[Thinlinc-technical] Keyboard configuration in KDE

Peter Åstrand astrand at cendio.se
Tue Jun 5 10:01:23 CEST 2012

Hi! In general, it is not necessary to change the keyboard layout in the 
ThinLinc session. We are using the VNC protocol which is "layoutless" and 
can in principle support all layouts at the same time. You need to 
configure the correct keyboard layout on the client side though.

Unfortunately, in practice there are a few problems:

* Some legacy applications does not adhere to the X11 protocol 
specification, and tries to interpret the physical "keycode", in a layout 
dependent way. This is why we have the -KeyboardMap compatibility option, 
for simulating a physical keyboard. However, at this time, only a few 
compatibility maps are defined: Swedish ("sv"), US English ("en"), 
Brazilian ABNT2 ("pt-br") and Turkish ("tr").

VirtualBox is such an application (see 

* There's also something called XKB - X keyboard extension, which provides 
a lot of new functionality, but at a great cost: It is a very large and 
complex protocol. Bugs are common. At this time, we do not provide XKB by 
default. It is possible to enable XKB in ThinLinc by adding "+kb" to the 
/vsmagent/xserver_args parameter, although this is not very well tested.

The VirtualBox ticket claims that they have XKB support, so you might want 
to try this out and see if this helps.

Wrt the KDE keyboard tools, it is possible that the settings are grayed 
out due to missing XKB support. This is good I think; it is often best to 
avoid the desktop environment tools for setting/changing the keyboard 
layout. It is typically better to use the default Xserver layout settings 
(as configured by /vsmagent/xserver_args).

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

On Sun, 3 Jun 2012, Andreas v. Heydwolff wrote:

> Hello,
> many thanks for the great product - the new version seems to produce even 
> smoother rendering and feels faster than a Sun Ray trial I have running. 
> However, in my KDE 4 desktop important configuration possibilities for the 
> keyboard are grayed out. I had exchanged the "sv" keyboard in the ThinLinc 
> Server Agent settings with "de" (German keyboard" to begin with, but after 
> logging into KDE via the software client I observe
> -> System Settings - Input devices - Keyboard Settings - *Hardware*
> - the keyboard model cannot be chosen because it is grayed out
> -> System Settings - Input devices - Keyboard Settings - *Layout*
> - everything is grayed out
> -> System Settings - Input devices - Keyboard Settings - *Advanced*
> - everything is grayed out
> Is this intended behavior? Or is it a result perhaps of using a Sun Type 6 
> keyboard together with the hack to make SRSS work in Debian/Ubuntu that 
> entails some changes in the configuration of directories relevant for xkb 
> files?
> In KDE I now cannot use and change between different keyboard layouts that I 
> need, and in my VirtualBox Windows guest running in the KDE desktop many keys 
> are mis-mapped when using ThinLinc or not responding altogether while they 
> are working in the Sun Ray setup.
> Hints on how to solve the problem will be highly appreciated.
> Best regards,
> A.v. Heydwolff
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Peter Åstrand		ThinLinc Chief Developer
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