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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC Apps
I recently checked out the awesomeness of VNC, using OSXvnc and Chicken of the VNC to be able to use my desktop machine from my wife's laptop on a different floor (when, for example, my baby prevents me from going downstairs to the desktop). Everything installed and connected very easily (once I remembered to open the VNC port in the Mac firewalls), but any text I typed was coming out as complete gibberish.

My wife and I both use the Dvorak keyboard mapping. After a bit of playing around, I found out that the mapping turns out to not be reversed if you "apply" it twice. So one of the keyboards had to be switched to QWERTY (which is effectively the "identity" mapping, in mathematical terms). Said differently, in a pseudo-mathematical phrasing, keyboard mapping over two computers interacting via VNC go as follows:
  • Dvorak * Dvorak = Gibberish
  • Qwerty * Dvorak = Dvorak
  • Qwerty * Qwerty = Qwerty
[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
  • Currently 1.33 / 5
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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC
Authored by: fitzage on May 26, '05 11:37:46AM

This is correct. Remote Desktop, however, uses the keyboard layout on the target computer.

It's nice to see my wife and I aren't the only Dvorak users around.

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Dvorak spouses
Authored by: Lectrick on May 26, '05 11:47:35AM

There are not one but TWO sets of married couples who both use Dvorak?

I have a hard-enough time getting my girlfriends to not use AOL, much less get them on Dvorak... wow.

In /dev/null, no one can hear you scream

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Dvorak spouses
Authored by: tjnugent on May 26, '05 05:14:23PM

The scary (as in "too geeky" scary) story is in how my wife and I found out each other used Dvorak.

We were both in grad school (~late 1996), and had just started dating. One night, we were using the Unix "talk" program (sort of like a real-time IM) to chat while at different ends of campus. I happened to notice that the typos (and deletions) she made were ones you'd see if you were using Dvorak instead of Qwerty. I pointed it out, and she admitted she'd started on Dvorak when teaching herself to type in college.

Now, after 6 years of marriage, we're happy that our household is Dvorak only. Except, of course, when parents or visitors come over and want to use a computer...

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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC
Authored by: Dennis Groves on May 26, '05 12:37:01PM

I am with Lectrick -
I am lucky if I don't have to hold *someone's* hand everytime they need to email something let alone use the Dvorak keyboard...

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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC
Authored by: galaher on May 26, '05 12:58:22PM

I too am a Dvorak user that had this problem. I've posted a couple of AppleScripts I wrote to help deal with this. They have not been cleaned up for general use, (Results are written to a message in a quirk of what I was doing at that time), but they might be useful and could provide a good starting place for anyone wishing to use the idea. They can be found here.

The gist of it is in this applescript list that maps Dvorak against Qwerty:

