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On-Screen Keyboard Maliit Demoed With Gnome 3

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the several-layers-of-the-latest dept.

GNOME 66

Developer Jon Nordby has posted a video demo of the on-screen keyboard Maliit — intended "to be the input method project for MeeGo and other GNU/Linux-based embedded/mobile platforms" — working on a tablet running Gnome 3 under Fedora. Nordby mentions that Fedora packages are in the works for those who'd like to try it out. The keyboard looks impressively smooth and flexible (including language-specific character sets); I only wish it had the smooth-swiping predictive ability of keyboards like Swype.

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Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984296)

My computer came with a hardware keyboard upgrade built in.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984476)

That is sooooooooo 2009. We live in the future now, and keyboards are for oldtimers and fogies.

swype sucks (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984300)

Try using it to write anything that is not in the dictionary. It totally sucks for everything outside maybe text messaging. On a tablet it would only be worse.

Re:swype sucks (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984372)

Huh? If it's not in the dictionary, you just type it in the normal way, one character at a time. Works fine. But maybe you're right and it's not all that great for tablets.

Re:swype sucks (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984384)

One character at a time and you might as well use a better keyboard for that.

Re:swype sucks (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984412)

And miss out on the swype functionality? Hell no. I wouldn't use it for a SSH session, but I wouldn't want to use any virtual keyboard for that

Re:swype sucks (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986274)

Swype would never work screens much larger than a cell phone or a small tablet. Even on tablets of 10 inch size it takes way more effort sliding your finger, (which due to the screen size requires moving your whole arm) across the screen than simply typing.

Any time you have real estate approximating a small laptop, swype makes no sense at all.

Speed comes with better language prediction, as opposed to spelling prediction. Language prediction, like Swiftkey, knows what you are likely to say before you even finish the prior word. As a result you end up selecting entire words (or just hitting to space bar to accept the suggestion) often obviating the need to type even the first character.

Swype is a small device solution, designed for single digit typing forced by the small screen size. It won't scale to 17 or 24 inch monitors.

Re:swype sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35988792)

Swype would never work screens much larger than a cell phone or a small tablet. Even on tablets of 10 inch size it takes way more effort sliding your finger, (which due to the screen size requires moving your whole arm) across the screen than simply typing.

You don't own an Android based tablet do you? Second, why would typing to reach a key involve less arm movement than swiping? After all, your finger must either slide over or tap the same location on the screen.

I have the Xoom with the FlexT9 keyboard (which has the trace/swipe input).

Sliding your finger to enter text on a tablet is exceptionally fast. It's both easier than on my Nexus S phone and extremely precise as the larger keyboard helps me slide over the correct key every time. Swiping to write long emails or other longer text documents is (bar none) the best method to enter text on a tablet.

Re:swype sucks (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35992080)

Well, if you wanted to use Swype, you could just have a smaller keyboard. I think the HP's touchpad allows you to adjust the keyboard size.

Re:swype sucks (2)

vuke69 (450194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984436)

And when you type something in manually, it's automatically added to the dictionary for next time.

Re:swype sucks (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986238)

What happens when you type something in manually and get it wrong?

Re:swype sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35989238)

It learns it and deleting it is time-consuming, so swype becomes more and more unusable with time. It's not possible to disable the auto-learn behaviour. I gave up on swype precisely because this unconditional auto-learn was so annoying. Afrer a wholr it judt brcsme tooo annoyng.

Re:swype sucks (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986284)

And when you type something in manually, it's automatically added to the dictionary for next time.

So what? Virtually all smart keyboards do that.

Re:swype sucks (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984402)

I think it learns it after the first time as well. I'm pretty impressed with Swype overall. I don't even use it much and my input speed approaches that of using a proper keyboard, although I'm not the best typist in general. I'd love tp see a Linux tablet with a Swype-style input as an option. I've been thinking about picking up a Dell Inspiron Duo and trying it out with Linux (Tablet/Netbook combo for about $500. Heaver than a tablet, but is actually a 'real' computer as well).

