Keyboard config with keyTouch

As you may recall, yesterday I mentioned that I had some keyboard problems in Edgy. I have now solved them thanks to a little program called keyTouch.

By way of background, I have a Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboard. It's a very comfortable split-keyboard model with lots of extra internet and multimedia keys. The problem is getting all those extra keys to work under Linux. Many of them are not detected by and, in fact, many are not detected by the 2.6 kernel keyboard driver. So, to make them work, I needed to mess around with the setkeycodes command and xmodmap. Not fun, and I still had problems getting some of them to work.

KeyTouch takes all the pain out of it. My keyboard is supported out of the box and setting actions for the keys is incredibly easy. In fact, the interface is simply a list of the special keys and a choice of pre-set actions or custom commands. It even includes a fairly reasonable set of defaults. In particular, I found the default AMixer command for the volume buttons to be much better than KMix, because the volume display is much smaller and less intrusive. Plus the mute function works with AMixer.

Of course, the down side is that now I need to configure hotkeys in two place - keyTouch for the special keys and KHotKeys for everything else. I also have to run a separate daemon for keyTouch to work. I would much rather have everything in one place, but it's a small price to pay. KeyTouch just plain rocks.

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