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As you might know (actually not) for the bépo French keyboard variant on Linux there are two choices: French (Bepo, ergonomic, Dvorak way) OR French (Bepo, ergonomic, Dvorak way, Latin-9 only). This can also be seen in the following screenshot: enter image description here

My question here would be: what is the difference between those two options? Is one better than the other? Is there any reason to use one over the other?

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It seems that "Latin-9" refers to the ISO 8859-15 character set. That is, "Latin-9 only" is supposed to exclude symbols which require full Unicode support.

For example, the regular Bépo variant has ə (schwa) on AltGrZ. This symbol does not exist in ISO 8859-15, and is therefore not included in the "Latin-9" variant.

You can open /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/fr to see the definitions.


Or at least that's supposed to be the case. In practice it doesn't seem to work as intended.

Since bepo_latin9 is based on bepo and simply removes characters instead of adding, it seems the overrides do not fully take effect and the extra symbols are not excluded – Z still has schwa on level 3 and level 4, and so on.

I used GNOME's "Show Keyboard Layout" button in the taskbar's keyboard menu – it displays the layouts as they're ultimately interpreted by libxkbcommon, and as you can see the differences are very minor.

gkbd-keyboard-display -l $'fr\tbepo'

fr+bepo

gkbd-keyboard-display -l $'fr\tbepo_latin9'

fr+bepo_latin9

Disregard the weird Caps Lock position – that's my local configuration.


So which one to use? Well, practically all systems can cope with Unicode nowadays, so just go with the regular bepo layout. Don't bother with bepo_latin9.

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