If you hate the CAPS LOCK key, please read this!
by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/10/06 18:53 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/10/06/798751.aspx
Some of you who are regular readers (an odd term, since I tend to consider anyone who reads this blog with any kind of consistency to actually be somewhat irregular!) may recall how I have talked about the latent hatred that some people have in relation to the CAPS LOCK key in the following posts:
Well, as you can imagine, the tempers of folks who can actually express strong emotions like hatred for a key on the keyboard are such that they will keep find ways to pop up, as Björn and ReallyEvilCanine did in the comment thread of the unrelated post Why Michael's cool keyboard doesn't work.
I figured should clarify things a bit. I will stick to the facts, and try to state them in a way that even the most diehard CAPS LOCK key hater can probably agree with:
- The CAPS LOCK key exists on almost every regular keyboard and typewriter, and has done so for at least the last 50 years;
- In most scripts/languages that have uppercase and lowercase distinctions, keyboard layouts tend to use the CAPS LOCK key as a way to shift between the two states that last longer than the SHIFT key does;
- In some keyboard layouts, the CAPSLOCK key has slightly different functionality that is supported by MSKLC, such as SHIFT LOCK support and SGCAPS support;
- MSKLC has complete and overridable support on a per-key, per-shift state basis to decide whether the CAPS LOCK is equivalent to the SHIFT key being pressed, and therefore can actually be used to render the CAPS LOCK key harmless on all keys;
- MSKLC automatically adds the attribute that causes the CAPS LOCK to be equivalent to the SHIFT key being pressed any time the shifted and unshifted keys are in fact case pairs;
- MSKLC has complete support on a per-key basis to allow definition of SGCAPS functionality;
- MSKLC has complete support on a per keyboard layout basis as to whether the ShiftLock feature will be enabled;
- Some people hate the CAPS LOCK key, so much that they might say things like "I just rip the damned thing off every keyboard I own" and more to the point, some of them mean it;
- MSKLC does not support any cross-layout equivalent to this functionality of disabling the CAPS LOCK key always, nor would it really be within its mandate since
How to add such a functionality has been brought up by people who read this blog several times in the past. :-)
- It is really not an internationalization feature, an MSKLC was developed by a team focused on internationalization;
- Such a feature would negatively impact a few of the existing and some of the user-defined keyboard layouts in an irrevocable way and as such it would be inappropriate for MSKLC to do perform a global step on any machine, or to provide an install that would do so.
Hopefully this post will serve as something definitive enough that everyone (including those who think of this key as the CRAPS LOCK or CRAP LOCK key) will understand what MSKLC can and cannot do.
And also what they can and cannot do.... :-)
This post brought to you by Ω (U+03a9, a.k.a. GREEK CAPITAL LETTER OMEGA)
# Björn on 6 Oct 2006 7:01 PM:
Sorry for starting this - I should have known better, especially as a regular readers :)
# Christoph Päper on 6 Oct 2006 7:19 PM:
There are, however, keyboards without a caps lock key, e.g.: http://www.pfu.fujitsu.com/en/hhkeyboard/
# Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Oct 2006 8:40 PM:
Which is of course not a keyboard that would be sold with a typical computer to a typical user -- kind of proves my point. :-)
# Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Oct 2006 8:43 PM:
No worries Björn, it was nice to list all of this information out in one place. :-)
It will also serve as a good test for who is reasonable and who is not....
# Daniel on 7 Oct 2006 12:03 AM:
Why remove the CAPS LOCK? Just make it the control key! http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/Ctrl2Cap.html
# Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Oct 2006 12:08 AM:
One very good reason to not do that is the fact that many people hate the fact that the key is there and they accidentally hit it when they do not mean to.
The consequences of this happening with CAPS LOCK are annoying, to be sure. But the consequences of doing this with the CTRL key can be much more dire!
# Mihai on 8 Oct 2006 12:42 AM:
What I don't understand is the mentality.
Why start a crusade to remove a key from all keyboards?
Maybe I like it, maybe I find it useful. I don't force them to use it, they can disable/remove it, so why the campaing to remove it from my keyboard?
This reminds me about the campaing to make the helmet mandatory for skiers after the Bono accident.
I mean, why do you care if I crash my head into a tree? Do you want a helmet, then use it and let me be (or die :-)
Hapily enough, no law was passed for the helmets.
I nothing will happen to the CAPS key either :-)
So guys, find a more worthy cause!
# Michael S. Kaplan on 8 Oct 2006 12:43 AM:
# charless on 9 Oct 2006 12:43 PM:
The reason that I accidently hit the CAPS key when I did not mean to is because my pinky was looking for the CTRL key. I do not object to CAPS being on my keyboard, I just started typing on computer keyboards when that key was CTRL. On my first computer CAPS was not an issue as the Apple ][ did not do lower case. The //e put the CAPS key in an out of the way place (on the lower right I think). The PC/XT keyboard also had CAPS in an out of the way place on the lower right. All of these keyboards had CTRL next to the A key on the home row. Typical software of the day also suggested the use of the CTRL key. (Anyone remember Wordstar and/or Turbo Pascal?)
Even today with Windows I use the CTRL key way more than CAPS and my typical layout does not have a CAPS key. (Both Left CTRL and CAPS send the scan code for left CTRL into the keyboard input)
So my question is this. On Vista does the registry key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map" still work? My assumption has been that this is below the keyboard layout DLL. Is this true? Will this 'trick' still work in Vista?
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