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A keyboard with thumb modifiers and Emacs cursor joystick

Last week I wrote about objed - my text object editor for Emacs. If I had this mode back when I started working on my key layout, I probably wouldn’t have developed the keyboard configuration I have now. I’m glad it turned out this way because I discovered some tricks that are of great help for my daily Emacs usage.

The first recommendation you usually get for an Emacs keyboard layout is to rebind Capslock to Control. That didn’t work for me, because my pinkies are very sensitive. I had to find another solution, preferable one which would let me keep my default thinkpad keyboard which looks like this:

keyboard

As you can see the mouse buttons are right below the spacebar and very convenient to press with your thumbs. Another feature is the trackpoint (red knob in the middle) which is usually used as an alternative way to move the mouse pointer. Interestingly the keyboard is also available as an external one so you can use it on any computer.

I rebound the mouse buttons to Control and Alt and configured the trackpoint to trigger arrow key events. Having mercy on my right pinky I remapped the middle mouse button to Return.

You can find the code and configuration instructions for Debian/Ubuntu here . In my config I activate sticky-keys as well, using xkbset, which you might consider as well.