This is an object lesson in the flexibility provided by two principles of Unix-like operating systems:
1. Everything is a file.
2. Almost every file is human-readable text.
Most important to this project was a corollary to the second point: that which can be read can be edited.
Searching Google for “Dvorak international layout” resulted in me finding Arjen van Kol’s dvorak_intl layout. I liked his layout quite a bit at first, but I found myself still having to access a character map for punctuation I use often—such as the “em dash.” I also noticed that his key layout, at least the Linux version, doesn’t match the illustration on his site.
I began by making his layout match his illustration (I’ll send him an email tomorrow), then moved the Yen symbol, and finished up by adding a nice array of hyphen-like punctuation marks. This layout allows you to enter 160 different Unicode characters without having to move your hands away from the keyboard, but it certainly helps to have a Unicode font (and programs which understand Unicode, which is almost everything these days).
Please Note: The accent grave/tilde key is split into two modes. The characters on the left side, which you get by pressing the key with or without the “Shift” key, are what XKB calls “grave” and “asciitilde.” The characters on the right side are combining characters which can be used with dead key (right “Alt”) to apply these diacritics to any letter.
You can download my new keyboard layout by clicking on this link; installation instructions are provided in the comments at the beginning of the file. Please post in the comments if you want me to write a post detailing how I made this layout.
Version 1.1 Update:
A new version of this layout is available. Please see the release announcement for more information.