Left-handed Haiku

As the name suggest, I’m left-handed and I must admit I’ve some difficulties in using some features in Haiku. These are not Haiku flaws per se, but I was wonder if perhaps there’s some way to improve this a bit.

I’m not talking about swapping the mouse buttons (I’m ok with the dominant behaviour here), but the key shortcuts, which are one of the most effective feature in Haiku to me.


  • Lot of modern keyboards (expecially those high end) have the Fn button to access the media keys instead of the scondary Win button on the right
  • Lot of modern laptop keyboards have the above and/or missing right CTRL key


  • One must use the modifiers on the left if she wants to activate a shortcut with one hand.

This is terrible for left-handed becuse u must travel the right hand along all the keyboard and hold the keys in an unnatural position for the fingers (think on which finger you use to hold, for example, the SHIFT key) to perform that operation. Don’t u agree?

I was wondering if someone else has found this situation and have some ideas on how to improve this…

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I guess how one feels about where the keys are depends on perspective… coming from the Mac side of things, I always make sure the Alt/Cmd key is the command key, and there’s usually one on each side :slightly_smiling_face:

But… in talking about a PC keyboard, I can say Alt sits in the same position and afaik, there’s also usually two of them (one on the left and right side of the spacebar… although some international PC keyboards have the AltGr key there), and imho my theory is this could be why the Be designers chose it; if one looks at where command sat on a Power Mac (or clone) back in the day and where Alt sits for the Intel releases, it’d almost make sense. But who knows? It’s just a theory and might just be sheer coincidence because I still have to flip option and command over every time. But anyways… first solution is maybe leaving Alt as the default system key to help solve this?

The second is would the Super (i.e. Windows, ‘start’, or ‘meta’) key work? I know most PC keyboards (on laptops at least) only have the left side one, but on large keyboards, I have spotted two before – so that might be an alternative? It’d probably be awkward though since that’s usually right smack in the middle of Ctrl and Alt (or further over if there’s a function shift (fn) key, as you mentioned). Otherwise, I don’t know what can be done about your dilemma with the control (Ctrl) key, honestly… that same struggle would be faced by those running ReactOS, QNX, KDE, Gnome, etc. since they default to all main shortcuts using this key. Wish I could think of something more… but there’s only a few major modifiers by the spacebar to pick from. And I can see where getting used to Ctrl 90% of the time then needing to make the correction to another key every time (if you left Alt enabled or switched to Super) on a Haiku box would be annoying; mainly because I do this in reverse whenever I’m on a Linux box, etc… I have to remember I can’t reach for Cmd and know the feeling.

Also… on the left-handed OS topic, I guess the thing I’ve always thought about (both on Haiku and the Mac) is the position of the cursor… especially on BeOS because it’s an actual hand always pointing the wrong way :smile: It’d be nice if the hand could flip to either direction with a radio button or check box in Input or something. Hey guys… maybe a feature for beta3? :wink: But… I guess the right glove has been a part of the OS since the '90s, so… oh well :smile:

Crazy part is I always use mice with the default buttons (right button under my index finger) even though I could reassign the numbers in Mouse (now Input in Beta2) :smile: Mainly because every computer with a mouse I sit at that’s not mine I usually swap hands with and it makes life easier to use mice as is.

Same here. Frankly speaking, I’ve never encountered a left-handed actually swapping the mouse buttons. Neither the GenX or GenY (when that feature was generally not available on OSes) nor GenZ or Millennials

Eh I think the silly gen divisions vary by regions of the world – in the States, I’d be a millennial and the zoomers are the upcoming generation, but to me, people are people. It’s kinda silly really… afaik I think people were split into groups for the sake of marketing music, products, etc. Guess I haven’t met too many leftie mice users so I always thought it was weird to not swap the buttons like it was an expected default :smile: Every OS on the PC I’ve looked at including the various Unix DEs have a mouse option on it so idk… so I guess I never noticed the feature not being there, well, except on the old school Macs :slightly_smiling_face: So that’s kinda cool we have the no swap trait in common.

Hoping the keyboard post helped… again, not really sure how to solve it? Hoping something works out for you on it :slight_smile:

It did! And, as you also said, the real problem is the missing right Super key. I see no real solutions here (one could be to decouple the function of the right SHIFT key, but it’s really…well…weird I guess)

Said that, I’m a GenY not a boomer :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure what Haiku can do to fix missing keys on your Keyboard. Get yourself a better keyboard? If the Fn key is recognized as a normal key, you could edit the keymap by dragging things around to improve the situation a bit and reassign things as you please. But in some cases it is a special key handled only by ACPI and then it’s a problem to solve with the laptop manufacturer and not with Haiku…

By the way, I’m left-handed as well, and I considered buying a specific left-handed keyboard with arrow keys and keypad on the left. But I did some research, and found out that these keyboards are in fact not that great. Indeed, keyboards have way too many things on the right hand currently, but this balances out if you have your mouse on the left side. As a result of that, your hands already travel far less from the mouse to the keyboard and back.

As I said, I don’t consider this a defect in Haiku. I only said that in my typical usage I suffer this more in Haiku because of the shortcusts scheme (some of them using 2-3 modifiers concurrently) and because in Haiku using such shortcusts in highly incentivated (Stack and Tile, for example).

Thus I was just wondering if perhaps someone else left-handed lilke me had found a good configuration to work with it.

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What about right aligned title bars in default for left hand users?

Why? I’m left handed but I still read text left to right.

That should be saved for RTL language interfaces.