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On Using X w/o the Rodent

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the i-don't-believe-in-coincidences dept.

X 404

Jacobian asks "I'm really sick of my hands acking from typing and using my mouse all day. I would like recommendations on a cool ergonomic keyboard, and a way that I can realistically say goodbye to my mouse once and for all in X. Every WM that I've used extensively has been very unfriendly if you don't use a mouse. Some (fvwm) you can avoid using the mouse most of the time, but eventually there is some focusing problems that make you reach for the rodent once again. Is there a WM in which I would never have to use my mouse?" I've never thought about it before, but having a keyboard friendly WM couldn't hurt. How do the different WMs rate on the various functions that can be accessed from both the mouse and the keyboard? (More)

Which actions cause the most long-term damage to your wrists: Repetitive keyboard use? Or repetitive mouse use? Would a keyboard friendly WM really help those suffering from wrist pain?

On a more personal note, I've found this submission to be rather ironic considering that for the past week, I've had to wear a splint on my wrist, due to an old injury (and not carpal tunnel, thank god!) commited in my reckless youth. So it's interesting that this one came along when it did.

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Logitech Marble rather than mouse.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477345)

I started having wrist pains from lots of mouse use, and switching to a Logitech Marble helped a LOT.. The marble is very ergonomic, but does require cleaning the ball every so often. I am now considering a keyboard with a built-in touchpad, but none I have found have a physical third button so I have held off.

KDE (4)

whig (6869) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477346)

Not to start a GNOME/KDE flamewar, but KDE is quite reasonable for most things without using a mouse. Alt-F2 can execute an arbitrary command, such as bring up an xterm (or kterminal) and Alt-Tab semantics work similarly to M$ Windows. You may have a little trouble negotiating with Netscape, however. Unfortunately, I think that no window manager can make all applications mouse-independent.

Not E (1)

Connor_ (86858) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477347)

Used E almost exclusively and decided its focus menu comes up far too slow (as E tends to do) otherwise I think you could turn focus stuffs off so the focus wouldn't be a problem, and there's all sorts of binds for moving around desktops and a whole dialog for binding keys to do weird things.

KDE/KWM & Adesso Keyboard (1)

panda (10044) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477348)

Well, I still use my three-button mouse quite a bit, but I find that using KDE with KWM I can use a lot of keyboard shortcuts to navigate the screen, including Alt+Tab to switch among running apps.

As for ergonomic keyboard, I love my Adessos. They're available for ADB, PS/2, and AT connectors. I find that they are comfortable, durable and I type faster using them than on any other keyboard.

can't really do without a pointer (3)

trance9 (10504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477349)

I use Afterstep 1.0 still because I have all the common window functions programmed onto function keys. F1=maximize, F2=fg, alt-F2=bg, F3=move, alt-F3=resize, F4=iconize, alt-F4=close, F5=refresh, alt-F5=restart, F6 and on launch applications (eg: F6 launch xterm, F7 launch xterm on server, ... F12 launch netscape).

Between these and the existing keybindings I can do almost everything without the mouse.. except for one thing: Netscape.

There is no way to traverse the links in netscape without a mouse. Or not that I know of anyway.

You could probably program the above keybindings on any modern WM, I just can't be bothered to redo it, since what I have already works.

Somewhat On-Topic (1)

jawad (15611) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477350)

I have a both an IBM 600E & a desktop computer, and what I would be interested in is a keyboard designed for the desktop that has an IBM style trackpoint built in. The trackpoint doesn't require me to move my wrists at all, and although it really blows for Quake [II | 3 Arena] it would be nice to have as an *addendum*.

I would want to have the choice of trackpoint or mouse, so when I'm reloading /. incessently I don't have to move my wrists, and when I have the urge to frag the night away I don't have to play around with cables.

Can anyone help me out?

i dont display scores, and my threshhold is -1. post accordingly.

WindowMaker (2)

BJH (11355) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477351)

WindowMaker allows you to switch virtual screens with ALT+1, ALT+2, ALT+3,...
You can also change focus between windows using ALT+TAB, and the settings allow for automatically raising a window when switching to it with the keyboard.

Very odd coincidence... (4)

pipeb0mb (60758) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477352)

This is just too weird.
I suffered a strain of an old hand injury on Thanksgiving, and, like the author, I too did the splint thing.
I was researching around, and found that KDE has several predefined shortcuts, and even allows the user to bind the Windows© keys to certain things. Here is the link: ml

This helped me enough to get started, but, it made me seriously thnk about the way X ignores the kb, which, with its console roots, is quite ironic.

Good luck to you.

keyboard mouse eliminator (3)

digigasm (84016) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477353)

CTRL - ALT - Backspace

That takes care of that.

gnome + e, and another mouse peeve (4)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477354)

I know with gnome + enlightenment, you can alt+tab between windows (or any other key combination you choose). However I don't know about things like selecting menu items.

--Not quite on topic, but related...well it's on topic since it's leading to discomfort and wrist strain in X:
One thing I've noticed with the mouse in X is that for some mice, the multiplier is just too small. No, I don't mean acceleration. I mean the factor where it takes mouse movement * some factor to calculate each more. See, I have a Logitech Ps/2 firstmouse+, and the base speed is very slow (because to improve resolution it transmits physical movements as smaller steps).

In Windows, with Mouseware, I have these options:
- Speed (a slider bar sets this)
- Acceleration (slow, medium fast) (controls speed + threshold, or threshold is fixed perhaps)

However when I boot into LINUX, in gnome I have these options:
- Acceleration
- Threshold.

See there is no way to set the base speed in gnome. I end up kludging it by setting acceration to max and threshold as low as the slider allows.

This mouse movement problem is an X issue, not gnome. There is no way to specify a mouse movement multiplier independant of acceleration and threshold (I dug up the gnome control-center source to see the calls being made and looked those up).

So if you look at it this way, there should be three parameters that affect mouse movement:

base multiplier (in X is always 1)

and movement would go like this:

movement threshold:
accel * (base multiplier * movement)

However in X it's always, base multiplier = 1 always.

I hope I'm not the only person in the world bothered by this.

Mouseless pointer movement (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477355)

I know this is not really what the question is asking, but it's somewhat related and a lot of people don't know it...

XFree lets you hit ctrl-shift-numlock, after which the numeric keypad will move your mouse pointer. You can use + to click, ins to drag...