set translation_record to {
    {dvorak:"'", qwerty:"q"},
    {dvorak:",", qwerty:"w"},
    {dvorak:".", qwerty:"e"},
    {dvorak:"p", qwerty:"r"},
    {dvorak:"y", qwerty:"t"},
    {dvorak:"f", qwerty:"y"},
    {dvorak:"g", qwerty:"u"},
    {dvorak:"c", qwerty:"i"},
    {dvorak:"r", qwerty:"o"},
    {dvorak:"l", qwerty:"p"},
    {dvorak:"/", qwerty:"["},
    {dvorak:"=", qwerty:"]"},
    {dvorak:"a", qwerty:"a"},
    {dvorak:"o", qwerty:"s"},
    {dvorak:"e", qwerty:"d"},
    {dvorak:"u", qwerty:"f"},
    {dvorak:"i", qwerty:"g"},
    {dvorak:"d", qwerty:"h"},
    {dvorak:"h", qwerty:"j"},
    {dvorak:"t", qwerty:"k"},
    {dvorak:"n", qwerty:"l"},
    {dvorak:"s", qwerty:";"},
    {dvorak:"-", qwerty:"'"},
    {dvorak:";", qwerty:"z"},
    {dvorak:"q", qwerty:"x"},
    {dvorak:"j", qwerty:"c"},
    {dvorak:"k", qwerty:"v"},
    {dvorak:"x", qwerty:"b"},
    {dvorak:"b", qwerty:"n"},
    {dvorak:"m", qwerty:"m"},
    {dvorak:"w", qwerty:","},
    {dvorak:"v", qwerty:"."},
    {dvorak:"z", qwerty:"/"},
    {dvorak:"\"", qwerty:"Q"},
    {dvorak:"", qwerty:"E"},
    {dvorak:"P", qwerty:"R"},
    {dvorak:"Y", qwerty:"T"},
    {dvorak:"F", qwerty:"Y"},
    {dvorak:"G", qwerty:"U"},
    {dvorak:"C", qwerty:"I"},
    {dvorak:"R", qwerty:"O"},
    {dvorak:"L", qwerty:"P"},
    {dvorak:"?", qwerty:"{"},
    {dvorak:"+", qwerty:"\}"},
    {dvorak:"A", qwerty:"A"},
    {dvorak:"O", qwerty:"S"},
    {dvorak:"E", qwerty:"D"},
    {dvorak:"U", qwerty:"F"},
    {dvorak:"I", qwerty:"G"},
    {dvorak:"D", qwerty:"H"},
    {dvorak:"H", qwerty:"J"},
    {dvorak:"T", qwerty:"K"},
    {dvorak:"N", qwerty:"L"},
    {dvorak:"S", qwerty:":"},
    {dvorak:"_", qwerty:"\""},
    {dvorak:":", qwerty:"Z"},
    {dvorak:"Q", qwerty:"X"},
    {dvorak:"J", qwerty:"C"},
    {dvorak:"K", qwerty:"V"},
    {dvorak:"X", qwerty:"B"},
    {dvorak:"B", qwerty:"N"},
    {dvorak:"M", qwerty:"M"},
    {dvorak:"W", qwerty:""},
    {dvorak:"Z", qwerty:"?"}

Hope that helps

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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC
Authored by: MtnBiker on May 26, '05 10:06:45PM


The joy of MOH comes through again. The beauty of this hint was the idea of using the laptop to use the desktop. My new house has led me to use my laptop more (two stories instead of one), but mail and NetNewsWire get checked twice since I access them on both machines. Obviously it never occurred to me to do it this way. I did access some files from the desktop.

Hermosa Beach, CA USA

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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC
Authored by: MaxMarino on May 27, '05 08:38:49AM

Love Dvorak.

And it adds to security. Ever thought that when you input your password you could do it safely even with casual lookers around?
And if they do not know how to switch keyboard layout your machine is practically unusable.

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Dvorak keyboard remapping in VNC
Authored by: Izzard on May 27, '05 10:53:40AM

My iBook is set to Dvorak at home and my work PC is also set to use Dvorak. When I use VNC to connect to my iBook, I just use the Windows XP "language bar" to change to Qwerty for the VNC client and everything works fine, as say.

Actually, I use the Mac layout called "Dvorak-[Cmd]". This is a fantastic keyboard layout that temporarily reverts to Qwerty when the Cmd key is held down. This is a good thing because the position of common shortcuts (cut, paste, etc) are in sensible places for Qwerty keyboards, not sensible places for Dvorak. I just have to bear in mind that this feature does not work over VNC. When I'm using the 'double-translation' method, as outlined in this hint, the Alt key triggers my Mac's Cmd key but I have to press the correct key on the Dvorak layout (e.g. B for cutting, R for printing, etc), unlike when I'm sitting at the Mac.

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not quiiite gibberish. and um. what's the hint?
Authored by: joelreid on Aug 31, '11 01:12:04PM

For me, the characters that appear on the remote machine are not quite gibberish. It's just a confusing (though predictable) remapping. Hit the local dvorak 'S' key and remotely out pops an 'O' because the second key in the home row in qwerty is 'S', which is the position of the Dvorak 'O' key. My brain can't do it full speed, but I've slogged through a couple tedious sessions.

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz yields

The mental process I use to get the correct text to go through is to imagine what text would appear on the screen if I were to absentmindedly type my text in Dvorak on someone's qwerty keyboard, then I can take that intermediate 'gibberish' and type it verbatim in Dvorak to have my original intended text appear (shoot me!). So, for example, typing 'Hello World' in Dvorak on a querty keymaped computer would yield 'Jdpps <soph'. If I type that mess in, over on the vnc server out pops 'Hello World'.

All of that aside, I don't quite get this hint. "If you're a Dvorak person and the bugs in vnc will not permit correct typing, change yours or both back to qwerty and it'll work again." Sorry but, er, um... where's the hint?

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