Non_US keyboards on a Linux client using rdesktop

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Non-US keyboards on a Linux client using Rdesktop

Problem

You want to connect a Non-US keyboard to a Linux-computer, run rdesktop on this Linux-computer, and connect it to a system running AADS Terminal Server. More specific, all the special Non-US keys on the keyboard should work in the Remote Desktop Session.

Solution

To describe the solution, we will be using a Swiss keyboard with a German layout. The keyboard looks as follows:

It is important that you identify your keyboard correctly. More information about different keyboards can be found in Wikipedia.

 

Step 1: The correct keyboard layout in Windows

You start with connecting your Non-US keyboard directly to the Windows.
Start the Regional and Language Options of Windows. Go to the second tabpage:

Click on Details:

Our test system is an English Version of Windows XP. So, English (United States) language should have the correct keyboard.
In our example you see 2 keyboards beneath English (United States). Some Remote Desktop Sessions are done from a system having a "US" keyboard. Some Remote Desktop Sessions are done from a system having a "Swiss German" keyboard. So, both keyboard layouts must be available.

In our test system we also have NL as in so called input language. When choosing NL, there is only one keyboard layout, "United States International".

Next take a look at the language bar as it is available in your taskbar. If you do not see the language bar, correct it and make the language bar visible.

Using the language bar you can choose between NL and EN. These two options are available because of the Regional and Language Options of Windows. More specific, NL has only one keyboard layout while EN has two keyboard layouts:

Because of this, when you choose EN, you see a keyboard icon in the language bar. Click on the keyboard, and you can choose between the available keyboard layouts:

If you choose NL in our test system, the keyboard icon disappear, because NL has only one keyboard layout, so there is no keyboard layout to choose:

Note: sometimes you have to reboot Windows XP after changing settings in "Regional and Language Options". You have just added a keyboard layout to a language, but this keyboard layout becomes available in the language bar after a reboot of Windows XP.

Next: start Notepad and verify that all keys are working. If the do not work as they should, you most likely have chosen a wrong keyboard layout. You have to fix this, prior to continuing with Step 2 and 3.

Step 2: The correct keyboard layout in your Linux distri

The Linux client in this example runs Mandrake 10.2.
We connect the Swiss - German keyboard to our test client running Mandrake.
Using the Mandrake configuration tool we choose the correct keyboard layout:

Next: Start an editor and verify all keys. If the do not work as they should, you most likely have chosen a wrong keyboard layout. You must fix this, prior to continuing.

AADS Client Software

Select the correct keyboard layout in the Settings tab:

Optional Step 4: Rdesktop on the CommandLine

Verify the installation of the rdesktop-package on your system. Rdesktop comes with keyboard layout files. They should be available. More specific, there should be a keyboard layout file for your keyboard. In our test, we have to use the keyboard layout "de-ch":

Start a rdesktop session:

Look at the -k option. It specify the correct keyboard layout. In our test we use a Swiss keyboard with a German layout.

Within your Remote Desktop Session, again verify the correct keyboard layout in the taskbar:

Start Notepad and test all keys.

 


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