Re:swype sucks (4, Interesting)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984398)

Keyboards should also be sensitive to the application being used.

For example, if I'm using "vi", i'd like to have a big Escape key, and it should recognize the commands specific for this editor.

Maybe virtual keyboards should be assimilated by editors.

Back on-topic... (0)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984518)

By even mentioning vi you're inviting a(nother) flamewar, but ultimately I guess there shouldn't be anything to prevent such context-specific functionality.

However, what I would like to know, since the video in TFA shows a single finger painfully punching in text in hunt-and-peck mode, is whether the responsiveness of this gadget is sufficient to cope with multiple fingers punching input.

Re:Back on-topic... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984556)

Without any kind of (force) feedback, I think the normal keyboard paradigm sucks, even if it allows using multiple fingers at once.

Maybe they should make a kind of transparent rubber mat that one can overlay onto a screen, where the rubber mat contains small tangible edges, so that you can feel where each key is.

Re:Back on-topic... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986390)

Without any kind of (force) feedback, I think the normal keyboard paradigm sucks, even if it allows using multiple fingers at once.

Some keyboards have haptic feed back on each key entry, which use the handset vibrator to indicate key press. Other simulate a click sound, which can substitute for the force of a key press.

How well this scales to a large device, such as a 17 or 24 inch screen is anyone's guess at this point.

There is also this problem of on-screen finger prints and smudges, which is likely to be more of an annoyance than actually having a keyboard at a desktop setting. Constantly wiping my tablet is pretty annoying. I've gotten in the habit of running my fingers over my trousers or shirt prior to touching the tablet. (At last a use for a Tie?).

All in all, its not clear to me that there is any reason for on-screen keyboards on the desktop. Hand held, certainly. But the whole ergonomics of the desktop computer screen need to be reworked to switch to on-screen keyboards and mouseless pointing.

Re:Back on-topic... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35987150)

All in all, its not clear to me that there is any reason for on-screen keyboards on the desktop

Sure. Gnome and others such as Enlightenment are trying to prepare themselves for running on touch screen devices. Whether the hardware manufacturers will ever allow this is another question.

Re:swype sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985778)

Just implement it as a different language layout and switch to it when you need to, even if you do need a layout for another language that means your going to have 3 layouts? That's easily manageable (somehow I doubt that someone that uses an on screen vi layout would also need an emacs one :) )

Re:swype sucks (2)

no_such_user (196771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984406)

No kidding. Just this morning I was sending an email to my boss, and sure enough it couldn't find "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in the dictionary. What a piece of junk!

Re:swype sucks (5, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985880)

No kidding. Just this morning I was sending an email to my boss, and sure enough it couldn't find "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in the dictionary. What a piece of junk!

That's because the sound of it is something quite atrocious.

Re:swype sucks (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986254)

No kidding. Just this morning I was sending an email to my boss, and sure enough it couldn't find "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in the dictionary. What a piece of junk!

That's because the sound of it is something quite atrocious.

Precocious bastard.

Re:swype sucks (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125708)

Maybe that's ultimately because people should use other words [youtube.com] when texting.

Re:swype sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984542)

You think so? I'm using a similar keyboard called SlideIT, and prefer it infinitely to other touchscreen keyboards that only incorporate a simple spellchecker. I'm actually using it for this comment, just to remind myself of what it's like. One autocorrect mistake so far, and I keep hitting enter instead of backspace (yes, I edit a lot), and forget that the keyboard switches mode automatically when I've entered special characters. But it's really a lot faster than hitting keys separately, and no more probe -- sorry -- prone to error. Touchscreen keyboards simply suck, in general.

Re:swype sucks (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984566)

Try using GNOME 3 to do anything. It totally sucks for everything besides annoying you.

Re:swype sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984592)

I use Swype a lot on my Samsung Galaxy S. I love it. I can't see why it wouldn't be useful outside text messaging or on a tablet.

The only problem is if you get half way through a long word and make a mistake. There's no way of stepping back one letter - you have to start the word over again.

