$ in supporting anything besides the mainstream (not even Dvorak, which I suspect is only included due to above excuses not working), much less arbitrary layouts, leaving us with a substandard layout editor that doesn't even change Ctrl- keys.

(This theory doesn't explain Colemak being added to OS X - and I haven't found the circumstances leading to that - so I could still be pleasantly surprised.)

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I know I keep going on about it.   For me, layout switching is still a pain on many platforms.  Dvorak is esoteric, yes, but there are many that just want to flip between layouts.  Say French and English.  And that's just as much a headache.  I'm surprised it's not that much easier.

Last edited by pinkyache (22-Jul-2015 12:10:55)

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pinkyache said:

.... there are many that just want to flip between layouts.  Say French and English.  And that's just as much a headache.  I'm surprised it's not that much easier.

True. It is also hard to changing smaller things, such as CapsLock <=> BkSp  or how to type words like théâtre or krkonošský - with dead keys? AltGr? On the 12345687890 row? In Windows you are pretty much stuck to the predefined layouts of that operating system - or using an AutoHotKey script, which is an extra barrier to take. Perhaps I am wrong on this, if so, please tell it. In Linux, with xkb files you can customize virtually everything. See the neo layouts or our own DreymaR's xkb files.... But it's also easy to lock yourself out - a small mistake can lead to your system not recognising any keyboard input.....forcing you to chroot into the system, finding the mistakes and correct them. Not exactly a newbie task....

On the other hand, the mainstream consumer oriented Linux distros, such as Linux Mint, openSuse, Fedora or Ubuntu have literally hundreds of pre-defined layouts. Think of nativo Portugues.....Capwell-Dvorak-Philipine.....Canadian Azerty...... Single hand Dvorak... various Colemaks ... etc.  And they have nice graphical tools for this in Linux. In my Mint system, adding Colemak is as easy as: click Menu > Preferences > keyboard > layouts > Add > click on a layout in the list. In your status bar you will now see an extra icon. Click it to change layouts on the fly.

This is how it should work on a consumer product. But Windows has the very nice AutoHotKey - tool.

Last edited by pieter (23-Jul-2015 18:43:56)
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pinkyache said:

Seems silly to me to include Colemak and not include perhaps another such as Workman.

~ Disregarding the obvious observation that Colemak is a brilliant, radiant idea and Workman a horrible abomination of course. ~ ;-)

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I think xkb is a bit of a pain in the neck, due to it being overcomplicated. As soon as you want to do anything not-trivial thing it's unintuitive to work out what's going on. It's also a bit weird that the keyboard configuration should be in any way related to the GUI.  I think keyboard config would be better defined at lower level, with X loaded on top. Then it would work identically even if you didn't boot into X. The situation with keyboard layout configuration on Windows is also pretty abysmal to be fair. But the fact AHK exists makes things an awful lot better, as it is so powerful and flexible.

In ideal word (yes, that again!), there would be some kind of platform-independent data format that defined all the key mappings, including scan codes, modifiers, and dead keys. Then you could take this single data file with you everywhere and import into any computer you needed to use, and all your carefully-chosen preferences would be instantly there!

Last edited by stevep99 (27-Jul-2015 11:52:01)

Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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Well, much of it stems from misunderstandings. When you think that the X server is primarily a GUI that's one huge such misunderstanding right there. ;-) But yes, in principle I agree that things should've been better explained and more streamlined on most platforms. I know some of the people who make XKB and they're really smart people but not a well-paid, well-organized team. It's actually a bit similar in Microsoft: Keyboard issues aren't prioritized. They're not "sexy" I guess (a horrible statement to us!!!), not a selling point.

Nice thoughts, but... unlikely to happen. Sorry.

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people said:

....there was an attempt at making a Colemak page on Wikipedia that failed rather spectacularly and somewhat noisily due to the "no new research" policy or something (that's passed now, right – please tell me there's a good Colemak page on Wikipedia now...?!?

I thought it was weird that there is no Colemak article on Wikipedia. What's the issue with that? It's not "original research" to say "this thing exists and here is some stuff about it."

...just read the discussion about the deletion of the page, which was documented in 2008(!), over 7 years ago. It basicly comes down to: because there isn't any peer reviewed scientific research on this layout, it shouldn't be a wikepedia page. Not the best argument I've ever heard.

But yeah, it's sad that Colemak doesn't have an entry on Wikipedia. The first attempts ran afoul of some misunderstandings about the "new research rule" or whatever it's called. I'm no expert but it's about posting articles about a new product that isn't established yet, and making new claims. Maybe a new article could succeed now that Colemak is more of an established entity, but it'd have to be made according to the Wikipedia fine print by someone who can keep a level head and not throw out too much evangelizing. Definitely not by shouting and clashing.

Sure, ideally it should be someone with a publishing history on the Wikipedia, but it isn't witchcraft either. Getting an account there, reading up a bit on the rules and being generally well-behaved should get anyone a long way I hope. And not putting too much stock in how the last article fared – that's past history now. One should read up on that article's edit history of course!

