Exorcising Caps Lock
Want to get rid of the evil caps lock key without mutilating your keyboard? Want to give those silly Windows keys useful jobs, or put all those extra multi-media keys to work? Want to become a powerhouse keyboarding commando? Then come along and join the fun, because Linux has all kinds of good tools for taming wayward keyboards and increasing your efficiency. In this two-part series we're going to use xmodmap, XBindKeys, and KeyTouch to create custom keybindings for launching applications and running commands.
The placement of the caps lock key is a demonstration of malicious cunning. It's above the shift key and it's usually oversized, so it's way too easy to hit it when you don't want to, which for me is all the time. On a case-sensitive operating system it's not all that useful anyway. Unhappy users often resort to remedies like prying it off entirely or covering it with duct tape. You can do this if you're careful, but elite geeks resort to more sophisticated measures that do not mangle their nice keyboards. It's not the fault of the keyboards that manufacturers have giant Windows-sized blind spots, and as always, Linux makes lemonade out of lemons and provides useful alternatives.
This command reverses whatever position the caps lock key is in, so first make sure it is not on:
$ xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"
What if you do this when caps lock is on? One remedy is get used to typing like a dork: "dEAR jUPITERMEDIA, i WANT MORE STORIES ABOUT hp, ibm, AND dELL." Or you could fix it. First run this command:
$ xmodmap -e "add lock = Caps_Lock"
Then make sure it is not on, and re-run the "remove lock" command.
This won't survive a reboot, so put it in your ~/.bashrc file to make it permanent.