I've had a go with 8pen, which looks really cool, but it requires learning from scratch. The good thing about Swype is that anyone who is a QWERTY touch typist can pick it up and be quick with it in no time.

I thought Qt was dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984362)

And a Qt keyboard on GNOME ?

Is florence keyboard stable enough for Ubuntu/GNOME? (not implying that 11.04 is stable...)

Not to be discouraging... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984364)

But the fact it kept resizing the window instead of overlaying seemed very un-smooth to me. I would think you'd want to determine the location of the text input field and overlap the part of the screen not in use when possible instead of forcing the user to re-maximize their app every time they type something.

All that said, I can't help but to feel these tablet fanatics are screwing up the UI for laptops and desktops for the sake of touchscreen in pursuit of the misguided goal of a 'unified' UI.

Re:Not to be discouraging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984484)

Different strokes for different folks. Most people don't want full screen applications on their tablet, they want to have multitasking with multiple windows. They want to move windows around and resize them. That's why the xoom is such a failure.

Re:Not to be discouraging... (2)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984710)

Even then I find their keyboard deficient. It *resizes* windows on typing. Even if not 'maximizing', it still shrinks your window to make room for the keyboard. This might be 'ok' if it put things back when done, but it doesn't, leaving you a blank set of useless space.

I would argue that 'most' people who want to have multitasking really want a laptop. If what you say has truth for 'most' people, I'd replace 'xoom' with 'tablet' and maybe I'd buy it. In tablet space, the biggest player is the iPad, which is nothing but maximized stuff. Tablets have had a long time to 'take hold' without doing so, always a niche product. Even the iPad figures pale in comparison to phone form factor devices despite being king of the tablet hill.

Conversely, if *only* looking at the tablet market, I dare say that iPad's relative success is due in no small part to a market that has always wanted their 'computers' to act like a phone. I'm not part of that market, but they are out there.

Maliit? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984374)

I guess the global namespace is getting full, and no more good names are left.

Re:Maliit? (2)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984856)

My guess is it's from Tagalog (Filipino), where "maliit" means small.

The Tagalog pronunciation is three syllables ma - lee - eet, with the final 't' barely pronounced - the syllable is ended by touching the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth, with your tongue, and your tongue stays there so there's no final puff of air.

Re:Maliit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985844)

I'm guessing it's pronounced "maul-leet" as in "to maul a victim" and "to be leet"
But that's just a guess.

Re:Maliit? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985906)

My guess is it's from Tagalog (Filipino), where "maliit" means small.

The Tagalog pronunciation is three syllables ma - lee - eet, with the final 't' barely pronounced - the syllable is ended by touching the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth, with your tongue, and your tongue stays there so there's no final puff of air.

And who says you can't learn useful things reading slashdot... I'm gonna go around saying maliit all day now.

Um... what's a "malit"? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984408)

I prefer to use a mallet to interact with my computer...

Looks unergonomic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984432)

Having to hold it with one hand while hunt-and-peck'ing with the other hand doesn't look comfortable. I'm almost getting cramps in sympathy. Why not just attach a keyboard?

Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (4, Interesting)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984456)

I was at a conference recently watching a fantastic speaker who spent his life's work on elucidating the pathogenesis of antiphosholipid syndrome, and next to me was someone attempting to take notes on an ipad. Clearly somewhere in her distant memory were ideas of happiness and bliss, of form and function coalescing on the future of technology that would be her companion for the conference. The reality was somewhat different. The 20 wpm typing speed was particularly hampered by the visual presentations, which frequently interrupted her fervered hunt and pecking of the keys and word suggestions. I dare say all the effort involved precluded any understanding of the speaker, but I can't besure of this. I can be sure that it proved finally to all who noticed that data input will never be a strong talent of a tablet.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984508)

This.

I am bewildered by this tablet on-screen-keyboard trend. Why use up your display real estate, smudge up your screen, and suffer with slow text input when you could just buy a netbook with a real keyboard? The 20 wpm people suffering along on tablets seem ridiculous as I cruise along at 85 wpm on my keyboard.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (3, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984546)

The British economy has reached the stage where real work done is inverse to amount of disposable income. We're a land dominated by clown management consultants with stupid toys which would never be suitable for any real productivity.

