Virt-manager keymap problem on OS X

virt-manager keymaps on OS X
Published on Wed, 17 Nov 2010 20:12:26 +0000 in Uncategorized. 13 Comments
I’m not crazy about the lack of a definitive package manager for OS X. I tried for about a day to work with Open Source on OS X, then I built an Ubuntu VM. I’ve been using ssh with X forwarding when I need a graphical interface; OS X has reasonable good built in support for X11. However, others have found that the keymap and meta keys are broken. While I got a kick out of “After some time I discovered that the number 8 is interpreted as Return,” I did need to log in to a guest to do some debugging.

The accepted solution to making Ctrl+Alt release keyboard focus correctly in the vncviewer spawned by virt-manager is to create a .Xmodmap file in your home directory with this content:

clear Mod1
keycode 66 = Alt_L
keycode 69 = Alt_R
add Mod1 = Alt_L
add Mod1 = Alt_R

I killed the X server by focusing on it and choosing quit, and it seemed to be read the .Xmodmap file okay without my needing to restart the entire system.

The workaround for the broken keymap pointed me in the right direction, but I wasn’t happy with the solution. A little digging around the libvirt domain xml reference pointed out that you can add a keymap as an attribute to the vnc element in the domain xml definition. Use ‘virsh edit’ to edit the domain XML and modify the vnc line to add this attribute so it looks like so:

I destroyed the guest and restarted it and the keyboard worked now without any “8 is now enter” trickery. I’m pretty sure you can choose any keymap from /usr/share/qemu/keymaps. If you use vmbuilder you will want to add this to /etc/vmbuilder/libvirt/libvirtxml.tmpl as well.


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