Haha, it's an amazing feeling lurking through previous posts and then answering everyone's prayers coming out of nowhere and getting to genuinely help after all of the discussion happened. I know this was talked about three years ago, but even three years ago there were enough sources to make an article on Colemak. It's a real shame it didn't happen sooner.

Apparently Michael Kaplan died, which is probably old news by now. Have any more recent attempts to get Colemak in Windows been made? Sticking to a bureaucratic policy that works against actual usefulness (Colemak out of the box) just kind of looks silly and outdated by this point. Apple is looking way better in this respect by having put Colemak in by default ages ago.

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It's amazing, yeah. And I enjoy the thought that things are getting better and better. But Wikipedia can take some skill, so it's nice we got that skill set on board! Thanks! ^_^

Yes, Michael Kaplan died, sad story. I'm not sure he was a real hindrance to Colemak acceptance in Microsoft though! People seem to view him as the big nemesis of Colemak but in reality I believe he was mostly (justly) pissed off at some colemak fanbois proselytizing wayyy too loudly at his blog with no respect or understanding for his position or reality. They seemed to assume that he was Mr Microsoft Keyboard Layouts Himself or something.... while in reality he had but little power. That's how I understand it, he was more of a problem solver than a decision maker and he got mighty frustrated at the people who berated him. Keep in mind that his medical condition was painful too, so you'll have to allow him some bad days on that account too I think.

The problem with MS vs Colemak may be the same as before? MS has a history of accepting layouts that have a nation behind them but very rarely those that don't. I think that ANSI or something vouched for Dvorak, but it may just have gotten "in before the ban". Funnily enough, no less than three Dvorak variants plus some national ones got in. There are groups like the Uighur and Kurds that have been struggling to get their preferred keyboard layouts accepted because they don't have a national state to speak their cause! And when it comes to the rich underforest of ergo layouts, I can understand that MS is loath to let the dogs out. Should they accept Arensito and QWMGLB and DoesntQuiteWorkMan and whatnot too then?

Also, we haven't settled down comfortably. Shai tried to keep everything as simple as possible, nailing one layout when he felt sure he had a really good one. But then we kept on tweaking and now I feel that both vanilla Colemak and at least one other ergonomic variant deserve a place side by side. But which one? I wouldn't hesitate to proclaim Colemak-ⲔⲰ[eD] the winner of course, but I'm DreymaR-centric as hell for obvious reasons and I realize that it doesn't work quite like that!

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Jul-2018 11:59:35)

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An ideal solution would be two variants, vanilla and DH. I think MS would be aware that vanilla has a solid base of users (5000? more?) but as for DH they don't know. If Dvorak can have loads of variants I'd say two is all we need.

Of course Colemak-ⲔⲰ[eD] is very radical, as I'm fairly sure no layout that is on by default mixes it up this much (if you want the best you have to go underground). The most realistic proposition would be just the addition of Colemak vanilla, as MS would look to their competition to judge what should be included (Android, Mac OS, even Linux) for what to include out of the box, which supports vanilla and not DH. If we were going to poke MS over this, that should probably be the proposition.

If MS would include an ANSI supported layout, where do we begin on the path to making Colemak an ANSI supported layout?

EDIT: As for settling down comfortably, this forum has had twelve years in which case some change was bound to happen. While there are thousands of vanilla Colemak users who never post in here, this forum couldn't have discussed the same vanilla layout for that long. So taking a step back, I think vanilla Colemak is quite the established and well-used layout.

EDIT 2: ANSI Application Fee (nonrefundable): $5,000 Nope

EDIT 3: Basically, just get a lot more people to use the layout, develop a commercial interest in some company in producing a physical keyboard for it, said company with a lot of money files ANSI. Or more realistically MS would make an exception if enough people would want this feature on their OS. Easy peasy let's get to work gentlemen

DreymaR said:

DoesntQuiteWorkMan

【BRUTAL】

Last edited by NottNott (19-Jul-2018 12:59:03)
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I don't know, $5000 should be entirely doable as a crowdfunding thing. But then we'd have to feel fairly certain that it'd work. So we'd need the advice of someone knowledgeable in these matters.

Indeed, vanilla Colemak seems to be the only realistic thing to go for. And while I won't be entirely happy with anything less that Colemak-ⲔⲰ[eD]+Extend I could easily type on plain Colemak-DH and with just a little effort on vanilla. Much better than using QWERTY I think.

[EDIT]
No, it'd be really nice with Colemak-DH too. It's nice that we have only one variant of that, and I'm much more comfortable with it than vanilla now!

You know, earlier I viewed Angle/Wide as pretty much a non-layout thing. But with DH the Angle mod has gotten mixed into the layout thing after all. Without Angle, the DH mod would put D in the old B spot which would be a huge no-go. And with DH, the Angle mod is changed with regard to V/B(D). But hanging on to the old thought and leaving Curl-Angle out of it, it's still entirely possible to get your Wide mod through other means such as the venerated Registry Remap – or a PKL VK layout for that matter. So basically, if we had Colemak (vanilla) and Colemak-DH available the rest would be simpler and more optional.

