In short: better coding experience. The standard Germany keyboard layout (QUERTY) is not helpful for my coding flow.
Many keys are hard to reach, for example, the backslash (
I chose Colemak as my keyboard layout.
Colemak offers support for multiple languages is more ergonomic than the standard layout and reasonably easy to learn.
Adjust Keyboard With XKB For Linux⌗
Damiano Venturin wrote an excellent guide on XKB for Linux that explains XKB.
Most graphical environments for Linux (KDE, Xfce, i3, …) use X and XKB to define keyboard codes and layouts.
You can do that by using the command
For i3, you can define a command in your i3 config (
exec --no-startup-id setxkbmap -model pc104 -layout us,de -variant colemak, -option 'grp:alt_shift_toggle,shift:both_capslock,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp,ctrl:nocaps'
The command creates two setups for a US keyboard with Colemak, a German standard QUERTY keyboard, and adds some additional perks. For example, if you press both shift keys, you’ll get capslock. You can switch between both layouts with alt+shift+toggle.
It enables for example “Space/Shift dual role key.” When you press the Space key alone, it’s a space; but when you press it with another key, it’s a shift. E.g., space + x = X, roughly speaking.
It only works for Linux, but Mac and Windows offer alternatives.
Arch has an AUR package that’s also available for Manjaro:
pacman -S xf86-input-evdev-ahm
Now you have tell your OS that you want to use the evdev driver.
Check the XKB guide for further details. I adjusted my keyboard settings in
Section "InputClass" Identifier "system-keyboard" +Driver "evdev" +MatchIsKeyboard "on" Option "XkbLayout" "us" Option "XkbVariant" "colemak," Option "XkbOptions" "shift:both_capslock,ctrl:nocaps" +Option "TransMod" "65:50 102:241" EndSection
We set the keyboard driver to “evdev” and add options for AHM. The system should handle the rest. We took care of it by configuring our i3 config file.