Request: Review of Framework Laptop 16 Keyboard Layouts

Feedback on US English (Linux/V2).

  • I’m not a current FW13 owner, but it’s not clear/intuitive to me what the F12 key is used for. Can you use a more descriptive symbol for this key?
  • I would really prefer the framework logo as the super key instead of “super”. I think your logo is the perfect design for the super key.

Edit: For context, I’m a Linux user but I’m leaning towards the US English option since I’m not a huge fan of the “super” label. If it was the Framework logo I would definitely choose the Linux option.

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There seems to be a lot of confusion about the F12 / Gear symbol key. Keys like this are extra keys / special keys (aka hotkeys or multimedia keys), and there is no standard or even typical set of keys that are included on keyboards, nor standard placement for them. Many of them, like the gear / settings key, have no standard function either. The user decides what they want it to do. For some keys, Windows (or other OS) might give the hotkey some default action, just to avoid it doing nothing by default. Since a lot of people don’t know that hotkeys can be anything & would think it’s broken if it has no action by default.

I don’t use ubuntu, but it looks like the settings would be found at “System Settings” > “Keyboard” > “Shortcuts” tab. Probably under “Launchers”

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Keybindings

Linux Mint (Cinnamon) uses a different control center, but it’s same steps to reach the hot key settings.

Arch wiki mentions how hot keys are not standardized & worse, it comes down to creating databases of common hardware to figure out what a reasonable default might be, for a given key.
Extra keyboard keys - ArchWiki

Many keyboards include some special keys (also called hotkeys or multimedia keys), which are supposed to execute an application or print special characters (not included in the standard national keymaps). udev contains a large database of mappings specific to individual keyboards, so common keyboards usually work out of the box. If you have very recent or uncommon piece of hardware, you may need to adjust the mapping manually.

On my ThinkPad, I have a Framework-like Gear symbol key. It produces keycode 179. On a lot of keyboards, 179 is the play/pause media hotkey. But since ThinkPads are popular and known, there is an entry in a database somewhere about the key. So distros know that play/pause is not a good default mapping for the key, it doesn’t match the symbol on the key. This is how much of a random mess the handling of hotkeys is.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ♫ music note symbol as a hotkey on a keyboard. Is this something some company has?

ThinkPads use a ☆ star symbol to try to communicate that it’s a user-defined function key. Probably chosen since stars are used to mark something special or a favorite.

☆ star key picture

I’d suggest a similar star. But a ★ solid star, just to avoid the possibility of Lenovo trying to claim that the ☆ star somehow belongs to them.

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Holy moly this would be insanely cool

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The German Keyboard is generally okay, but “pg” on the arrow keys is more commonly translated as “Bild” or “Seite”. And “PRT SCR” is usually “Druck”.

Caps lock on a German keyboard is usually represented by a downward arrow ⇩ but your current icon will be understood.

Also (this is more of a style thing), but in German, nouns are generally capitalized, so on most of my keyboards, the functions modifier/special keys are capitalized, too, like Esc, Strg, Alt, Alt Gr, Einfg, Entf and so on. However you can leave it lowercase, if you want to go for a more “stylish” look.

I’d keep it lowercase - it adds to the charm :slightly_smiling_face:.

For the statistics (excluding the Framework 13 and the typewriter this time): four of the keyboards have capitalized function keys, one uses exclusively lowercase (apart from the “actual” F-keys F1, F2, …). Kind of funny, the lowercase one is designed in Germany, the others probably in Taiwan, South Korea, and PRC.

You raise some good points here. Ironically, maybe the right design choice here is to replace the icon with wording like “custom hotkey” or something.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on a laptop, but I’ve definitely seen it on desktop laptops from the ~2006 era.

That’s a lot of text to fit on a small key…

To be honest, I don’t think there is a big chance that they will change it. Since they already went with the Gear / Settings symbol on the Framework-13, which has been through 3 generations now. It’s generally better for companies to remain consistent as much as possible with choices like this. But I really do wish they would change it (so that they can do the Framework Gear on the “windows” key without causing confusion).

“super” on the windows/meta/super key just looks lame to me. It has no life to it. A Framework logo is what is needed. I’m a full time linux user and I wouldn’t buy this “super” keyboard. Rather have the windows logo which I can put a sticker on and get enough backlight to provide glow for the logo on a sticker. Linux users have been doing this forever.

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I’d be pretty happy if it came with the keys as shown in the image, but also included a couple “spare keys” that are the changes were asking for. That lets things stay largely consistent, but offers the option for the customers to swap out for the better ones.

I very much hope that an ortholinear or ergonomic keyboard with blank keys will be available for the FL16. However, in the interests of French AZERTY layout fans, I would point out that you are using the old version of this layout here: In 2019, following several years of work and consultation, the French authorities have published the new standard for the French AZERTY layout. Here’s a page about it: The new AZERTY

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I use the CSA French Canadian layout, and this seems to be a different layout entirely.

I suppose it’s too late to mention that not having dedicated PgUp/PgDn keys (and to a lesser extent Home/End) is a dealbreaker for many people? You’ve even got space for Thinkpad-style PgUp and PgDn buttons in this layout - why not use it?

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As @Captain_Pumpkinhead mentioned, the number row being above the shift characters is slightly confusing. What makes it worse is the row is flipped and the tilda (~), and the tick ( `) remain the same. This would read to me as if I need to press shift, to type a number on the number row.

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Currently the International English keyboard looks identical to the US English keyboard except for the “super” key and the “alt gr” key.

Shouldn’t the International English keyboard show the additional characters that are available using a “alt gr” key or shift-“alt gr” key?

For Windows 11, this interactive page “United States International Keyoard” shows each key’s action when you hold “alt gr”, or shift then “alt gr” on a US English keyboard. Symbols like ¢, €, ¥, or £. Or °, µ, ÷, and ×. Or ¼, ½, ¾. Or §, ¶, ©, ®.

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French and Japanese both look good to me!

By the way, I think you can call the Swedish layout “Estonian / Finnish / Swedish layout”.
It is used in all three two countries, per Wikipedia.

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If I recall correctly, the EC does usually assign this key to open the multimedia player in Windows and Linux. The only time this differs is in pre-built laptops running Framework’s Windows image, where they have edited the OS to have that key open the Framework homepage when pressed.

+1 for the Framework logo on Super. It shouldn’t be too hard to replace the f12 graphic with a media player icon or similar.

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Thanks. I searched & found Nrp mention it here

Also found that in windows you might need to use Microsoft power toys to remap it. Or alternatively via the registry.

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yep! I’ve used powertoys to set it to open the powertoys search feature!

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I found two missing symbols on the swiss keyboard layout:

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