The pinnacle of typing excellence. The Type 4 setups were kinda squishy, the Type 5's were a step in the professional direction, but these new Type 6 keyboard and mouse combinations are just the bomb. You'll never understand until you type on one.

As I sit here in a public computer cluster, I notice a rather interesting phenomenon about this Sun Type 5c keyboard: all of the keys can "flip up." Just lift the back part of the key slightly, and it will stay in that position until you push hard enough to restore it to position 0. This works with all of the keys that do not have LEDs in them, namely Caps Lock, Compose, Scroll Lock, and Num Lock. It also does not work with the space bar.

Leaving a public workstation with over 100 keys flipped up can lead to very amusing episodes. Primarily, it just makes it very awkward to type.

I'm not sure if it's really specific to Sun Microsystems, but I've only seen it on their keyboards: I
absolutely hate that thrice-damned layout variant that has the Control and Caps Lock key switched! It's absolutely braindead! In addition, those keyboards usually don't have the Backspace key where you expect it (top right corner of the main key block), instead the apostrope is there, with the backspace key beneath it. What kind of moron comes up with a keyboard layout that has two of the most often used keys in the wrong places?

OK, i've been told that the layout with Ctrl to the left of A was apparently standard before the advent of the IBM PC. Well, times have changed, and nowadays 95% of all keyboards have Ctrl on the lower left corner. Clinging to the old layout is just stupid when almost all users will have to use the new one most of the time.

I've seen a couple of nodes decrying the perils of working with keyboards with keys in unexpected places, however if you think that's bad consider the plight of someone such as your everyday Sun system administrator. Allow me to paint the picture:

In order to manage Unix systems one should ideally have an X based workstation or at the very least a PC X server available. Most people opt for a workstation such as a sparc 5 or an ultra 5. These have a multitude of keyboard layouts, the most common being a type 5 keyboard - the one where a mouse plugs into the underside of the keyboard.

Now, in any decent sized organisation the said sysadmin will also have to use windows to at least read company email - typically using an application such as lotes or Outhouse.

So we have two keyboard layouts on the desk. Those who have sufffered this before will know what I'm talking about. The backspace and caps-lock keys are in not-quite-the-right-position.

This is a cause of great frustration when switching between working on a Sun and working on a PC.

Thankfully, there's now a Sun keyboard that is laid out the same as your regular 101 keyboard - no windows keys, of course.

The "Unix" layout (Control key next to A, Caps Lock out of the way below the Shift key), actually makes sense for most Unix users who use Control far more often than Caps Lock. Sun does make PC layout keyboards for those who can't convert, and USB keyboards for those who want to convert their Macs & PC's. (I use a Sun Type 6 USB Unix layout keyboard on my Mac at home so I don't have to
worry about switching between a Sun keyboard and a PC keyboard since I use Sun keyboards all day at work.)

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