I have an old Dell Dimension 8200 which has a Dell SK 8100 with extra function buttons: E-mail, Internet Home, Search, and Sleep. I never could never get any of these keys to work in Linux… that is until today.
I was in Synaptic Package Manager and typed in keyboard into the Search field. In that list I saw keytouch-editor. I remember reading about that before, but never got around to trying it out. I selected KeyTouch Editor and installed it. KeyTouch can be found in the Control Center or under System > Preferences menu.
I was prompted by KeyTouch Editor to press any of the “extra function keys” which will bring you to a blank interface. All you need to do is enter in the manufacture name and model number of the keyboard. Click the New button in the bottom left, press an extra function key, and either give it a name or choose the name it KeyTouch displays.
I configured all four buttons and three of them work great. The sleep button will not work. For some reason it does not like the Lock Command from the Special Action Plugin menu. I’m think if I knew the line command to initate a sleep or hibernate power save, I can enter it on the program line.
Once your buttons are programmed, click on File and Save As and save the file anywhere you choose (mine is in the root of my profile.) You will be prompted to send your file to the developer if you wish. Although I did it really doesn’t matter. Exit KeyTouch Editor.
But that is only the first step; you need to install KeyTouch to import your keyboard file into your system. I opened Gnome Terminal and entered sudo apt-get install keytouch. Now you can go back to Control Center or System > Preferences and run KeyTouch. The Key Setting tab should be blank (mine are populated due to my settings are already entered.) Select the Keyboard tab and click on the Change button. A new window will open with a list of available keyboards to choose. Click on the Import button and find your new keyboard file. Your keyboard should be available in the list, select it and click the OK button.
Now your keyboard is displayed click on the Key Settings tab. Select each key listed on the left side of the window and verify what action will take place. Once complete, click the Apply and OK buttons to close out of KeyTouch. Now you can try out your buttons. If you programmed them correctly, your assigned programs will open. If not, just go back and modify them.
Another nice thing about this setup, it works on all of my local accounts.
Of course additional information can be found at the KeyTouch Web Site.
I figured out why the sleep / hibernate button was not working. In the Power Management section under ScreenSaver, I had the button set to “Do Nothing.” So of course I enabled the only other option – hibernate. It will hibernate when I press the button, but it has problems when trying to come back. So I set the sleep / hibernate button back to “Do Nothing.”