Just an interesting tidbit of info. :-)

Logitech Marble+ (1)

wbb4 (60942) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477356)

I have to agree that the Logitech Trackman Marble+ is an excellent replacement for the mouse. I was having wrist pains in my right wrist from the mouse, and that hasn't happened with the Marble trackball. I also have a much stronger right thumb now =]

Just drop the WM... (2)

sugarman (33437) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477357)

...and go to Linux without X.

You still have Lynx, and pine, and I find I get a whole lot more done without actually playing w/ windows or settings, or Q3A, or pr0n.

I mean, sure you can argue "What's the point?", but it is efficient enough for most work. Just change run-levels when you actually have to scratch your itch, and otherwise, you're good to go.

ergo keyboards not the solution (2)

trance9 (10504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477358)

If you are experiencing pain from typing and mousing an ergonomic keyboard won't help. Not by itself. You are over-using or at least mis-using your muscles and you need to slow down.

A better solution is to install break software like "xwrits" to remind you to take frequent breaks. Say every 10-15 minutes. You should get up out of your chair during these breaks since a lot of problems are actually caused by bad posture and sitting too long.

Ergonomic keyboards might be part of a solution if they help you use your muscles properly--but they cannot be the ONLY thing you do, nor can they be a substitute for taking regular breaks, fixing your posture, etc.

Also, a keyboard that works well for you might not work for someone else at all. Personally I tried lots of keyboards and wound up using a really ancient non-ergonomic keyboard because it had the best keys (they press with little effort but you can feel a bit of a click when they get far enough, so you can use minimal force).

damn, got mangled (2)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477359)

should read like this (that section near end)

movement less than threshold:
1 * (base multiplier * movement)

movement greater than or equal to threshold:
accel * (base multiplier * movement)

MouseKeys (1)

Chemical (49694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477360)

I totally understand. My desk is poorly aranged making it difficult to use both mouse and keyboard at the same time. I'm pretty good with Windows keyboard commands and don't use the mouse much in Windows. This is tough with MacOS but can be done. However I've never found a WM that lets me be totally mouse free.

What I think would be great is a program that lets you emulate the mouse with the numeric keypad. Window's has such a utility (but it doesn't really work all that great). Does such a utility exsist for X? I think many mouse-haters would find such an app very useful.

not practical for most people, but.... (5)

kroy (35258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477361)

I learned how to use the mouse with my right foot. It was rather frustrating, and its a bit difficult right-clicking, but the effort has paid off. I no longer need to move my hands off the keyboard when using any window manager.

keyboarding and macro creation (1)

biohazard99 (114288) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477362)

Being relatively new to the Linux/X-window system (not a cs major), I may not be the most knowledgeable source on this subject, but I can remember writing out some macros/shortcuts for tedious shell/vi/emacs commands for over the terminal use on the one *NX box I've been allowed to play with up until now. It seems logical to me that php/perl/python would be friendly to writing macros in the X environment for this application. This could be shared like a common .login/.profile/.*rc file to configure your shell or command line emailer would would be handy on a distro cd

Mousekeys in Linux (5)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477363)

Here's a trick I plicked up awhile back here on slashdot: in X you can simulate a mouse using your keypad in a very similar way that the Windows "Mousekeys" program works. The functionality is built into XFree86 and all you need to do to activate it is hit Shift-NumLock. After activating the feature, use the number keys to move around and '5' to click. '/', '*', and '-' switch the mousebutton that '5' represents. '0' is a click and hold (for dragging) and '.' releases the click and hold. The other keys may do something as well, but I'm not sure what. Also, to speed up the movement, tap '5' while you're moving the arrow with one of the other number keys.

I was really excited when I found this feature. IMO, there are a few improvements that could be made, though (or maybe I just don't know how to do what I want):

  • Using '5' to speed things up is often inadvertanly interpretted as a click. This can get annoying.
  • The feature times out. So if you don't use it for awhile, you'll need to hit NumLock-Shift again. I'd prefer to have it permanently enabled.
  • I'd also like a way to know whether or not the feature is active without actually trying the number keys (to avoid inadvertant numbers being typed). Ideally there would be an indicator on my Gnome panel that would tell me whether it's on or off, just like there's a Mousekeys indicator on Windows to indicate whether it's on or off.

it's the mouse.. (1)

jimmer (60258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477364)

in my opinion (as a longtime carpel tunnel sufferer) it's the mouse that causes most of the pain. Once you get a good keyboard setup, the biggest pain is having to always reach over to move and click.
on my *tight* budget I use a simple split keyboard with an integrated touchpad. it's not perfect (there are better setups i'd prefer), but it has helped a LOT. i wish i could have found a keyboard with the touchpad in the middle (between the split), as that would eliminate even more movement..
oh well.

Re:gnome + e, and another mouse peeve (3)

Ripat (19963) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477365)

I had the same problem, but I just increased the resoulution in XF86Config. That fixed it. My mouse works really nice now.

Re:KDE/KWM & Adesso Keyboard (1)

abischof (255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477366)

Here's a link to Adesso [] , btw.

Alex Bischoff

good ergonomic input devices (2)

kemokid (122655) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477367)

I have just started using the Goldtouch [] keyboard and mouse and recommend them both. (I am not in any way affiliated with the company.) If you buy from them directly, the combo is $170 or so; I got them for about $100 or $120 from a local reseller.

The keyboard is actually not that great; I like the tilting design, but actually wish it would tilt more, say, to almost ninety degrees! Also, these stupid bastards put in two MS 'Start' keys, one of which is directly to the left of F1, so you always hit F1 when you want F2, etc. But I haven't seen anything better that's actually on the market as opposed to being in development. If anyone knows of similar but better products, please let me know.

The mouse I really like. It's three button with the buttons a little rearranged, but I got used to it really quickly. I'm sure the buttons can be reassigned in X anyway. If an ordinary mouse has left, middle, right buttons labeled 1 3 2, then the Goldtouch is 3 1 2. It's very comfortable.

kemokid []

AmigaOS was handy for this... (1)

Colitis (8283) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477368)

One of the things I found really handy in AmigaOS was being able to control the mouse with the keyboard - you held down combinations of the Alt and left and right Amiga keys and used the cursor keys to move, or to use either mouse button. It wasn't the most pin-point control, but it was totally independent of any need for application support and saved my bacon many times (especially when I had a break in my mouse cable and had to survive a couple of days before I could buy another one).

I'd love it if someone would add this sort of functionality to X.

Track balls (1)

leebc (54874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477369)

I have an old serial logitech track ball that a friend gave me. It works fine under X. It has a very flat profile and a large button on each side.
My window focus is set to follow the pointer.

I have about 7 inches between the edge of my desk and my keyboard. The spae immediately in front of the spacebar is where my trackball sits. I can stretch out a thumb to move the arrow, or even just run my wrist across the ball. Makes for a very low impact environment.

It has to be a low profile design though. my parents have a Microsoft trackball and my strategy certainly wouldn't work well with it.

I am running TWM. I've been meaning to look into setting a mapping in my .twmrc that binds META+TAB to "f.warpring" or something. Has oanyone had any success with this sort of thing?

WindowMaker for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477370)

I use WindowMaker almost exclusively... I get by with most everything by having comfortable default window sizes and by hotkeying everything. I have 10 desktops start up automatically, F12 for menu, F11 windowlist, F8 for xterm, F9 for netscape, alt+enter for (un)maximize, alt+u for (un)shade, ctrl+esc for window menu, alt+h for hide, etc. etc. By setting up things based on how you work 90% of the time, you can make your life much easier... However, there are of course times where you have to use the mouse... netscape isn't friendly to tab & co. I want one of those control chips embedded in my brain so that I can move a cursor with my mind... oh yessss... Speaking of window managers, though - in a side note, of a sort, how about an ADD specific window manager? It'd be an interesting study between psychology and user-interface design. How exactly would you go about designing something like that? It'd be a cool project, but I don't think I could focus on it long enough to see it through... ;) Well, didn't really answer the post, but I did ramble for a while. If it makes anyone feel any better I hate the mouse, too. For some things (e.g. xbill) it's great. For WM UI's, it blows. later

not a mouse, but an incredible simulation (2)

named (3909) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477371)

press shift-alt-numlock and you've got the keypad to use as a mouse.

arrow keys move. pressing two keys simultaneously speeds the movement up (otherwise it's painfully slow).

5 clicks. / changes it to left click, * to middle click, and - to right click (i think). + double clicks in whatever click mode happens to be engaged.

it's not the easiest thing to use, but useful for when your mouse just won't work (whether because of your wrists, or cat chewed cable).

web browsing (1)

borkbork (30290) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477372)

The thing that would probably cause my the most problems not having a mouse would be using a browser.

I've always thought it would be nice to have a gui browser that was as easy to navigate with the keyboard as lynx but could display tables and images and all the other pretties. Netscape is a real pain in the butt to move through links and such without a mouse

Track balls (1)

leebc (54874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477373)

I have an old serial logitech track ball that a friend gave me. It works fine under X. It has a very flat profile and a large button on each side. My window focus is set to follow the pointer.

I have about 7 inches between the edge of my desk and my keyboard. The space immediately in front of the spacebar is where my trackball sits. I can stretch out a thumb to move the arrow, or even just run my wrist across the ball. Makes for a very low impact environment.

It has to be a low profile design though. My parents have a Microsoft trackball and my strategy certainly wouldn't work well with it. It's larger than a mouse and has buttons in strange locations.

On a different note, I am running TWM. I've been meaning to look into setting a mapping in my .twmrc that binds META+TAB to "f.warpring" or something. Has anyone had any success with this sort of thing?

Windowmaker (5)

Robin Hood (1507) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477374)

I use Windowmaker (current version 0.61.1). The "root" menu, as well as the window-switching menu, can be accessed through keyboard shortcuts (defaults to F12 and F11 respectively). I use multiple workspaces and switch back and forth by pressing Alt-# where # is the number of the workspace I want. Using Windowmaker's "Rename workspace" feature, I label each one: "Main", "Games", "Netscape", "Programming" and then switch to whichever one is appropriate before I launch a program. It works well for me and I usually don't need the mouse. You can set focus mode to be "Click to focus" and then switch the focus among the windows on your current workspace by using Alt-Tab, a key combo that's probably been drilled into your fingers by constant Windows use. The fact that Alt-Tab stays on the current workspace is very nice, as is the fact that the window list (F11) shows all the windows as well as which workspace they're on, so you can use that menu to switch workspaces or just remind you of which Alt-# key you want to press.

Checking out the keyboard-configuration program under WindowMaker, here are the things you can do with the keyboard:

  • Open applications menu
  • Open window list menu
  • Open window commands menu
  • Hide active application
  • Miniaturize active window
  • Close active window
  • Maximize active window
  • Maximize active window vertically
  • Raise active window
  • Lower active window
  • Raise/lower window under mouse pointer
  • Shade active window
  • Move/Resize active window
  • Select active window
  • Focus next window
  • Focus previous window
  • Switch to next workspace
  • Switch to previous workspace
  • Switch to next ten workspaces
  • Switch to previous ten workspaces
  • Switch to workspace 1
  • Switch to workspace 2
  • Switch to workspace 10
  • Shortcut for window 1
  • Shortcut for window 2
  • Shortcut for window 10
  • Raise Clip
  • Lower Clip
  • Raise/Lower Clip

As you can see, there's quite a lot of keyboard control built-in. Try it out!
The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

WindowMaker foo ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477375)

I find WindowMaker is the best. I've set up most window commands to my personal config. I can close, minimize, maximize, and raise/lower a window from the keyboard. Plus I can execute anycommand I like by pressing F2. Most buttons I find can be handled with tab ;-) The most reasuring thing is that I'm extremely frusttrated in any other WM or OS. WMaker definetly satisfies me. I think E is quite similar but that thing is a hog! WindowMaker has never let me down.

Ergo Keyboard w/ Touchpad (1)

FoulBeard (112622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477376)

I have had really good experiences with that MS Natural ripoff keyboard. It has a little Touchpad below the space bar that is great for the times when I really have to use the mouse. It allows me to keep my fingers on the keyboard, and not have to play the ol' switching game all the time.
On the hand it also allow you to use your existing mouse for stuff like games (e.g. Quake 3). Anyway just my little post.


Adesso. mmm, pointer on the keyboard. (2)

Nat Lanza (952) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477377)

I have an Adesso MCK-108P [] , which is a nice split keyboard with a trackpoint in the middle. Having the pointer on the keyboard is great -- you don't have to reach much at all for the mouse. They also make models with built-in trackpoints or no pointer if you really prefer. I'd definitely check them out -- they make good keyboards, and don't charge too much.

As far as window managers go, when I last used fvwm2 a while ago, I was able to bind keystrokes to do actual mouse movements. This might help with those focusing problems you mention -- while I certainly wouldn't want to use a keyboard-controlled pointer for a lot, simple things like switching focus shouldn't be too bad.

Unfortunately, you'll probably never be able to entirely say goodbye to the mouse. But, with a decent keyboard and pointer combo, you can make it a bit less painful. My hands started hurting a lot less when I switched to the Adesso.

Re:can't really do without a pointer (1)

Cyn (50070) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477378)

[TAB] should do ya fine there, although it's really not very 'quick' if you're stuck on a page like altavista or any portal with 200 links before it gets to the real stuff.

Window Maker (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477379)

I had the same problem and after I've tried many different WMs, I settled for Window Maker. You can define key bindings for any function that it can peform (from switching desktops and windows to menus).

I've been using it for almost a year now, and I had no reason to switch to a different WM based on functionality.

The problem I couldn't solve however was the fact that each GUI app has its own command bindings (if any at all). Gnome and KDE are trying to create a certain standard, but they're not there yet.

Most likely the easiest way is to run Linux console-only or Linux+X with a lot of *terms open...

Have that problem for years... (3)

Chilli (5230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477380)

Hating the rodent myself (for everything except surfing the Web with Netscape, which could also be made more keyboard friendly), I have tried various window managers - none being really satisfying:

  • twm is hopeless, dumped it long ago.
  • fvwm2 is quite good to use without a mouse. The reason: you can make it switch to a specific window with on key stroke based on the WM_TITLE and WM_CLASS of that window.
  • WindowMaker can largely be operated with the keyboard, but to switch to a specific window, you have to get the window menu (usually F11) and then select the window based on the first letter of the window title (using arrow keys is far too slow).
  • I am currently trying E, and having to use ALT-TAB is annoying.
What I really miss most in all window manager (that I tried) - except fvwm2 - is selecting specific windows with one keystroke (or an ALT-whatever combination).

I am currently pondering whether it would be worth the effort adding this feature to E - but E 0.16 still has serious memory leaks, so I don't know whether I won't have to switch again anyway.

This is seriously troubling me and if there were a cool looking (theme-aware) WM that can be easily used with the keyboard only, I would immediately switch.


Re:Somewhat On-Topic (2)

devlogic (109750) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477381)

Actually, it might be easier than you think.
If you use the XInput extensions to XFree86, you can probably set up both the keyboard-touchpad and the mouse as core pointers. I've got a Wacom art tablet, and it works simultaneously with my Logitech Marble Mouse (if I use both hands, but that's another story).
Check out [] ; I found it when I first started working with the tablet & X. It'll take a bit of hacking to get it to work right with two mice, but I'm sure it can be done. The man page for XInput (if you can find it; it may be a part of XFree86(1)) will undoubtedly also help.

Re:it's the mouse.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477382)

Its a pain in the sense that it slows you down... but who says that from an ergonomic POV thats not actually beneficial??? At least you break up a repetive pattern...

beware of wrist splints!!! (4)

trance9 (10504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477383)

One more thing.... beware of wrist splints! They give you short term relief by taking the load off the muscles that are bothering you, but they are long term doom.

The danger is that your muscles will atrophy in the splint. Then when you remove it you will re-injure almost immediately--you will probably think you're just not recovered yet, but in fact it is the weakening of your own muscles because of the splint that is causing your trouble!

You have to learn to type properly using all of the muscles in your shoulders arms, forarms, wrists, and fingers, balancing the load so that nothing is overworked. You cannot solve the problem with gimmicks like splints--you actually have to solve the problem with the way you type, and with how much you type.

Instead of using a wrist splint type without one. Type as much as you can WITHOUT symptoms, taking frequent breaks. Try to find out how much you can do before you experience symptons and do just under that much typing. Make sure you keep typing every day--don't lose your endurance. On the other hand, it's a mistake to do exercises to "strengthen" your hand--typing all day long is enough exercise.

If you're having trouble you really should see a doctor who knows something about typing injuries. Many doctors will tell you to use splints--these are the ones who know nothing about typing injuries, go and see someone else--ask to see a specialist.

Redesign (1)

rccolaman (123730) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477384)

I think that the whole UI should be taken down and rebuilt from scratch. There is technology that would allow you eyes to lead the mouse around, how many times have you wished that you would need any hand and eye, why not just eye. Think about it, never have to touch a nother mouse, just put on some glasses and go w/ it. Just a thought.

ergo keyboards - the best I've found yet (1)

elbobo (28495) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477385) []

they're not cheap, but they're certainly the best I've found so far. and they look absolutely superly cool :) (been used in a few movies, for their sci-fi-ness).

although to be honest I haven't got one yet, it should be arriving in about 12 hours though :) I'll probably do a wee review of it once I've got it so maybe check [] tomorrow..

el bobo

Re:Somewhat On-Topic (1)

jayped (25281) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477386)

IBM makes a Trackpoint Keyboard [] . They also have a miniture 87 key version. Both only come in black (I think?). I imagine you could use the trackpoint ps/2 connector along with a regular serial mouse (or use a ps/2-to-serial adapter with the trackpoint or your old ps/2 mouse) and use both.

KDE, and XFCE too (1)

rsidd (6328) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477387)

I find I can do just about anything in either KDE or XFCE without using a mouse. I'm referring to the desktop environment only: many applications still need a mouse. Also, though one can position windows with arrow keys, I find the mouse more convenient for that.

Re:ergo keyboards not the solution (1)

Real Timer (31368) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477388)

I strongly disagree. The combination of the Kinesis keyboard and a good keyboard drawer have enabled me to go from near crippling tendonitis in both wrists to pain free. But the keyboard drawer was essential to get the correct posture.

The logitech thumb operated trackball makes a good mouse replacement (once you adapt to it, even drawing with it is possible). But with a good keyboard drawer that provides an elevated mouse pad next to the keyboard, I've found mousing can be quite painless.

Adesso's Dvorak Keyboard (offtopic) (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477389)

I was drooling at the "DvortyBoard" and I was wondering if anyone had tried it.

It'd be nice to be able to look on the keyboard when I need it, and the keyboard doesn't have an altogether horrible layout (Windows keys and weird space button can be overlooked for a Dvorak keyboard). The site also mentions a Dvorak tutoring program, which is surprising because I wasn't aware that there was such a program.

Anyone care to shed some light on the keyboard, the software, and whether or not it's worth $50?

CDE (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477390)

CDE is designed to be usable with only a keyboard if need be. It works quite well. Motif apps in general work very well with just a keyboard. I use the keyboard to navigate quite often, and I find the CDE handles this superbly.

Also, the X FAQ has a section on using X without a mouse. It's on somewhere. I believe there are mouse key type things.

kde (3)

Rilke (12096) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477391)

kde is a very good choice if you're trying to eliminate the mouse. There's keyboard access to just about everything in all the apps, and the wm pretty much allows everything from keystrokes as well.

But gnome will as well, as will most of the WM's. It's just that the wm's don't come configured that way usually. Learn a bit about xmodmap, spend some time configuring the tools you use, set up your default session the way you want, and you can pretty much forget about the mouse in X.

PS. The real key to all this is the whole 'alt key opens the menu' idea. Does anyone know who first did that in a bitmap display? Is it possible that it's actually an MS "innovation"?? (ISTR one of the early DOS char-mode GUIs did this, Geo-something???)

Re:gnome + e, and another mouse peeve (2)

etherised (72853) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477392)

i know exactly what you are talking about. i believe that XF86Config has an option to select mouse resolution. if your mouse is capable of higher resolutions, this is where you can adjust it. made a big difference for me. hope that helps.

Eye control? (2)

dimator (71399) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477393)

Are there any projects out there that use eye control, rather than mouse? Do we all remember that special about Stephen Hawking on PBS a while back? He uses a system that allows him to use his eyes to look at certain spots on the screen. Through a hierarchical type of software system, he can look at a certain category of words, which will lead him to a list of sub-categories, on and on, until he reaches the word he wants to "say." He stairs or blinks at it (I forget which) and it gets spoken (or written, if he's writing a paper or something). The way his machine "sees" his eye movement, IIRC, is by two sensors attached on the sides of his monitor. I've read of other physically impaired people using similar systems.

Couldn't X be the same way? If the position where your eye was looking was interpreted as the mouse cursor, and blinks==clicks and double blinks==double clicks, you could do everything you do with a mouse (except the little scrolly-wheel thingy-something I've grown to require. :)I imagine this would cause a great deal of eye strain though...

KWM vs E: Alt-tabbing; one dimension (1)

amit_kr (22877) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477394)

I switched from KDE/KWM to GNOME/E recently, mainly because it was default in the new computer, and, face it guys (even KDE guys agree mostly), GNOME/E is definitely better looking.

However, in terms of just using the mouse, KDE scores! With zillions of windows, I found myself Alt-tabbing with comfort on KDE desktops, primarily because of the windows-style icon list that pops up.

E, because of the way it handles Alt-tabbing, (I'm told) can't do this icon-listy-thingy. That's sad, because sometimes I choose my window *while* my Alt is pressed: it might be a window on some other workspace, but since the icon's there, I can keep pressing tab till I get to it... instead of doing Alt-tab and have each window in the ring refresh as its displayed; even before my desired window comes up.

Given that i usually work in emacs/xterms/lynx, Alt-tabbing is one huge reason less to use the mousy. Netscaping is usually very mouse intensive, but I'm more relaxed then, as opposed to when I'm coding and don't wanna move my hands all over the desk ;-)


Or maybe a touchpad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477395)

A friend of mine had similar complaints, and has been much happier since switching to a touchpad. Personally, I don't care for touchpads... but given enough pain, I could become a fan.

Real men don't use window managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477396)

We use ctrl-alt-F1 to do more than one thing at a time.

Re:Mouseless pointer movement (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477397)

Is this broken in VNC?

Re:can't really do without a pointer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477398)

When using netscape, I have often wished that I could use the lynx keys. Maybe they can put them in Mozilla.

Re:Mouseless pointer movement (1)

0sb0rne (66455) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477399)

but it's soooooooooooo slooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww it's painful :o(

Re:Logitech Marble rather than mouse.. (1)

joe52 (74496) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477400)

I'll second that. I have three computers on my desk right now, each with a different type of pointing device. The most comfortable of them is the Logitech TrackMan Marble attached to my mac. When I'm using it I feel like I'm just resting my hand on something that's nicely fitted to my hand.

My pc has a normal mouse, which isn't nearly as comfortable. On the other hand, I feel like I have more precise control with the mouse than I do with the TrackMan, but I use the mouse a lot more frequently (it's attached to the machine that I do most of my work on).

I also have a laptop with a trackpad, which is ok. If I'm using it much I always plug a mouse in. I wouldn't want to use a trackpad all the time.

that's just my $.02

Now I remember... (2)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477401)

The other keys may do something as well, but I'm not sure what.

The '+' key double-clicks. I don't think the Enter key is used at all (perhaps making it the accelerator instead of '5' would be a good idea).

Re:Redesign (1)

Chilli (5230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477402)

I immediately agree that it is possible to imagine alternative input devices that would make life much easier. Glasses following the eye focus would be wonderful, indeed. I am not sure, however, how precise these are using current technology (and how expensive).


xemacs is all you really need!!! (1)

ndfa (71139) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477403)

When working on database stuff, and coding you mostly dont ever really need anything more that window management! I enjoy not having to point and click thank you very much!!!

Now for that you can use X-/ emacs to do almost anything!! Split things into windows and you are set! you have termials, editing windows, or even webpages :)

what more can you ask for..... it really is a pain to have to use the mouse to switch windows, and most WM's are not able to make screen splits like emacs... now i know this will not be practical for most ppl, and if VI can do it.. GOOD!!! all i am saying is that if your work involves writing ESQl/Perl/C++/HTML or something like that Emacs will work just fine! I loved using it on a primarily CDE box all summer!!!

Two words, baby... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477404)

Electric knife. (1)

JavaTHut (9877) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477405)

These keyboards rock... I got the DVOARK model and absolutly love it from: tm

Re:Mouse Pad Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477406)

We have a helpful mousepad from Case Logic at work. It has a two-chamber, gel-filled roll that velcros on to the pad, and supports your wrist. It's helped me alot.

Re:ergo keyboards - the best I've found yet (1)

elbobo (28495) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477407)

thought I'd add a little to my post there :)

it's the keyboard on the left I'm talking about, not the rather ugly (in comparison) one on the right. it seems to be fairly highly recommended for people with wrist injuries of the type we all complain of. if you look closely at the top down view of it you'll see they have the keys for the little fingers raised so you don't have to move your hands to get at them. infact they've designed them so that all the keys are within reach with minimal hand/wrist movement.

oh and they still look cool. damn do they look cool! :)

el bobo

MS Explorer mouse easier on wrists? (2)

SETY (46845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477408)

I just switched to the new MS Explorer mouse (the one without mechanical parts). I'm not sure if it will help other people, but for some reason I don't get a sore right wrist as much or as often. I'm not claiming that it's Bill's new toy, but maybe the shape of it or the smoothness helps. I gurantee there will be some propaganda at that says its super ergonomic.

Get space and have fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477409)

A Logitech TrackMan Marble FX
(and I mean an FX and not a Plus)
and a Happy Hacking keyboard
is a significant relief for not
only your desk space, but also for
your wrists.

BTW: Does anyone know an alternative
supplier for Happy Hacking type of
keyboards? The Happy Hacking stuff is
really a little bit expensive.

Re:Mouseless pointer movement (2)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477410)

Quickly tap '5' while the pointer is in motion and it will speed up quite a bit.

Re:not practical for most people, but.... (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477411)

Did Master Dust Puppy himself teach you? Can you play Quake well?

Edge of the table (2)

Dasein (6110) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477412)

My biggest problem was the edge of the table. I'd rest my wrist on it and it was cause circulation and nerve damage.

I switched to a keyboard and mousepad that kept me from doing that and the pain and numbness has been gone for about three years and counting.

Might work for you -- not that you won't have enough suggestions by time this is all over. ;-)

Re:it's the mouse.. (1)

jimmer (60258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477413)

no, i literally find reaching over for the mouse to be the most painful!
once my arms/wrists are in a comfortable, relaxed position, i have to make a major arm movement for the mouse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477414)

YES!!!!! I love these keyboards, I have been using them for almost 2 years, have one at home and at work( you can get adapter so they work on Sun boxes ) I have the QWERTY model. It is worth the money. Also there is room in the middle of the keyboard to rest a small touch pad if you want. It also has a very small footprint so reaching for the mouse is much easier.

Re:Now I remember... (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477415)

The Enter key seems pretty hard to reach while using the arrow keys, while the 5 key is right in the middle.

P.P.S. - '5' isn't the only accelerator (2)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477416)

perhaps making it the accelerator instead of '5' would be a good

OK, so I learn something new every day... it can be used as an accelerator (thanks to the poster in a later thread for pointing this out). Apparently hitting any key while the pointer is in motion will speed up the motion. Shift looks like a pretty good choice for this to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477417)

Yes, these do definately rock. I have four myself, been using them for about 3 1/2 years. All -- and I really do me ALL -- of my wrist pain has gone away. They are superb. Everyone, I implore you to run out and buy one of these. After a week or two, you will never want to go back. Now, for the scary part: if I am forced to use someone else's traditional keyboard for even a couple of hours, the pain starts to come back. Kind of confirms the notion that once the damage is done, it's donw. Anyways, going back to my trusty kinesis alleviates the problem. Last, I no longer use mice. I use trackballs instead. Takes a while to get used to, but worth it. Check out the logitech optical varieties. -- me p.s. as someone else noted, we are talking about the keyboard at their website on the left, the one with the concave keyboard that looks like two half bowls.

Re:AmigaOS was handy for this... (1)

pen (7191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477418)

I believe that the same features already exist in X. Try Shift+NumLock.

Also available in MS Windows, Left Alt+Left Shift+NumLock. You must have the Accessibility Features installed.

Mozilla tabs (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477419)

I've been reading the responses to this thread and to throw in my two cents on why I prefer Window Maker's wm to anyone else is futile since I seem to be in the majority.

However, a common lament is that netscape doesn't allow you to tab. This is very true and very annoying. But for those who don't keep track of Mozilla's development, Mozilla does allow you to tab through the links, making keyboard naviagation much easier.

Just another AC who will probably not be moderated so no one will see this.

Some options for you to look into. (2)

Buaku (93539) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477420)

Problems with your fingers aching from typing usually mean that you are not typing correctly. What I mean is that you do not have the correct posture and angles. Generally people who type using the proper posture, height, and so forth do usually don't get CTS. Perhaps you should find a typing instructor and have them coach you about this. You may also just need to take more breaks when you are typing.

Another option is to get a Dvorak keyboard and see if that works better for you. A Dvorak keyboard is supposed to be much more efficient than the standard QWERTY keyboard. What I mean is that the space your fingers have to move to type most words is much less, reducing the strain on your hands. It's also supposed to be faster. Downside is learning a new layout. Here is an URL with some info on the Dvorak layout. []

As for not using a mouse that gets tricky in a GUI environment. I've never tried it, and it is pricey, but [] has a foot operated mouse. If your goal is to reduce wear and tear on your hands, maybe it is worth looking into.

You could also check out the portion of the typing injury FAQ [] that deals with alternative input devices. Perhaps you could substitute something for the mouse or keyboard that is more to your liking.

Hope this was helpful.

I have Dvorty (1)

jes5199 (70849) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477421)

I have one. You give up your scroll lock LED for a "Dvorak Lock" one that cannot be touched by software, with the Dvorak lock button taking the corner of the keypad-- shrinking the plus key in half.

All the keys have two letters on them, which is extremely confusing at first, and no one else can just sit down and use the keyboard without being really boggled.

really there isnt much advantage to this over just rearraging the keys on your qwerty board and changing the software.

Sawmill, Enlightenment, Windowmaker (1)

Eman (22576) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477422)

All three of these have it so the user can set up their own hotkeys for windowmanager actions. I'm personally partial to sawmill. The configuratability of Emacs, looks of Enlightenment, and very light.

Sawmill helps... I still prefer MS methods (3)

DataGrok (81077) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477423)

It seems every X11 window managers' design heavily incorporates the mouse as a necessary tool for window management. I even get this impression from reading snippets of POSIX specs. Here's a (very botched) paraphrase, or at least, the impression I got when learning about POSIX window manager recommendations:

"The window manager should not intercept any key bindings... they should all be passed to the application and the mouse should be used for windowing."

Anyway, I have, since I first booted linux and fired up X, always thought this was STUPID. The one thing that I see Windows having over Mac OS or linux window managers was the common, global key-mapping that comes from a tidbit of smart thinking at one point in the design (or stealing somebody elses' idea) and then the subsequent forcing of all the applications that run within your operating environment to adopt "similar" keybindings and look-and-feels.

I took key bindings for granted in Windows. Say, in the middle of anything else, I suddenly had the urge for some Slashdot in a maximized explorer window.

Ctrl-Esc R iexplore [enter] [F4] [enter] Alt-[SPACE] x Done. Or maybe size it a bit and move it some. Alt-[SPACE] S (arrow keys) [Enter]. And the cordless mouse is still stuck somewhere in the couch cushions with dead batteries.

Before I figured out that there were window managers that supported something other than focus-follows-mouse, I almost developed tennis elbow, slapping that rat around to keep my focus where i wanted it, and the windows raised where I wanted them. very frustrating.

I moved to BlackBox, because it was nice and speedy. But I still had no pop-up root menu on the keyboard. (I kept telling myself I'd learn C++ and contribute a patch)

later I moved to Windowmaker [] , and found out why people swear by that. Its neat, theme-able [] , and nicely configurable. But something about it still irked me. Maybe I preferred the simplicity of BB.

three days ago, i slapped Sawmill [http] on my machine and I think I've found a new love. It's all configurable in the same way emacs and scwm are, very modular, and it looks all pretty, very theme-able [] too. Not too bad in terms of speed, either. It's not blackbox (I loved BB's responsiveness) but it works well, and you can BIND stuff. With a wussy GUI configuration editor, even! If you want. wow.

So now i have a nice pretty desktop, that plays nice with gnome (even though I don't use gnome much), yet is not quite as hungry as Enlightenment or KDE, and supports lispy customizations (I don't know it well enough to code yet, but i can see the ability of the program to expand). I've got alt-space mapped to the window controls, ctrl-esc mapped to a popup app list, and f12 mapped to the root menu. So now i can, once again, sit on the couch across the room with the cordless 'board and have nearly-full control over my work environment. All I have to do is figure out how to configure it to be able to size the windows with the keys. That and implement selection, copy, and paste using shift and arrow keys. :-P

Maybe the whole system is flawed and maybe Berlin [] will work more to my liking. Man, i wish i already knew how to code. Then i'd just go FIX all this stuff, instead of bitching about it, eh? ;) (Helping berlin or any other OSS project to completion would be hella cool too.)

Good luck, jacobian, in your search for the "right" configuration.

Sawmill (1)

witten (5796) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477424)

Sawmill [] has a really nice graphical key bindings editor that lets you assign any key (or key combination) to just about any window management action that you can think of: raising windows, cycling windows, moving windows, resizing windows, killing windows, maximizing, minimizing, cycling workspaces, etc.

Of course, you'll need to use the mouse to initially configure your key bindings.

Re:Not E (1)

pshuman (68722) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477425)

I would have to disagree. At least in the 0.15 releases and later, you can bind EVERYTHING to keys. I have a majority of my window management setup on the keyboard. I use focus, go to multiple desktop, slide to virtual desktop, max height,minimize, and close window. Rasterman has even gone so far as to include things such as "Goto Desktop area [X Y]" "Move mouse pointer by [X Y]" "Scroll Windows by [X Y] pixels" Now only if all of the applications would all support keyboard commands. Netscape 4.7 is limited, but the M11 Mozilla release has all of the menus accessable and you can tab through the links.

M$ Natural Keyboard & Logitech MouseMan Marble (1)

Cobratek (14456) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477426)

I'll admit it. ( no one else has )
I use an original M$ natural keyboard. The newer cheaper 'elite' keyboard layout for the arrow keys and the insert/del etc keys suck.
I really like the Logitech Mouseman Marble.
I find typing all day long is not as bad as using a regular mouse. It is much harder on the wrist.

Re:MouseKeys (1)

oscariommi (51850) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477428)

It's 'inbuilt' in X.. Press ctrl+shift+NumLock, now you can control the pointer with the num pad, click '5' after pressing an 'arrow' and it moves faster.. Use + to click, can't remember the other keys, but there is docs about this.. Shouldn't be too hard to find..

confessions of keyboard lover (kinesis style) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477429)

For my personal makeup the sun keyboard ruined me. I could only work 25 hours a week without pain killers. I bought a kinesis Classic QD and a sun PS2 --> Sun converter and have been able to get back to my happy 55 hours of geekery without any issues. Takes a bit to understand the placement of the tilde and curly brace but then its fuckin sweet (as only a keyboard geek could appreciate). was the cheapest place online to find any kinesis products. Derek.

Happy hacking style kyb.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477430)

I picked up a 20+ dolar keyboard at the Sac. Fry's. Basicly it's laptop style. Same smaller key's and goofy layout but, it's only about a foot long has all the key's ( H.H. is a bit too minimal for me) and is slim enough that a wrist pad is more or less not needed. I also have a TrackMan FX (best $50 i've spent). I still use my older 3btn logitec mouse for games but the FX is great for everything else. Question though.... What I'm realy looking for is something between the keyboard I have ( basicly a laptop) and the HappyHacker. The 87 key IBM sounded cool but no pic. and 170 bucks.

Re:Just drop the WM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477431)

p0rn just isn't the same on lynx

IceWM (2)

kevina (14659) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477432)

The IceWM [] seams to do a very good job of not having to use the mouse. In particular it uses almost all of the MS Windows shortcuts for window manipulation. For some reason people don't seam to like icewm. Could it be because it just to simple? Or could it be becuase it is too much like MS Windows?

I don't use the mouse with SCWM (1)

Jayson (2343) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477433)

The Scheme Window manager is the most programmable window manager in the X universe (at least of all the ones I have tried). Everything is dynamically configurable and programmable. I have been using it for almost a year now and have used it to build extensive window manipulation commands.

There are two unique features from SCWM that allow pointerless operation. First there is that SCWM is linked against Guile; it doesn't use some sissy scripting language. Second, SCWM can generate synthetic events. So besides being able to program how to manipulate windows, you can also manipulate programs.

(If you are an Emacs user, there is a scwm mode that will directly eval you scwm config file and send if off to the window manager)

Some examples of things that are possible with synthetic events:
- Instead of using the C-S-NumLock X hack you can actually make a usable version of it.
- If you know the offset of a button in a window you can cause a click on it. For example, if you use exmh, you can define a keymap that occurs if the pointer is sitting in an exmh window. This keymap could bind the letter 'r' to the click the reply button, so you can effectively drive a normally mouse driven program with the keyboard.

There has been some amazing work that has gone into SCWM and everybody should at least try it out. It is fucking awesome.

I think that the end to all window managers would be if SCWM were to merge with Enlightenment. All the eye candy from E, and all the useful functionality from scwm (think, you could have your background set to animate when mail arrives, or other stupid window manager tricks).

Ergo Keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477434)

I picked up a great one for ~ $30 US at Circuit City...check HERE [] It's similar to the Wave 5.0 model there, w/o touch pad...

Re:Somewhat On-Topic (1)

krakan (23581) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477435)

I use gpm with the -M and -R options to bind both a serial mouse and a touchpad to /dev/gpmdata and then use that pseudo-device as my X-pointer. Works fine.

Mouse alternatives and preventing RSI (1)

Chilles (79797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477436)

I experienced a lot of pain e few moths ago due to extensive mouse/keyboard work, particularly using photoshop. After consulting a few people I had my sysadmin buy me a wacom pen tablet and it works wonerfully after you get used to it. Holding a pen is much more natural for your hand and wrist than holding a mouse and you get special sections on the tablet that simulate keyboard shortkuts.
While you're waiting for the tablet try these things my physical therapist told me:
-switch mouse arm, this might be difficult for all but the most ambidexterous but in all situations where I don't have my wacom I switch every hour. This gives both your arms a bit of essential rest.
-Make sure you sit behind your desk in a proper way, sit straight with your seat/desk adjusted so that your elbows hoover just above the level of your desk when you let your shoulders hang with your upper arms along your body and your hands resting on your desk where your keyboard/mouse should be.

I hope this works for you, whatever rout you take make sure it stops hurting soon even if that means you have to stop working, I've been very close t real carpal tunnel and I'm never going there again ever!

Re:not practical for most people, but.... (2)

pshuman (68722) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477437)

I did the same thing with my trackball back when I played Descent. I couldn't keep on top of the 20-some keys anduse the mouse with my hand at the same time. With practice it's not that hard. Clicking can be tricky...

I also took apart my keyboard, added wire to some important keys, then connected them to an array of switches on the floor for use with my feet. People thought my plexiglass/tenis ball/radio shack switch gizmo was wierd, but it worked well!!!

Try Scwm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477438)

Try Scwm [] . Not only does it let you do all WM-type stuff with the keyboard, it lets you bind keys to synthetic mouse events so you can avoid using the rodent even in apps that would otherwise require it.

Getting Rid of the Rodent? (3)

Millennium (2451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477439)

You can't completely get rid of the mouse in X, no matter how hard you try. You can use keys for most functions, but some things will always bite you and force you to use the mouse.

Therefore, I wouldn't focus of getting rid of the mouse, but replacing it with something else. Some people have mentioned using the keypad; this works but I wouldn't recommend it (a keyboard isn't anywhere near as responsive, nor can it be; it wasn't designed to control a mouse pointer).

I would personally recommend a trackball. They use less disk space and the motion seems more natural to me. I use a Kensington Turbo Mouse (that's "Expert Mouse" to those of you in the PC world), and it works great in MacOS and LinuxPPC both (though I have yet to figure out how to make the fourth button do anything on the Linux side; I'd like to map it to a double-click if that's at all possible).

Touchpads also work. Tracksticks work well once you get used to them, but good luck finding one on anything that isn't a laptop. Then there's that funky brainwave headband (I don't know if it supports Linux yet though).

If all else fails, you could go totally wacko, plug a MIDI keyboard into your machine, and write a driver to control the mouse pointer by playing it. It'd be almost impossible to use, but you've got to admit that once you had it working it'd be seriously cool. Of course, it'd be hard enough to use that it defeats the whole point of the mouse in the first place. But who's counting?

As for ergonomic keyboards, try some out before you take the plunge. Like trackballs, you either love them or you despise them. Best not to get stuck with a keyboard you like even less than your current one.

Re:"M$?" (3)

ryan360 (123742) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477440)

I think this glorifies the direction that Slashdot user posts are going: FUD. I don't think a comment such as this is an acceptable reply to an opinion that MS-Windows is more keyboard-friendly than X-Windows. Many of the people here have a mentality to the effect of "Linux will solve world hunger! Anything Microsoft is 100% crap!" It's not that clear cut.

Now, I'll praise Linux as much as any John Q. Torvalds (I wouldn't trust my websites on an NT machine any day), but I also use a Windows 98 machine at work and have one machine installed with it at home. Ironically, one of the large reasons I use Windows 98 is because of it's kerboard-friendly design. The keyboard shortcuts are almost universal in every application.

There, I said it; I use MS-Windows. Does that make me a bad person? Perhaps. Does that make my opinions wrong? Of course not. Am I entitled to my opinions? Yes, of course. Next time someone feels like using a reply like "You're a dork", take a step back and listen to these words. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. It is not our job to judge whether those opinions are valid or not. When it comes to operating systems, it is up to you to make your own decision. Or better yet, don't make a decision. Accept each OS for it's own merits and strengths.

Questioner right about fvwm (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477441)

Fvwm2 can come damn close to being totally mouse-less. I have all of my favorite apps hooked to CTL-ALT hotkeys. I find it much easier on the wrists than straining for F. It also supports assigning hotkeys to moving the mouse cursor around (Man, I love it. Is there anything this WM won't do? :)

The only problem is that clicking the mouse buttons can't be done with the keyboard: most X programs ignore such "synthetic" mouse events. I have also set up CTL-tabbing to be pretty close to the M$ style (which is unfortunately the best way of switching between windows I have used). And to top it all off, FVWM2 is far easier on the system resources than KDE, WindowMaker and the perpetual-alpha Enlightenment.

Please excuse any incoherence, see time stamp.

Re:I have Dvorty (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477442)

What about the software program? Is it just a basics thing?

I've got an old IBM keyboard that lets you switch keys really easily (with a second layer of plastic with the inscription), but it's got a funky phone jack connector, so it's sitting in the corner with a Dvorak layout. (ps, on an offtopic offtopic, anyone got a way I can connect that to a normal computer?)

The keyboard I have now (and most of the keyboards I've ever had) won't let the keys come out, and most of the unnessecarily "enhanced" (yes, slightly larger shift and enter keys are WAY more important than having a full sized backspace) keyboards seem to be the same way..

Re:Logitech Marble rather than mouse.. (1)

cruachan (113813) | more than 14 years ago | (#1477443)

I was also getting some pain from excessive mouse use - and sometimes really bad acheing in the joints of my index fingers. Switching to trackerballs basically cured it - I found the Microsoft tracker to be very comfortable, but tends to gum up easily and can't be cleaned. Currently I've two logitech devices on my main computers - one is the one with the marble operated by the thumb which is very comfortable - the other is a new device which looks a bit like a mouse but has the marble in the centre - operated byt the fingers - so far this looks really good

Re:not practical for most people, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1477444)

I learned how to use the mouse with my right foot

I want to see a picture of that!

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