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Bengali Keyboard Mini HOWTO

This really *is* a mini-how-to. The intention of this howto is not to explain what is xkb symbol file, or how to create a new layout, etc. There are tons of places on the web where one can find a better and more in-depth HOWTO about Xfree86 keyboard[layout/xkb/etc].

There is nothing special about setting up a Bengali Keyboard, just follow the steps described below. Remember everything you need in the following steps can be downloaded from the download section of Ankur's web page, except the machine and the OS :)

Setting Bengali keyboard through configuration file

There is

  • Make sure you have some Unicode encoded Bengali fonts installed on your system.
  • Download the xkb symbol file ben and copy it to the directory where the other xkb symbol files are. Usually this would be:
    /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols
    BTW, usually only root can copy files into this directory.
  • You are now one command away from starting the keyboard. On my system I just type the following command:
    > setxkbmap -symbols "us(pc101)+ben+group(ctrl_shift_toggle)"
On your system you are most likely to use a different value for -symbols option. Let me explain what they mean, then you can decide what should be the value for your system. My default keyboard layout for X is us(pc101). If you don't know what is the default you use, check the XF86Config file. As the Bengali keyboard layout is defined in the second group we can simple add everything from ben to our keyboard layout. Now you have setup your keyboard with us(pc101) as group one and ben as your second group. What does that mean? Well in simple words: with X you can have different layouts in different groups and you can switch between these different layouts. And that is exactly why we added group(ctrl_shift_toggle)! This means we can switch between the two groups by pressing control+shit buttons together. Matter of fact there are other options for the toggle switch. If your XFree86 is new enough, you will find a file named group in the same directory you copied ben. If your system does not have this file do not worry. You can use an option like grp:shift_toggle which will toggle by pressing both shift buttons. In which case your command becomes:
> setxkbmap -symbols "us(pc101)+ben" -option "grp:shift_toggle"

If you would like to use the phonetic keyboard layout (which can be found at the download section), please replace the word "ben" with "ben(probhat)" in the above mentioned commands.


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Copyright (c) 2002, Taneem Ahmed <taneem@eyetap.org>