Shifted to Ubuntu 14 (GNU/Linux), 64-bit – Single Boot from Windows 7 32-bit.
This will not be a temporary shift but a total migration. I have come to stay forever in these great tools which I have come to appreciate over these 5-6 years – Emacs, Vim, Shell, Grep, Find, other GNU/Linux tools. Yeah please say GNU/Linux instead of just Linux.
I can live without Microsoft Windows applications and their mouse affection. Though I will miss “Age Of Empires” game the most. But thats the reason to look forward to buying a gaming console 😉
Emacs and the one keyboard hack you need: Swap Ctrl and Alt
First thing after coming here: Installed Emacs and Changed the keyboard layout using XKB. Yeah seriously it was for this keyboard hack / remap that now I get that smiling feeling inside of Emacs and fly through the myriad chord key-combinations with great ease.
If you ever think of Emacs do not forget to do this one thing: Swap Ctrl and Alt. Then use palm and thumb to press Ctrl and Alt.
Questions ? Read this excellent article by Xah Lee which saved my life inside Emacs – http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/swap_CapsLock_Ctrl.html . You will get a lot of keyboard and other tips on his site.
I am so used to this Ctrl-Alt swap that it comes naturally now and I feel like a Superman inside Emacs! Really back in those early days of Emacs, the keyboards must have been with symmetrical Ctrl, Alts and at swapped positions.
By the way there are more mappings I have in mind: 1. Caps Lock shall be an Extra Esc. and 2. Two Shifts at once shall be Caps Lock.
XKB is the new guy in the town
While AutoHotKey would help quickly map the keyboard on windows, I could use the similar AutoKey on Ubuntu. However this time thought of doing it the ‘right way’ – made new friend, meet – The XKB ! (X Keyboard Extension).
It took some time to wrap my mind around it, but managed due to the awesome ask-ubuntu community.
Thanks to this step by step answer – https://askubuntu.com/a/885047/776635, after being contended with detailed XKB articles refferred by Xah Lee, I could quickly follow it.
Earlier I would use ‘xmodmap’ and ‘xev’ for this purpose but seems after Ubuntu 13, ‘xkb’ took over ‘xmodmap’ to maintain the system level Keyboard map and layout. I see XKB is the only way to do it cleanly i.e. effecting it throughout the system and not just for one terminal session.
Where is my Vim? Yes I am still using Evil inside Emacs. But have recently started reading my copy of ‘Mastering Emacs‘ by Mickey Peterson. His blog reads authoritatively and his point which appeals me most is “To best learn Emacs is to learn how to ask and get help from Emacs itself”. It was fun to watch Mickey’s interview with Sacha. I am sure I will have mastered the art of learning emacs by working through the book. Hope I will get out of Evil one day. Evil or not both ways I stand benefited.
Bye Bye Windows
Loving it here in Linux (Ah no! the GNU/Linux) and never going back ever again 🙂
Looking forward for years and years of fun. May the force of these great tools be with me and the community forever !