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Old 04-04-2006, 02:27 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: debain lenny, slackware 10.0, vectorlinux 4.3, kubuntu feisty
Posts: 23

Rep: Reputation: 15
Xmodmap and spezial keys like 'Mail'


i got a new notbook (MSI S270) and i installed debian testing (i think etch, never sure).
i downloaded the 2.6.16 kernel from and compiled it.

everything works fine. (accept the ATI fglrx driver, but the standard ati driver works fine)

now getting to my problem, like most new keyboards and notebooks, I have spezial keys like 'Mail', 'Internet' and so on, as well as a blue 'Fn' Funtion key, which i want to use in combination with F5 and F6, to increase or decrease the volume.

i basically followed the instructions from this webpage (German)

a guy who has the same notbook, but installed SUSE on it.

what he does basically, is get the keycode form these special keys with xev and then writes a Xmodmap file and puts it in /etc/X11/Xmodmap .
only thing is that it doesnt work for me

in my Xmodmap file i have something like this:

keycode 236 = Mail
keycode 178 = Internet
! Fn+F7
keycode 174 = increase volume
! Fn+F8
keycode 176 = decrease volume
! Fn+F9
keycode 160 = Mute

when i run

:$ xmodmap /etc/X11/Xmodmap
> xmodmap: Xmodmap:39: bad keysym name 'Mail' in keysym list
> xmodmap: Xmodmap:40: bad keysym name 'Internet' in keysym list
> xmodmap: Xmodmap:42: bad keysym name 'increase volume' in keysym list
> xmodmap: Xmodmap:44: bad keysym name 'decrease volume' in keysym list
> xmodmap: Xmodmap:46: bad keysym name 'Mute' in keysym list
> xmodmap: 5 errors encountered, aborting.

i think the problem is that the name i am trying to use is not in the keysymdef.h list, can anybody tell me how i can add custom names to the keysym list, or which ones i could use as they are normally not used anyway?

another question, where does debian put the default Xmodmap file, i couldnt find it, .xmodmaprc or something like it doesnt exist on my box?

thanks a lot for your help

Old 04-04-2006, 01:06 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: UK
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 3,467

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
What I did to get mine working was, in .Xmodmap:

keycode 111 = F13
keycode 236 = F14
keycode 178 = F15

Then in fluxbox keys file:

None F13 :ExecCommand import -frame shot.gif
None F14 :ExecCommand aterm -fn helvetica -g 125x45 +tr -e mutt -f ~/mail/dave
None F15 :ExecCommand firefox

I would imaging whichever window manager you use ought to have a similar way to map keys to programs etc


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