Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

Ubuntu Global Keybindings for Gnome (Quantal)

I recently re-installed Ubuntu on my desktop computer.  It was about 8 years since the previous full install.  I'd kept it up to date with latest Ubuntu upgrades.   I wanted to change the hard drive configuration and put most of the os on a solid state drive.  There was also a lot of cruft that I had installed over the years and a clean slate would get rid of tons of software I no longer use.

The re-install worked very well.   The most noticeable improvement was boot time.  Partly from the solid state drive and partly from the removal of all the extra software.  I didn't lose much in the process.  I have a script that installs software that I use that isn't included by default.  The script also tweaks a bunch of settings.  But, the one thing that I lost was my global key bindings.

I had done a bunch of work to customize what my keyboard keys do.  Even going so far as to use the label maker to re-label many of the keys on my keyboard.  I like having all the apps that I use most open via a single keyboard button press.  I also customize it so that the media buttons control my preferred music player (audacious).

As I was going back in and setting these buttons back up, I was hoping for an import/export feature.   I couldn't find one, so I started looking at where Ubuntu stores these keybinding settings.  Most of the information out there on the web was completely out of date.  In 2008, keybindings were barely supported.  In 2011 keybindings were well supported and stored in gconf.   Now they are stored in dconf.

I did write a perl script to import and export keybindings.  It can be found attached to this Ask Ubuntu question:   Note that my answer to this question is not the accepted answer.  The accepted answer is out of date, still looking at gconf settings.

I also filed two bugs against the Gnome Control Center (the GUI that allows you to customize your key bindings): gnome-control-center keyboard shortcuts does not manage keyboard power button keybindings properly and gnome-control-center keyboard shortcuts GUI does not allow multiple key bindings to be assigned to a single action.

I also completely rewrote the wiki article about Ubuntu Keybindings.  It had information from 2008 when keybindings were barely supported:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *