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quiescere 04-19-2006 06:52 PM

Keyboard shortcuts for international characters
SUMMARY: This used to be easy. If I were merrily typing away and needed to mention my fiancée, I just hit compose+', then e, when I needed that fancy sixth letter. These days I'm at a loss.

I need to be able to input characters (on Linux, using X, with a US keyboard) beyond the standard 26 letters. For the moment, I mainly require the accented characters particular to French, as I am studying that language and attempting to converse with native French speakers online. My computer is pretty thoroughly set up for UTF-8 encoding: lang=en_US.UTF-8, my Terminal program (not to mention vim, mutt, and lynx) are happy displaying UTF-8 characters, I have a boatload of Unicode fonts for X and firefox is happily using them. What I cannot do is reliably input Unicode characters.

I know what I'm asking for is not that unreasonable, as I used to be able to do it--but I set it up once, and didn't upgrade for a couple of years, and forgot, and now there is a new font system for X, there's Unicode everywhere, words words words.

Some suggestions that are not helpful:
  1. Open up a character map and cut-and-paste. This is way too cumbersome for serious use.
  2. Suggestions that involve major remapping of my keyboard. I'm still using a standard US 104-key layout, and I still need to type English easily. Having to switch my keyboard to output AZERTY rather than QWERTY, and having to memorise AZERTY, is ridiculous.
  3. Suggestions that revolve around a KDE or Gnome installation. Seriously, people, not everyone uses these two lumbering behemoths, and even we did, they're not necessary for everything. Instructions for making a sandwich should not start with, "First, build a kitchen." (I happen to have gnome installed, so I can use it, but still.)
  4. ALT+0241 sequences. Okay, these are moderately useful, but if something can be made to understand ALT+####, ALT+'e cannot be all that hard.

Compose-key configurations or dead-key setups are great. This should not be this difficult.

thanks in advance----

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