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    Copy paste is still horribly ‘broken’. I guess <Cmd>C isn’t a thing on Linux and <Ctrl>C has a different meaning in terminals, so I can get with that. And I guess there are tricky/valid historical reasons for having two different clipboards, but for the end user, it’s just shit not being able to copy in one app and paste in the next if you closed the former.

    I’ve moved between Windows, Linux, and macOS in my career with enough time to really get used to each, and the mac approach of using cmd for UI shortcuts is just a superior choice for this reason. It pains me that this isn’t possible in Linux.

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      Haiku (and, I suppose, BeOS back in the days when I did not even have a computer) went in the right-ish direction of using Alt for everything GUI. It’s sad to see Linux GUIs to be influenced by Windows so much.

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        Another added benefit of using cmd for UI shortcuts is that it frees up the control key for Emacs style shortcuts. The fact that macOS supports these out of the box is one of my favorite features.

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          MacOS also makes it easy to remap Control to the correct key position (aka the so-called “caps lock” key, which has inexplicable prominence on most modern keyboards).

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            The same goes for Linux (console) and ‘Linux’ (X11 etc). Keys can be remapped more or less at will, if you want to use AltGr or Alt as a ‘command’ key you’re free to do so. The main problem here is that everyone and his dog will end up using a different strategy, e.g. I use a lot of Shift-Left_Alt-X combinations for launching sessions on different hosts while those same combinations might do something totally different on your systems.

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              It’s not impossible on Windows either but there’s no built-in way, instead you have to hack the registry or use 3rd party tools.

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            Even if I do say so myself, since I wrote it, I use appmodmap to dynamically remap the keyboard depending on the application. Then I can still use my Mac muscle memory on a Mac keyboard with my Talos II.


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              How’re you finding the Talos II? I laugh when I see “a price that won’t break the bank” on their site, but I still desperately covet one.

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                Well, yes, the sticker shock, but I like it a lot. Very little is missing of what I need a computer to do, performance is well within the Intel ballpark, and it satisfies my personal goals of more owner control and materially supporting viable alternatives to x86.

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            It pains me that this isn’t possible in Linux.

            This is possible, the WM I use (i3, and now sway) supports setting a modifier key. IIRC the default is the ‘windows’ key.

            Linux is the kernel, and there are a lot of desktop environments and window managers that run on Linux…

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              People say “Linux” to mean much more than the kernel. Don’t be That Guy.

              I’ve been using Linux for 20 years, trust me it ain’t that simple. Yes you can set some nonzero percentage of UI shortcuts to use another modifier, but it will not be comprehensive. There will always be one more thing that doesn’t behave correctly, death by a thousand papercuts. Linux is simply not capable of making a sweeping change like this in a comprehensive way.

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                What you refer to as “That Guy” is, in fact, “GNU/That Guy”…

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                  People say “Linux” to mean much more than the kernel. Don’t be That Guy.

                  Sure, but if you make ridiculous generalizations like “Linux cannot do XYZ”, then you need to be more specific about the userspace you used… because most of the time XYZ can be accomplished on a Linux-based userspace.

                  Linux is simply not capable of making a sweeping change like this in a comprehensive way.

                  I disagree. This is a userspace problem, and if the right person were motivated to solve it, it could be solved in some UI toolkit, etc. Will all distros adopt it? Who cares, there are different distros that are all different for a reason.

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                    you need to be more specific about the userspace you used

                    No, I don’t because it literally doesn’t matter. The fact that there are a multitude of UI systems to choose from, that don’t share a unified system of configuration, is the crux of the problem. There is no way to enforce any HIG standard in a Linux UI.

                    I disagree. This is a userspace problem, and if the right person were motivated to solve it, it could be solved in some UI toolkit, etc.

                    Great, what about all the other toolkits? How are you going to generalize this solution to work with all graphical programs?

                    You don’t. It’s fundamentally impossible on Linux.

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                Select with left mouse button, paste by clicking the mouse wheel. No keyboard needed.

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                  The point OP is making is not that it’s easy to copy and paste, but that in macOS you have two “layers” of keyboard shortcuts. Most application shortcuts will use Command (Cmd+C to copy, Cmd+C to paste, Cmd+T to open a new tab, Cmd+A to select all, etc), leaving Control to give text commands (Ctrl+A to go to the beginning of the line, Ctrl+E to go to the end, etc, just like in Emacs).

                  In theory, this should also be possible on Windows and Linux by using Control and Alt, but in these OS almost all shortcuts use Control, reducing the amount of key combinations that an application can use as shortcuts.

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                    Many window manager allow defining and using extra modifier keys.

                    On a side note, modifier keys are proven to be slower than sequential keypress sequences and also more difficult to remember.

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                    A keyboard is very often much faster and accurate than a mouse.

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                      Not necessarily, with the obvious exception that literally typing is certainly faster with a real keyboard than an on-screen keyboard, but the task of choosing an option is probably always faster on a mouse.

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                        We’ve done a cool $50 million of R & D on the Apple Human Interface.

                        The original Ask Tog piece was published on 1989, and the quoted study may have been done some time before that. It needs to be asked how relevant that study is, especially when that study can’t be either found or replicated.

                        Further, it is unclear whether the quoted study address the improvement when user performs the same action multiple times as to make it a finger memory.

                        Here is a more recent study (2014), which shows that keyboards are fastest for often used commands while toolbars are better for infrequently used ones.

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                    FWIW I think it will be. With Canonical & Redhat saying “Gnome is THE desktop” I think you’ll see better across the board integration of things like this.

