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Old 02-05-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
PaulTheBoat
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Question How to add an external (USB2) keyboard to an ubuntu laptop?


Yes, I'm a linux newbie although perhaps more of an oldie and not just from my age. I used to run the support desk for a systems house many years ago supporting business systems running multi-users on 286's under SCO Xenix and Unix! That is so long ago now though that although terms like grep still mean something to me I don't know what I'm doing with todays systems and it is over twenty years since I last typed in a command-line.

I'm running a video-magazine website doing my own flash/AS3 and php development and keep getting very frustrated when the live environment behaves differently to my development environment. For development I'm using XAMPP under windows and the live environment with 1 and 1 is Apache under Linux. So, I've resurrected an old desktop-replacement-laptop with a P4 @ 2.8Mhz and loaded ubuntu onto it with the intention of using it as a transition server as close as possible to the live environment. The operative word here though really is OLD, 'cause the keyboard has had so much use that you have to have a good memory for what the keys should be because you certainly can't see anything on them! OK one thinks, no problem, lets just put an external keyboard and mouse on it. It has one PS2 socket symboled for both mouse and keyboard, and the BIOS has 'PS2 Mouse enabled' but no mention of keyboard. Needless to say the keyboard and mouse I have bought are USB2 not PS2as people in the likes of PC World don't actually seem to even know what you mena by 'PS2-port'. Actually the mouse works immediately so that is great, but there is no reaction from the keyboard which didn't come as too great a surprise from my vague memories of adding 'ttya01' and the like to dev all those years ago. I've googled, and searched various other sources for any info on adding a keyboard, but haven't been able to find anything at all. Can anyone help (and please be gentle with my level of knowledge, I don't know my way round anymore!)?
 
Old 02-05-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
kbp
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The first thing I'd try would be to upgrade the bios (if there's a newer version), then see if there's any option in there like "legacy usb" to enable. If that fails, you should still be able to find a ps2 keyboard at a swap meet or similar, maybe even the op shop. I still have one but its not for sale
 
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:45 PM   #3
Ion Silverbolt
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First, I would verify that the keyboard works at another computer. Usb keyboards should just work in Linux with little trouble.

The bios check is also a good idea.

Another thing you can do is get a usb to ps2 adaptor. They're fairly cheap and will work unless the keyboard has insane power draw such as found on some of those illuminated keyboards.
 
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:07 PM   #4
PaulTheBoat
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Smile Thanks!

Thanks top you both for pushing me into thinking in the right direction. I should have looked at the more obvious things first like does the kb work on another pc / does another kb work on this one? Yes to both! A microsoft kb worked first time here whereas the PC world cheapie kb didn't at first on the other pc, but did after pressing a 'power' button which caused the pc to hibernate! Weird!

I think those years ago experiences with 16 users on a 286 using 'octimux' boards and ttya(n) devices made me look for the more obscure. Good to know that linux sees usb keyboards naturally as I would have really struggled finding how to update the bios! Just hope it is as understanding with 1.5Tb usb drives!

Many thanks again.
 
Old 02-06-2012, 01:33 PM   #5
Ion Silverbolt
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lol, I know how that is. Sometimes as nerds we look at the more complicated solutions first.

A good rule to remember for computer troubleshooting is to use Ockham's Razor:

"the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false."
 
  


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