The relationship between the 'United States - International' keyboard layout and the Euro....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/05/23 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/05/23/10308554.aspx


No, the title of this blog is not any sort of riddle!

Almost no Dutchman (or for that matter Dutchwoman!) ever voluntarily uses the "Dutch" keyboard.

You know, this keyboard:

Dutch Keyboard Layout - BASE state Dutch Keyboard Layout - SHIFT state Dutch Keyboard Layout - ALTGR state Dutch Keyboard Layout - SHIFT+ALTGR state

They really don't like it.

Not even a little bit.

Not even at all!

What they do largely prefer is the United States - International keyboard.

This keyboard.

 United States - International Keyboard Layout - BASE state United States - International Keyboard Layout - SHIFT state United States - International Keyboard Layout - ALTGR state United States - International Keyboard Layout - SHIFT+ALTGR state

Simple enough, right?

Well, I've been listening to people working in this space for a while.

For about 13 years now, though modifying it for how mind-numbing the complaints might be it seems more like 113 years.

They complain about how weird it is to have a United States - International keyboard layout attached to Dutch!

Sometimes customers get weird about it after our UI kind of thrust it at them when it used to be so often hidden to them, as I mentioned in Keyboard UI in setup hoist by its own petard?.

But anyway, people got over it each time.

Some of them still never saw it, but knew that was the layout they liked.

Anyway, if you looked across all places people use Windows, the % of locales using it according to SQM data is interesting, for several reasons:

Location % of use
Brazil 21.4
United States 19.5
Netherlands 15.8
Poland 5.7
Mexico 4.2
Romania 3.8
Czech Republic 3.2
Hungary 2.5
Argentina 2.1
Colombia 1.9
Other 19.9

 First of all, it is ironic that of all of those locations have the UnitedStates - International keyboard specified as one of the LOCALE_SKEYBOARDSTOINSTALL except for the two locales located in that region -- English - United States and Spanish - United States.

 Second of all, is interesting that such a large percentage of the people who include it explicitly are in the US, though one may have to run other queries to eliminate the many machines located in the US that run with other language settings to decide whether that number is truly interesting or not.

Third of all, of those top ten countries that use this keyboard, only half of them (and 31% of them) are regions that are even remotely likely to care about the Euro, at ALTGR+5:

United States - International Keyboard Layout has a Euro on it!

Though of course 31% is certainly enough to make it worthwhile!

Of course given what the blog about I referenced pointed out, we may never know how many people learned of this through >= Vista OOBE or Windows 8, who may never have minded changing the name before the UI made it so prominent....

Just imagine if they'd listen back in 2006 and fixed that bug! :-)


Jan Kučera on 23 May 2012 7:38 AM:

It's the US International keyboard which I really don't like. All the dead keys, especially, (...quotes?). Nice to see there are people who use it, probably the thing I actually hate is that somebody decided that this keyboard should be installed automatically, as you noted. The same with default locale keyboards still being installed if one during the setup explicitly chooses a QWERTY variation instead, for example.

Anyway the data you present are from installations which have it by default installed (I guess Vista and later)? That distorts the numbers a bit, doesn't it? Do you have numbers before this decision? Or numbers of people who uninstalled it? :-)

Michael S. Kaplan on 23 May 2012 7:50 AM:

The default install stuff is XP and later, actually. :-)

Lars Viklund on 24 May 2012 2:46 AM:

I wish that the AltGr-deadkey variant (altinter) was shipped with Windows. It's a boon for some of us European programmers, but sadly suffers from being very hard to get approved by IT in many companies.

It moves the dead keys into the AltGr side of things, so that when you sit there programming or on a remote shell, you don't end up with things like »äpple"« and »ñame/bin/foo«.

X.Org already ships a similar layout, surely you can't be worse? :D

JW on 27 May 2012 9:21 AM:

As a dutch individual, I can express my continued frustration with keyboards and their layouts, both in software and hardware. A certain major manufacturer refuses to sell 'United States International' style keyboards, meaning that I can't possibly get the product I want from them unless I import. Single-row ENTER key with Backslash above it, wide left shift with nothing to the left of the z, proper insert/delete keys in the 6-button isle above my arrow keys... sadly all that is too much to ask for. :(

Throw in the frustrations you outline above, and the fact that at least half the programs I use daily do not play well with AltGr+5, and the Euro becomes too frustrating to use. In practice, I simply type 'EUR 100,-' or even '100 euro' when in discussions. At least that _works_ and doesn't kill my train of thought.

Doug Ewell on 29 May 2012 12:15 PM:

And now, on The Unicode List™, we have someone wanting to know the position where INDIAN RUPEE SIGN will be added to the "U.S. English" keyboard. I don't know if he meant specifically Microsoft's, but maybe. The guy is located in Pune. It shows that despite their names, and despite the presence of local keyboards, the "U.S." keyboard layouts are in worldwide use.

Michael S. Kaplan on 29 May 2012 10:51 PM:

I'll answer *that* question, in a blog tomorrow!


referenced by

2012/05/30 The date we'll add the INDIAN RUPEE SIGN to the 'United States - International' keyboard layout

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