Bounding Unicorns

Diktor keyboard layout

This is a keyboard layout for Russian language that is based on the same principles as Dvorak layout.

Diktor is much easier (in terms of ongoing effort) to type than ЙЦУКЕН. After learning Diktor I came to the conclusion that ЙЦУКЕН is a worse layout than QWERTY, which given the heritage of them both is not that shocking I suppose.

I mirrored the original page and the Windows installer for Russian layout from Geocities before they shut down. Sadly I did not mirror the trainer program files or installers for the other layouts.

Mirror of the original site

On Unix-like systems it is very simple to use Diktor. All that is needed is an addition to XKB symbols file.

Append the contents of this file to your /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/ru or /usr/local/share/X11/xkb/symbols/ru.

There is a symbols.dir file under xkb directory. I have not needed to modify it. Your mileage may vary.

Activate the layout with:

setxkbmap ru diktor

Assuming you have a normal window manager, you can use any keyboard shortcut for switching between layouts. I use:

  • F2 - US Dvorak (setxkbmap us dvorak)
  • F4 - US Qwerty (setxkbmap us)
  • F8 - RU Diktor (setxkbmap ru diktor)

I used to use Dvorak and Qwerty concurrently for a couple of years because of vi's usage of U/H/K/L for navigation. I have never used ЙЦУКЕН layout after learning Dvorak, it was simply too painful and annoying.

The only issue I have with Diktor is that it puts vowels on the same set of keys as Dvorak but in a different order. For example, A in Diktor is where Dvorak has I. I tried shuffling Diktor letters to match Dvorak but was not too happy with the result either.

I also have a "Russian - Dvorak Phonetic" layout file for XKB. I do not remember where I got this from or for what purpose. I don't think I have ever used it. You can get it here if you like.

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