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    A Kmonad-based 6-layer keyboard configuration

    • Started by stevep99
    • 4 Replies:
    • Reputation: 106
    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
    • Posts: 889

    I have been using Kmonad (on Linux) for the last week or two, evaluating it as a possible replacement for using XKB for my keyboard configuration needs. Although I previously looked at it a few months ago but decided to stick with XKB at that time, I've now decided to make the switch and use Kmonad.

    My typing setup, which has evolved over the years, these days amounts to this:
    - Main layer (plus shifted) - Colemak-DH alpha keys
    - Extend layer - for navigation, based on DreymaR's
    - Symbols layers - to bring non-alphabetic characters to the 30-key main body.
    - Function key layer (when using my small-form factor Atreus board)

    All of this is implementable in KMonad. What has really swung it for me though, is the ease with which you can move around keys (including modifiers), have arbitrary layers, and different layer selection mechanisms. While you can do some of this stuff in XKB, it's just a bit cumbersome and awkward. But Kmonad also has some QMK-like features that XKB doesn't have. For example, a couple of weeks ago I put in a request to implement sticky (one-shot) modifiers with timeout, and - kudos to the Kmonad guys - they have duly implemented it. This feature is a game-changer IMO! The one thing XKB remains better for - unicode characters support - is not too big a deal, as Kmonad does at least support for automated compose key strings, which is good enough (for me anyway).

    To mark this occasion, I have written up my new Kmonad configuration and given it a name (Seniply) - although in reality it's pretty close to my previous XKB-based setup I've been using for a while now. I've fully adopted the minimalist ergo layout style, similar to Miryoku, but able support both standard(-ish) and 40% boards, since I use both. In my case though, the layer selection is done using thumb keys and there are no dual-role home-key modifiers. So far it is working great!

    Last edited by stevep99 (11-Apr-2021 17:41:15)

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

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    • Registered: 20-Mar-2021
    • Posts: 8

    Looks neat! I may try this on my Atreus.

    May I ask, do you find the single thumb-shift key comfortable? I, personally, couldn't do it without opposing shift keys, even as thumb-shift keys.

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    • Reputation: 106
    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
    • Posts: 889

    The single thumb-shift is super-comfortable. For modifier thumb keys that combine with keys on both sides of the keyboard, like Shift, it helps to have them in the more central, inner positions, which is why Shift is positioned where it is. From there you can easily hold shift with your thumb and your hand still has freedom to reach any key - especially on a minimal board designs.

    Where I think your have a fair point, is when commonly needed modifiers are in the outer positions and then combine with alpha keys on the same side. I have previously experimented with shift on the outer thumb key (i.e. switching Shift with Extend),  and it's certainly not as nice, especially for reaching inner alpha keys like G and B for example. It's still OK for the less frequent combos though: Extend-G and Extend-B are much less common than Shift-G and Shift-B after all.

    Basically the solution to that issue is to design the outer modifiers and layers so that the most frequent keys they combine with are either on the opposite side, or at least, not on the inner-part of the same side.

    Last edited by stevep99 (12-Apr-2021 15:07:14)

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

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    • Registered: 27-May-2016
    • Posts: 7

    Looks cool. I’ll definitely be looking over it. It bears some resemblance to my current layout (in that there are layers, the thumbs are active, and there’s little reaching). I’m curious, what does the R do? What’s a Super?

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    • Reputation: 106
    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    > Super

    It's the Windows key, I should update the text to make that clearer.

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

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