In my work on the
Lake Baikal Dimensions of Biodiversity
project I frequently translate texts and correspondence between Russian and
English. I never learned to use a standard Russian keyboard so I rely on a
phonetic keyboard. However, some of the default letter placements on Ubuntu make
no sense to me (Ж mapped to V? Seriously?) and, more importantly, they’re very
different from the OS X phonetic Russian keyboard I’m already accustomed to. I
spent some time today reconfiguring the keyboard layout to my liking; here’s a
quick guide if you would like to do the same.
First, open up a terminal and navigate to the location where the keyboard
configurations are stored (see below). Then create a backup of the Russian
keyboard file in case anything goes wrong or you decide you want things back the
way they were.
Next, open up the ru file in your editor of choice (for me, it’s emacs).
At this point you’ll see a file that looks like this:
(but way longer). To edit the phonetic keyboard, you’ll want to scroll down to
the phonetic layout, indicated by xkb_symbols "phonetic".
Now comes the long, tedious part where you change all the offending letter
placements. I did this by comparing all of the keys to a picture of the OS X
phonetic Russian keyboard and editing the key mappings accordingly. But you can
take advantage of my labors and just copy/paste my settings into your file:
Note: I didn’t bother mapping Ё to anything because I never use it.
Save the file and exit. At this point I restarted my computer, expecting the new
settings to take effect automatically as the helpfultutorials I read suggested. However, on Ubuntu 14.04 one more step is needed; open up a terminal and type: