The Haiku/BeOS Tip Server
Tips and tricks for Haiku/BeOS users

Finger relief for the switcher

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This tip is valid for: Haiku only

It is bad enough to switch between a Windows  or Linux machine, where you copy text with Ctrl-C, to a Mac, where Command-C is used. Now throw in a Haiku setup  with its use of Alt-C and things get really confusing. Moreover, if you are running Haiku in VirtualBox with Mac OSX as the Host OS, the merest twitch of the left Command key will take mouse and keyboard control away from Haiku and restore them to the host.

The solution comes in two parts. First of all, in VirtualBox’s preferences, set the magic key to something that you don’t hit out of habit a thousand times a day. Just changing from left to right Command did the trick for me.

Second, Haiku’s Keymap preference let’s you perform surgery on the signals Haiku expects from the keyboard. Open Keymap and a graphical representation of your keyboard will appear. Now just pick up the left Option (Alt) key with the mouse and drop it on the left Command key. They will exchange places onscreen. Now you can use the same key combinations on Haiku that you are used to on the Mac to cut, paste, copy, exit programs etc. on Haiku. Just remember to save your new keymap and it will automatically become your new default.

People used to the Windows/Linux standard should be able to use the same trick to switch their Ctrl and Alt keys around.

Of course, one day, when Haiku Rules the World, we will all have to retrain our fingers …

UPDATE: when you apply this tip, all the menu shortcuts change to CTRL instead of ALT. They still work as expected, though.

Posted in Haiku, Interface

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