microsoft natural keyboard 4000 F10/Spell

Marko Vojinovic vvmarko at
Mon Aug 3 22:46:37 UTC 2009

On Monday 03 August 2009 22:06:01 you wrote:
> > First of all, is it a PS/2 or USB keyboard? They are handled differently
> > at the kernel level.
> USB.  I had to buy a USB keyboard because this motherboard conveniently has
> no keyboard plug and my old keyboard didn't appear to work through one of
> those PS/2-to-USB adapters.  The marvels of modern technology.

Tell me about it... :-@

> "showkey -s" gives me no output at all when I press F10/Spell.

This is because it's USB. From man showkey:

"The raw scan codes are available only on AT and PS/2 keyboards"

>From man setkeycodes:

"USB keyboards have standardized keycodes and setkeycodes doesn’t affect them 
at all."

The "THEORY" section of man setkeycodes is a good read, btw.

> "showkey" alone gives me keycode 432.

Ok, so then the button does have a keycode, after all. One more reason not to 
trust xev... <sigh> :-) Did you try to put it into xmodmaprc and see if that 

If it does, problem solved, if not, further digging is required, this time at 
the level of X. And X adds a whole new layer of complexity to keyboard 
handling. If it doesn't accept keycode 432 for whatever reason, someone more 
knowledgeable might be able to help, but I wouldn't bet on it too much.

> It appears that I have a keycode but no scancode.  I don't know enough
> about this to understand the implications.

It's ok, since the keyboard is USB. The kernel seems to have something like a 
reverse lookup table for keycode-to-scancodes queries if it uses a USB 
keyboard. It seems the table is not complete, but it shouldn't be used by 
anything anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem.

The problem, if present, is with X, ignoring or swallowing this particular 

> The keyboard seems to remember the last state it was in between reboots,
> i.e. if F-lock is on and I reboot the computer, it's still on afterward. 
> So that's one good thing.

Indeed. :-) If there was a way to control it from software (like num-lock 
status can be controlled), it would be even better. Did you happen to try that 
button in showkey? Does that produce a keycode? /* Somehow I doubt it does. */

> This keyboard actually does have a little indicator light down at the
> bottom along with the caps-lock, num-lock  and scroll-lock indicators.

Consider yourself lucky. One of my keyborads doesn't have it, and I'm 
completely blind as to what will happen when I press F4 or such. As I am not 
the only one using the system, refraining from touching F-lock key doesn't 
help much.

Best, :-)

More information about the users mailing list