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I had an idea today. I've been so annoyed lately at switching hotkeys/shortcut-keys all the time, between Opera with pseudo-emacs at home, Firefox and Mozilla at school, Safari at the webcafe, IE at work, emacs, vim, nano, gedit, notepad, gimp, Blender, MS Paint. I'm always switching between keys for open-in-background/new window, cutting, pasting; all those concepts that everyone gets familiar with within their favorite systems, but which totally fails when they move to a different system.
"It's sort of like having to switch between languages, or at least between QWERTY/Dvorak," methought, and then the thought grew denser: "but if you're doing that on your computer, then you've got that handy little icon on your taskbar to help you. Hmmm...." So why isn't there an icon for switching between hotkey-setups? A global hotkey-system, as ubiquitous as the keyboard-setup.
I boot up Linux in the near future, and start Opera. I try to watch a movie-trailer, but find I don't have the plugin there and need to Fire up the Fox for to get it to show. Then I do a little work in emacs, and after a while notice I need to run gedit a bit because of the stupid non-X-emacs not copy-pasting right. All the while, I'm using the _same set of emacs/Opera hotkeys_, which I've selected using the little keyboard-icon on the taskbar. When my brother needs to check his email and borrows the computer, he just has to switch it back to windows-style keys to avoid confusion and frustration.
I know I can't be the only one who's thought of this (although, if I am, it is hereby Not Patented), so why isn't it in widespread use? Of course, I realize it's not something that's completely simple to implement, first of all, I guess each program would have to be updated to comply to the system, which means that even with the framework implemented, it might take a while before each program works. And I doubt Windows and OS/X would switch to this very quickly, but I do still have hopes for the future, even Office uses XML now. Which brings me onto the next difficulty: Standards. For this to work, first of all Someone would have to make a list of the necessary and unique concepts which need hotkeys, without overlap and without leaving out (too many) concepts. I guess I can see a project such as this ending up on w3c.org. Also, it might be more difficult than I imagine to make the programs listen when the system says "Copy" or "Open-in-background", and maybe it'd be difficult for programs to catch some from the system and some from the keyboard (when not all hotkey-concepts are listed in the system yet, say).
So, are there anyone out there who've thought of this too? Or who can tell me why it wouldn't work? Or, even better, who'd be willing to start making it work? I'm just trying to spread the idea here, just in case I'm not alone in my hotkey-frustration.