Features/RememberKeyboardLayout

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Remember Keyboard Layout

Summary

Setting keyboard layout during install is too complicated. You should be able to set it once, and have that carry through as far as possible including to the installed O/S.

Owner

  • Name: Alex Hudson
  • Email: as FAS (fedora at alexhudson dot com)

Current status

  • Targeted release: 14
  • Last updated: 2010-06-21
  • Percentage of completion: 0%

Detailed Description

At the moment, keyboard layout configuration is a source of pain for non-US users. There are two big reasons for this:

  • You have to state it a number of times during and after install;
  • Wrong layout can lead to unintended consequences.

In reverse order; getting the layout wrong can often be bad: for example, the difference between US and GB keyboards is minimal. However, if you're typing in certain characters (like typing in a strong password for root - ahem) it makes a difference. By the point you need to enter the right characters it can be a real pain to go back and reset the layout; if indeed you notice (I set a password with characters I didn't realise I'd entered - working this out later was 'fun').

The first problem stated is the worst. The GDM screen asks for Language & Layout, which makes some sense. However, you have the GDM login for the Live CD, and the GDM login screen when you've actually installed - and the configuration doesn't carry across. Worse, not only is the layout set there, but the installer also asks for it.

How this ought to work: keyboard layout setting should be clear up-front and early on, so that text entered is correct. This setting should be carried forward, at least as a default (if not avoiding asking the same question again and again), so that from the initial configuration of the LiveCD environment through to accessing the installed system for the first time, the setting is correct.

Benefit to Fedora

This is more of a paper-cut type feature admittedly, but it is a real source of pain: particularly when it goes silently wrong (see my root password example), any new user is likely to be completely baffled. This is a subset of a more general locale problem which I would hope to solve in future releases (e.g., keeping A4 paper settings...!), which particularly affects non-US users.

Scope

The scope is currently unknown. The setting is currently asked for in a couple of places, so some initial research would be needed to find out what happens to those settings. anaconda likely sets some system keyboard which isn't picked up by gdm and likely doesn't ask the desktop for the current setting. In any event, it would be likely that the code changes needed would be quite small.

How To Test

The test would simply be running through an installation and verifying that the setting is carried through as far as possible.

User Experience

Users will experience either saner defaults or fewer questions during the install, making it smoother and less likely to be problematic.

Dependencies

This feature would entirely involve co-ordination with packages: at the moment, probably anaconda and gdm. Other DMs may be involved if other desktops also want this feature.

Contingency Plan

If it doesn't happen, things simply don't get better - they just remain the same.

Documentation

Ideally no additional documentation would be needed: it may require tweaking current documentation describing the process (e.g., rather than setting a layout at specific points, users may simply be verifying a configuration).

Release Notes

  • TBA

Comments and Discussion