I assume the US is going the same way: as far as our relationship goes, we either lead or follow y'all.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984554)

If you buy a tablet to do word processing then you are clearly missing the point. Tablets are media consumption devices. Netbooks may have a physical keyboard, buy they also have a fan, a smaller screen, shit battery life and weight twice as much.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984580)

That's weird. My Psion Series 3a with its beautiful physical keyboard has no fan, weeks of battery life and weighs less than any tablet I've ever used. Its screen is fairly small, but visibility under various light conditions is excellent.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (2)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985058)

...My Psion Series 3a...

How has it been nearly 20 years and yet nothing has touched this machine with regards to form-factor, keyboard quality, OS responsiveness and sophistication of PIM applications?

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35987170)

...My Psion Series 3a...

How has it been nearly 20 years and yet nothing has touched this machine with regards to form-factor, keyboard quality, OS responsiveness and sophistication of PIM applications?

It didn't have an app store.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35987076)

That's weird. My Psion Series 3a....

I guess now we know, people who don't "get" the tablet still live in 1993...

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35987738)

And people who do "get" tablets are vacuous fashion-victims.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35988424)

Maybe so, at least I am open minded enough not dismiss that which I don't understand. Trendiness will make way for ubiquity.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35989328)

I "got" a Compaq TC1000 about 7 years ago. Way more usable and useful than an iPad [blameitonthevoices.com] . But I sold it.

I still have my 3a.

Best of both worlds. (1)

lrnj (1986582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985070)

In order to get a low-end Android device as a test platform, I recently bought a cheap little tablet (Flytouch / ePad / MID) from China. Don't get me wrong, the implementation was horrible. I think this thing was a fifth-rate knockoff of a third-rate knockoff, and the stats (RAM, clock speed, installed Android version) were all lies. It is too slow and clunky, with too miserable a battery life, to use for almost anything (except testing software you really, really want to be fast and efficient, so yay).

But the neat thing is that it came with a very light little protective folder with keyboard. When you pop the tablet in the folder, it's just like a little laptop. I can't help but look at that and say that tablets and netbooks will converge.

What I'd really like to see is a little folder like that with the tablet with iPad-style capacitative multitouch screen, the keyboard module optionally with extra batteries, possibly a hard drive, optical drive, usb and other ports, and tiny mouse, and maybe a Kindle-style e-reader with a Cintiq-style high-precision pen input, so you could take notes on it or it could work as an auxiliary input. A nice little kit for all of your bag-not-pocket portable needs, that all works together and separately, and also adds two highly convenient interfaces to your desktop machine.

I think something like this will happen eventually (at least, without the e-reader/pen tablet -- one can dream). People love the tablet interface for lounge-and-browse stuff, but often need the keyboard and ports to get stuff done. There's little reason you can't provide both together. Right now, I think the keyboard/case is being left out more for stylistic than practical reasons (if, say, the iPad came with a keyboard/case, people would have seen it more as a crippled laptop with a gimmick than something new and exciting, even though it would be a more capable device).

Apparently, I can predict the present. (1)

lrnj (1986582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35994898)

The "Asus Eee Pad Transformer" is (minus the e-reader/pen tablet fantasy) is basically exactly what I described, although the keyboard/folder/battery-pack is sold separately (I can't imagine getting one without the other, though). And it's selling faster than they can put them on the shelves.

I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of these, at lower and lower prices.

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (1)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984634)

I bought the EP121 - the thing with the pen - on screen keyboard sucks of course, though not as bad as the ipad. However, character recognition works wonders - I mean I have a terrible handwriting, and it still gets most things rights. You can also select text from an existing document and correct mistakes with a few gestures. And then there is OneNote, which needs no character recognition (but it maintains a list of possible words for each word you wrote, so your handwritten notes I searchable!) - I think this is the (short-term) future of data-input on a tablet. It works very well for me (had to teach it to recognize some of my characters though, but this is pretty straightforward). I haven't written much by hand in the past 10-15 years or so, and now I'm using the good old method of data input - on perhaps one of the most advanced portable devices currently on the market. (The EP121 is a full PC, intel i5 processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, usb ports, sdcard reader, HDMI output that doubles as a wacom tablet with an IPS screen and gorilla glass! Note that it does have a rather comfortable wireless keyboard, but don't take it with me much).

