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low level keyboard mapper for linux and windows, with advanced caps lock and shift swapping behavior

This is the only keymapper I am aware of capable of implementing this layout, which I call Unix Programmer's Dvorak, which has been my daily driver since 2014:
Unix Programmer's Dvorak

The Problem

If you ever have mapped keys on linux, you know that there is the console keymap (loadkeys) and the X keymap (setxkbmap), also things like SDL and Virtualbox grab the input directly and respect no maps. Lastly I want to revert to QWERTY when holding ctrl so ctrl+c works just like normal, without remapping all programs to ctrl+j. Linux keymaps cannot do this either.

The Solution

  1. Grab a keyboard device directly so only we can read events from it.
  2. Create a new keyboard input device with uinput, this looks identical to any other keyboard device to anything running on the box.
  3. Read input_events from the real device, map them, send them to our created device.

This solution is what rusty-keys implements, it works in ttys, in X, in Wayland, in virtualbox even running windows or whatever, on SDL games, it will work literally everywhere, because rusty-keys just creates a regular keyboard.

How to run

When ran, it will read a keymap.toml configuration file, refer to example and tweak to suit.

Usage: rusty-keys [options] [device_files...]

    -h, --help          prints this help message
    -v, --version       prints the version
    -c, --config FILE   specify the keymap config file to use (default:

when ran without specifying input devices, it maps all currently connected keyboards, and watches /dev/input/ with inotify and starts mapping any new keyboards that are plugged in forever, until you kill it: rusty-keys

or you can specify one or multiple input devices, and it will run until all are disconnected, then stop:
rusty-keys /dev/input/event0 or rusty-keys /dev/input/event0 /dev/input/event2

An example systemd service is in systemd/rusty-keys.service, enable it to have mapped keyboards all the time.

How to install


AGPLv3 for now, message me if you have a problem with this


Technically this is a re-implementation of a previous python program I had been using for 3 years previously.