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How to type accented Spanish letters in Ubuntu Linux

 

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  #1  
Old July 06, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Thumbs up How to type accented Spanish letters in Ubuntu Linux

I've been playing around with Ubuntu Linux (10.04) lately, and of course I had the need to type in Spanish. (I'm using Ubuntu right now ) Fortunately, it's pretty easy to switch the keyboard layout to type in Spanish:

Go to System => Preferences => Keyboard.
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Go to the "Layouts" tab and click "Add".
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Choose your Spanish-language layout.
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I chose to browse by language, and choose the "Spain" layout, which is the one I'm most familiar with. Even if I'm using an English keyboard, I prefer typing in Spanish with a Spanish keyboard layout, even though what the keys say don't match what they produce.

Edit: While you're viewing the "Keyboard Preferences" dialog and "Layout" tab (screenshot #2), you might also want to change the keyboard shortcut to quickly switch between layouts while typing. To do so, Click the "Options" button (lower left), click "Keys to change layout". I chose Alt + Shift which is the default key combination on Windows, and is what I'm used to.

A couple of related threads:
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  #2  
Old July 07, 2010, 09:38 PM
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I ended up making my own custom layout since I wasn't happy with the Spanish Dvorak one. Good to hear that one of the included Spanish layouts suits you.
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Old July 08, 2010, 12:48 AM
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The Dvorak layout has been on my list of things to learn for some time now. Is it worth it? The only reason I use the Spain layout is I started using it way back when and since I'm comfortable with it, I see no compelling reason to change.
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Old July 08, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
since I'm comfortable with it, I see no compelling reason to change.
Let me tell you my experience. I started learning it because I intended to be a programmer (this was back in grade 8 or so) and had heard that Dvorak reduced the risks of repetitive strain injuries related to typing such as carpal tunnel syndrome. A bit of research proved this to be true (don't take my word for it, search for yourself). Qwerty was designed to be deliberately inefficient for the typist in the respect that it was intended to minimize the chances of a typebar jam. Dvorak was designed by analyzing English words for letter frequencies, combination frequencies, etc and placing the letters in the spots that were found to be the easiest (in Dvorak's opinion) for the human hand to hit.

To emphasize the difference easily, someone created a Java applet that allows you to enter text and then compare the differences in typing said text on QWERTY vs Dvorak (and later vs Colemak). Here is the URL of the applet for you to check it out yourself:
http://colemak.com/Compare

I pasted in a short story I wrote and came up with the following stats for finger distance traveled - QWERTY: 318.8m Dvorak: 175.5m Colemak: 167.7m. This shows you how much less work your fingers are actually doing on Dvorak as compared to Qwerty -- almost half as much! Subsequently, people are also capable of typing much faster on Dvorak. As you can also see, the Colemak layout is very slightly more efficient in some ways than the Dvorak layout. This has been true for most of the sample pieces of text I entered into the applet.

However, these are all just facts. Let me tell you the reason I feel should be the most compelling for you to change. I never heard this reason touted in all the reading about Dvorak I did, which is a real shame. I only learned it after I became proficient at Dvorak and would on occasion switch back to Qwerty. Even before I reached the typing speed on Dvorak that I had attained on Qwerty (125+ WPM) it already felt so much better to type on Dvorak. When I switched to Qwerty and typed a paragraph or two I would start to see how sore my fingers felt. I never noticed it before, but it was really a pain to type on Qwerty. On Dvorak, typing just feels like a natural flow. My fingers feel like they are simply enabling thoughts. I don't think about the keys or the layout or anything, I just think the thoughts and they appear on the screen.

To sum up, I would have to say I feel there are many very compelling reasons to switch to Dvorak (or Colemak, I feel no prejudice against it although I don't think it is enough of an improvement to warrant me switching from Dvorak). If you do a lot of typing on a daily basis then try practicing for 30 minutes a day. There are some good websites to help you learn Dvorak which have typing tutor style Flash/Java programs specifically meant for the Dvorak layout.

Hope this helped you decide if it would be worth it
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Old July 08, 2010, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarential View Post
Let me tell you my experience. I started learning it because I intended to be a programmer (this was back in grade 8 or so) ... Dvorak was designed by analyzing English words for letter frequencies, combination frequencies, etc and placing the letters in the spots that were found to be the easiest (in Dvorak's opinion) for the human hand to hit.
As a result, ISTR Dvorak being awful for programming (at least in C-family languages - probably not so bad for Pascal and SQL). Mind you, the Spanish layout is also pretty bad for {}[]. At one point I considered writing a keyboard sniffer and using the data to design a custom layout specifically tailored for my actual usage.
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Old July 08, 2010, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pjt33 View Post
As a result, ISTR Dvorak being awful for programming (at least in C-family languages - probably not so bad for Pascal and SQL).
One might rephrase this to say, as a result Dvorak is not designed to be efficient for programming. This is very true as you point out. But that doesn't mean it's less efficient than Qwerty for those languages, either. However, there are special Dvorak layouts meant for programming.

In addition, there is a great deal of English involved in most programming languages (function names, system variables, etc) for which Dvorak is undoubtedly more efficient than Qwerty. Then there's documentation, reports, communication between team members, etc -- all parts of programming which use natural language and thus are improved by Dvorak (assuming of course English is the language used for said pieces of information).

I have never felt any problem with having to reach a little extra distance for my curly braces while programming. I would find that the annoyances of having to use a separate layout for programming as compared to natural language would outweigh the convenience of a slight increase in efficiency in either case. For those who don't agree with me on this count there are other layouts specifically designed for programming (both Dvorak and Qwerty based).

Last edited by Tarential; July 08, 2010 at 04:28 PM.
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