With the release of Ubuntu 10.04 yesterday, it’s finally possible:

(Comparison). Of course, the number of possibilities for Caps Lock has now gone up from 10 to 14 (you can also now make Caps Lock an additional Hyper, Num Lock or Super if those are options you’ve been waiting for all your life), but at least the important one is there!

10 thoughts on “Finally…

  1. that’s not related to Ubuntu.

    Is possible on every distributions that is using gnome 2.30.

  2. You know, I generally am not fond of people who complain about changes in software, but I have to eat my words here. There are some problems here (do I dare say “outright design errors”?), and besides, that’s way too many alternatives–a step back, I think, from making computers easier to use.

    For a start, exactly what does “default” do? A default, by definition, is the one that is automatically chosen without user action. So why do we have to choose it, and why is its action not described like the others?

    Over a lifetime I have managed to learn the behavior of just two of those: “typewriter–shift all keys” and the usual computer mode. Some of those choices I don’t even understand. Worse yet, I’m not sure if I understand which alternative I’m used to. Just try default and pray, I suppose.

    There are hardware problems as well. My keyboard (and the light) have only two states: On and Off, so that’s now obsolete. I notice that this menu doesn’t even allow remapping it as a second key, which I thought some people would like, to conform to the VT-100 terminal.

    If I understand correctly, two of those alternatives (“internal capitalization”) are confused with a font or typeface choice, thereby mixing two separate concepts (key shift, and font change) in one menu.

    I know what a fool’s errand it is to get choices like this fixed, so could you do us all a favor and please, make darned sure that logon dialogs give a warning about all this? I have a hard enough time logging onto some accounts even without that feature. Thanks.

  3. Well, the joke’s on me. I just checked. I already have 10 of those choices and never noticed. So, who cares? They’re hidden, and you’ll never have to wonder about it. Hint: stick with “Default”–whatever that is.

  4. But what’s with the *horrific* UI? :-(
    And the completely arbitrary sorting of the options?
    And the completely stupid descriptions? (what’s the difference between “default” and “Caps Lock acts as Shift with locking, Shift ‘pauses’ Caps Lock”?)

    Seems to me like it’d make more sense to have one combo box offering:

    Caps Lock:
    * is disabled
    * behaves as ESC
    * behaves as Backspace
    * behaves as … (whatever else this thing offers off-screen, can’t tell)
    * alters capitalization:

    If the last option is selected, the following checkboxes are shown:
    X Shift “pauses” Caps Lock
    X Caps Lock affects non-alphabetic characters

    I don’t understand any of the other options, so can’t propose a replacement, but surely it should be possible to offer something better than 14 radio buttons in one group… :-(

  5. Combo boxes are bad because they encapsulate data. Still, if you look at this, you’ll see that it *is* pretty much a combo box.

  6. It’s nice that they waste 90% of the UI on options that probably only 0.01% of users or less will ever use. I think they could get away with:
    Caps Lock [On | Off] and cover 99% of people, and let the ubergeeks edit config files like they always have.

  7. I use an Avant Stellar, so this is moot for me.

    And yeah, CapsLock is not one of the keys in my layout. Neither is NumLock, since I touchtype numbers and symbols on the top row and use the keypad exclusively for cursor movement. More importantly, shift and ctrl (the second and third most frequently-pressed keys on the keyboard, after the spacebar) are home-row keys, so they’re easy to hit.

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