Keymaps and a Mistake

I’ve been studying kernel keymaps in the hopes of getting the fn key to work (the given resources didn’t work). It appears as though the keyboard sends codes to the kernel, which get translated through the keymap into the actual codes before getting sent to the console. But it’s not clear whether X gets the codes directly from the keyboard or after they’re filtered through the keymap. Either way, one has to create two keymaps, one for the console, one for X, to get stuff to work.

[Politically-oriented rantings follow]

I also made the mistake of watching TV, specifically 60 Minutes:

Vice City made some kid shoot a cop. A doctor drags out evidence that brains aren’t “fully developed” until age 20-something. No statistical evidence was presented to show even a correlative link between video games and violent crime, particularly since violent crime has gone down every year since the mid-90s, when everyone started playing these “violent” games. Personally, I’ve played these kinds of games since I was 12 (Wolfenstein, Doom, Half-Life, Unreal, Quake, etc.), watched a thousand people get arrested for no reason, and been physically assaulted by the police, but I’ve never considered killing a human being a valid response. It’s entirely possible that this kid really was influenced by the video games, but how is that any different from being influenced by the Rambo series. After all, in the first movie Rambo killed a lot of cops and National Guardsmen, in the second one he assaulted a U.S. Senator, and in the third movie he was helping Osama bin-Laden. Nobody is suggesting censoring Rambo.

A Texas law which says the top 10% of all schools get guaranteed college admission is “too successful” because people who aren’t in the top 10% of their class in “competative schools” (which is code for “lilly-white rich schools”) are being beat out by people who are in the top 10% of schools in poorer immigrant communities. The University of Texas now has the highest freshman retention, SAT scores, and average GPA in it’s history, but somehow the students from the poorer schools are “unprepared” for college. <sarcasm>Oh my god, poor immigrants are getting into college while wealthy white kids given every possible advantage are getting shafted for taking their money and running to gated communities in the ‘burbs. Boo hoo hoo.</sarcasm>

Next up was a story on some dude searching for a new monkey species in Bolivia. While it’s interesting, there’s another story in Bolivia right now: peasants seizing gas fields and tens-to-hundreds of thousands of protesters who’ve blockaded the capital demanding nationalization of the hydrocarbon industry, the resignation of the president (he resigned a couple days ago), the disbanding of the parliment, and the banishment of multinational oil corporations (Exxon, BP, etc.). They could’ve easily spent their 60 minutes doing a brief history of Bolivian economics and popular resistance to the globalization of capital, but they had to get to their next story…

…Which was Andy Rooney emptying a kitchen drawer onto his desk and explaining what all the various utensils were for, finishing with how he couldn’t throw them out lest he need them in the future.


It was still an improvement from the last time I watched 60 minutes, when Andy Rooney was saying that he’d support ID chips implanted under your skin to cut down on airport screening time.

5 thoughts on “Keymaps and a Mistake

  1. The keyboard does send a code to the kernel, but it is of type “absolute event” which is not “button” so the kernel doesn’t hand it down as a keypress. This is why there’s a patch on my homepage that makes the kernel translate this specific absolute integer event into a key press:

    This is why you’ll never see an event for the fn key in userspace, and keymaps won’t help. As soon as you apply that patch (or a similar one depending on your kernel version and generated key code preference) you can start juggling keymaps — in fact there are UK ones at

  2. “A Texas law which says the top 10% of all schools get guaranteed college admission is “too successful” because people who aren’t in the top 10% of their class in “competative schools” (which is code for “lilly-white rich schools”)”

    It’s only code if you make it code. Making it code is counterproductive and harmful, since it persists the stereotypes.

    “are being beat out by people who are in the top 10% of schools in poorer immigrant communities.”

    The problem is that there are poor immigrants (and poorer whites too) that attend even “lilly-white rich schools”. If you believe that they’re somehow disadvantaged, then now they’re even more at a disadvantage. Ten years ago, UT could have looked at the competition in the high school and admitted a non-top-10% student. Now if all the slots are full up with top-10% students (some from lousy schools) these people are out of luck.

    The irony in this is that you’re right: “lilly-white rich schools” do tend to be good, good enough that a lot of families move and make other sacrifices so that their kids can attend these schools. Now with top-10% they might have done their kids a disservice. While their kids might have a better high school education, they might now not be able to get admitted to one of the few colleges they can afford. This is how the top-10% rule creates an odd incentive for students that can’t afford private or out of state college. They are actually incented to go to a worse high school, because if all you can afford is UT then you need to make damn sure you’re in the top-10% if you’re hoping to go to college. One risky way to do that is to work your ass off and hope the ranking works in your favor. One surefire way to make the top 10% is to go to a worse high school.

    Affirmative action programs sure do screwy things, don’t they?

    If I’m touchy about this issue it’s because I went to a “lilly-white rich school” and while I was fortunate enough to have some choices, a lot of my friends didn’t. Seeing the struggle of friends in the middle, friends in the second 20% who can’t afford private school or get admitted to UT is a bitter thing. These are hard working families and good people that deserve better than sarcasm.

  3. Hey,
    For your powerbook to work properly with everything (FN key also) you need, you should take a look at this:

    Even if it’s Gentoo. There’s the laptop support to install all the stuff.
    # emerge pbbuttonsd; rc-update add pbbuttonsd default
    # emerge gtkpbbuttons
    # emerge powerprefs
    # emerge cpudyn

    I’m sure you’ll find all these apps and let them work also for your distribution.

  4. Yeah, I’m aware of the issue with the fn key not showing up as an actual keyboard event, have patched my kernel, and verified that 0xe01d/0x61 does, in fact, appear when I press the key (in showkey).

    I also can verify that fn+F6 doesn’t turn on the numlock.

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