Would still be cool if Colemak-DH could have [eD] AltGr mappings though! ^_^

Last edited by DreymaR (20-Jul-2018 10:30:05)

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I'm using vanilla Colemak, and I regularly enjoy the benefit of simply typing "setxkbmap us colemak" on any Linux box (or "loadkeys colemak" on the console) and go, without needing any special permissions or installation.

I made some efforts in the past to get Colemak included in several OS'es/platforms, and I will gladly donate some $$$ if that is what it takes to get Colemak included in MS via some standardization track.  But I think it's only realistic for "vanilla" Colemak for now.

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Yes, we would probably need someone knowledgeable in these matters. Colemak is great and everything, but I couldn't do a very substantial donation at all, it could get costly. BUT if there was a very reasonable chance of success along with the fee to apply, I guess that's a good idea. I wonder if there's a company out there that is willing to take this risk?

Yes! Read this article about Matt Mullenweg. He made WordPress originally, now he's head of a 'three billion dollar tech company' that financially incentivises it's employees to make the switch. I'm not sure about the maintenance costs of an ANSI standard (because I clearly don't know what I'm talking about) but if there was any company that was willing to make a relatively small donation perhaps this would be the one.

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DreymaR said:

And while I won't be entirely happy with anything less that Colemak-ⲔⲰ[eD]+Extend I could easily type on plain Colemak-DH and with just a little effort on vanilla. Much better than using QWERTY I think.

Needs to be Colemak-DH with Extend, otherwise I might as well be using a quill and inkpot!

(But I acknowledge just having even vanilla Colemak as a default option in Windows would increase the visibility/uptake).

Last edited by stevep99 (19-Jul-2018 16:38:21)

Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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stevep99 said:

I acknowledge just having even vanilla Colemak as a default option in Windows would increase the visibility/uptake

I do wonder whether its inclusion in Mac OS Linux or Android had much of an effect. If anything the general trend of this forum could be less activity over time. I guess most Colemak users pick up the layout but don't start posting on the forum about it. The most impact would come after the addition is announced and tech blogs write articles about it.

At the same time, whatever impact Mac and Linux had (10% market share) would be magnified (90% market share)

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NottNott said:

I do wonder whether its inclusion in Mac OS Linux or Android had much of an effect.

It's inclusion in Linux would have minimal impact I feel, not just because Linux's smaller user share, but also because the demographic of Linux users is somewhat different - they are more open to being different from the majority in general. The fact that a layout is or isn't included in the OS by default is less likely to hold them back.

Its inclusion in Android is good only from a publicity point of view, as it's not actually useful to type Colemak on a touchscreen.

Its inclusion in Mac is probably the most significant of the three, but even then I suspect the impact is not huge.

A bigger effect than inclusion in OS's would be positive coverage in mainstream media. That's probably not likely to happen though.

Last edited by stevep99 (19-Jul-2018 21:14:33)

Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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stevep99 said:

Needs to be Colemak-DH with Extend, otherwise I might as well be using a quill and inkpot!

I can totally relate to that sentiment! But I just don't think Extend is a realistic wish for the MS layout. They'd have to actually do some coding to implement it. ;-)

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Speaking of that...

Maybe we could get plain Colemak-DH into MacOS then? Since MacOS is already adventurous. We have settled on this variant and we won't be making more of them for OS inclusion I feel. Wouldn't that be cool?

I guess MacOS could support Extend too, and [eD] mappings and whatnot, but not sure.

Could it be possible to include [eD] mappings with Colemak-DH, and Shai's AltGr mappings with vanilla Colemak? That'd set them apart a little more, and add some value (I hope!) without being a big deal for most. If all the [eD] dead keys were included, the contribution would be quite significant, but even without those I feel that [eD] is much more fun and powerful to use. But that's me of course.

Last edited by DreymaR (20-Jul-2018 10:38:48)

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DreymaR said:

I can totally relate to that sentiment! But I just don't think Extend is a realistic wish for the MS layout. They'd have to actually do some coding to implement it. ;-)

The best way I'd see this getting added is as an 'Accessibility' option rather than a keyboard layout, it's more modular for MS this way. Considering they don't even have semi-decent workspace hotkeys that you can rebind I think MS need to up their shortcuts game. Same would go for Mac OS.

DreymaR said:

Maybe we could get plain Colemak-DH into MacOS then? Since MacOS is already adventurous. We have settled on this variant and we won't be making more of them for OS inclusion I feel. Wouldn't that be cool?

It makes me wonder what made Apple put vanilla into the OS in the first place actually. Not to be rude to lovely Colemak, but I don't really understand what metric people can go by even now to find out how many people use a given layout. Do we have a way of knowing? Apple must have thought 'enough people use vanilla, let's throw it in'. Either that or they were being adventurous. If it's the former they'd need evidence of how many people use DH and if it's the latter then they should bung it in as it's a well-used variant.

...but where's our Linux DH at my dudes?

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