Re:Video reminds me of how great keyboards are... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35984926)

BIG PENIS GIGANTOS

That reminds me of how great paper is (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985050)

I've had the same experience trying to take notes with a laptop. There are too many equations, graphs, diagrams, and characters not on my keyboard for me to possibly keep up with just a keyboard. I have ended up going back to pencil and paper every time.

Which is what really makes me shake my head about these new tablets. They completely ignore all the potential strong points of the tablet form factor. I would love to have something lightweight that I could take free-form notes on that were at least somewhat searchable (I can live without perfect handwriting recognition). I'd love to have an eBook reader that can handle standard size PDF documents (journal papers), and let me easily annotate them. I'd love to have something lightweight to draw on like a Wacom Cintiq that isn't tethered to a computer.

No instead they provide a glorified smartphone whose only input method is pointing and grunting. Which has to be tied to the Cloud to transfer any data to another computer, or preform half the functionality. Which can't use calender/contacts syncing standards that even my Nokia dumbphone supports. The MS tablets have their share of problems, since they insist on reusing applications written with keyboard and mouse in mind, but at least they try to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the form factor.

The big problem with tablet keyboards... (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986356)

<p>What tablet keyboards <b>really</b> suck at is writing <i>Slashdot</i> comments in HTML.</p>

(< and > are two shifts away on the iPad...)

Wow... (1)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984568)

This is the most disappointing virtual keyboard I have seen in ages. It's not even big enough to let you hold your fingers over the home row.

Maliit means "small" (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35984806)

Maliit is the Tagalog (Filipino) word for small. Do I win a prize?

Re:Maliit means "small" (1)

DEmmons (1538383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35989708)

Ang prize mo ay isang.... balut! It'd be spoiled by the time it got to you, though, so I'll just eat it for you.

Re:Maliit means "small" (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35989806)

Ay, salamat. Kainin mo nga! Natakot pa ako sa balut. Kinakain ko lahat - dinuguan, puwet ng manok, adidas, dila ng baka, tainga ng baboy - kundi balut.

Re:Maliit means "small" (1)

DEmmons (1538383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35996304)

I can't eat all of that at once on your behalf, but i did have adidas recently. I thought you were Irish, but now I'm having my doubts...

Re:Maliit means "small" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35989964)

Maliit is the Tagalog (Filipino) word for small. Do I win a prize?

Yep, you do win a prize. It's named Maliit because the the team that initially implemented it was one the smallest - composed initially of 3 people inside Nokia's Maemo unit in Helsinki including me and I was given the honor of naming it. :)

-galing bukidnon

Yay! Gudlak sa project mo! (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35994204)

Yay! Hindi pa ako nakapunta sa pinas pero ang asawa ko'y galing alamada, cotabato. Ilonggo/Hiligaynon ang unang wika niya pero maliit lang ang mga Ilonggo ko na diksiyonario. Maraming pilipino dito sa Brussels at nagka-kareko ako ng tagalog sa lahat ng party :-) Diyan ako natuto.

Gudlak sa project mo!

Is dasher any good for text input? (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35989074)

Im thinking it could be a bit slow but if you got good at it you might come close to typing on a touch screen. I don't have the phone tablet to test it?

He's using a WeTab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35989610)

Looks like I've found the perfect upgrade for my iPad...

Will there eventually be a nude tablet (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35989916)

I can purchase a mother board and build my own system, which by the way I do. I would like to eventually buy a nude generic tablet onto which I install my own OPSYS and applications. When do you think this hardware is going to be marketed and with good availability. There is a large desire for roll-your-own devices.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002884)

Doing a feature pretty much every tablet has to have. Linux is AWESOME!

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