                    I don’t love that they chose Gnome (KDE fan :) but I AM happy they chose a horse. Maybe if they can make Gnome better enough, I’ll stop caring :)

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                      I hope you’re right, but I’ve been using GNOME since the 1.x days and I’m not holding my breath.

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                        It’s a matter of money and man hours, that’s why I think things will change for the better. Open source is not free. It takes go juice to evolve in positive ways.

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                      The USB HID standard actually provides (see https://www.usb.org/sites/default/files/documents/hut1_12v2.pdf, search for “Keyboard Copy”) for a usage code that means copy (and friends). So you could in theory create a keyboard that has shortcuts for copy/cut/paste, universally.

                      I say in theory because I have no idea if all operating systems handle it properly.

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                        I actually have an old Sun Microsystems keyboard that has separate keys for cut, copy, paste etc.

                        here’s a picture of a similar one (though not identical to mine close enough) https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sun+microsostems+keyboard&t=ffab&iax=images&ia=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Fxahlee.info%2Fkbd%2Fi%2Fkb%2Fsun_keyboard_left.jpg )

                        doesn’t work great on Windows though. it works, just not amazingly.

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                          Wow, that’s wild. It even has a button for giving folks props on forums. Sweet!

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                            wait, how can it work less than completely? Does it copy and not paste? copy only sometimes?

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                              I worded that poorly, the extra keys require a separate driver install on Windows or they will do absolutely nothing. On Linux at least the key presses are forwarded to programs, even if they don’t know how to interpret them.

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                        Sorry to be grouchy, but these articles are always the same: an OSX user griping that Ubuntu isn’t exactly the same as OSX. Always the same nitpicks, too: “I don’t understand X11 copy/paste!”; “My proprietary Apple hardware works best with the proprietary Apple OS!”; “The default, generic Ubuntu configuration doesn’t fully utilize my hardware out of the box!”, etc.

                        I’d love to see one of these where the author chooses an out of the ordinary system config (anything but Ubuntu, anything but Gnome and KDE) or where they actually try to understand and explain why things are different.

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                          I think this is a good article, actually – the author does offer concrete examples of how they’ve made life easier on Ubuntu.

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                            The author writes a detailed post making it easier for people to consider switching to free software, and you can only find faults with it? That’s not very constructive.

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                              I don’t think it’s unfair or unconstructive to point out that this article is rehashing a bunch of old talking points.

                              It’s great that people are switching to free software, but there’s little value in each person writing an article about their particular case. IMO, of course.

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                                About half of the post is something I’d write myself after a project like this - a bunch of commands used to install software. It’s nice it has value for others.

                                It’s a bit unfair to complain about the post author, they didn’t submit this post here…

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                                  Here now so fire at will! Someone pointed me here and sent me an invite :)

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                                    Nah, I’m good with the post :D

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                              For what it’s worth I did link to two articles that explain about the copy/paste issue. As for the other points of critique.. I don’t think I’m guilty of those, except for writing yet another post about switching to ubuntu article. This one was a long time coming though. Started on it many months ago :o

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                              it’s just shit not being able to copy in one app and paste in the next if you closed the former.

                              The statement is not correct. Linux has long solved this by implementing clipboard managers. Whether or not you have one depends on your chosen Desktop environment; GNOME and KDE come with a clipboard manager active by default. If the OP uses something different, he’ll have to install one.

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                                You’re correct, I do mention further down the article how I resolved this problem too however. I do think Ubuntu should make this default behavior. Having two clipboards is very unintuitive to me, my mom, and probably more folks :)

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                                  I can’t speak to Gnome’s clipboard manager, but KDE’s default manager has options to let you keep the two clipboards synced, so they act like one.

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                                    I find it very handy to have two clipboards, most of the time I don’t think about them, second nature, but sometimes I take advantage of having two things copied at the same time.

                                    However, I readily admit that I see many colleagues struggling with “getting” that you can copy/paste without using keyboard shortcuts. It irks me to see someone right-clicking and choosing “Copy” or “Paste” from a context menu - if you are using the mouse, use the buttons!

                                    It makes sense to me that “the mouse picks up one thing” and “the keyboard stores another”. It must be a habit (never used Windows or macOS in anger myself).

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                                  I had to switch from Ubuntu to MacOS a year ago for a contract. The user experience was horrible! Nothing worked like I am used to and the default install was missing a ton of useful things.

                                  I now have a new job where I’m back on Linux, and I’m much happier.

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                                    “Nothing worked like I am used to” is not really a statement about macOS, though—that would be the case pretty much regardless of which OS you were switching to or from. Which specific aspects of the user experience did you think were horrible?

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                                    I invested in a screen with high DPI, but it’s not ‘Retina’, and the fonts don’t render like they do on macOS. It seems like a small thing, but 4 weeks in, I never would have thought I still sometimes feel as though my eyes are dry and almost literally hurting :thinking: Did Steve Jobs spoil/ruin me for life?

                                    It seems like a small thing, but on Linux (and heck, even Windows) non-latin character sets are pixelated and hard to read. Even for latin character sets, Linux looks significantly worse. :/

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                                      Nah, kerning and font display on Windows are pretty darn nice, and I have to wonder if some of the author’s complaints don’t originate with the Dell XPS13 specifically.

                                      I bought a high end Alienware gaming laptop and find the display to be beautiful. YMMV.

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                                        Really? I use Windows at work and Linux at home, and I find Windows’ font rendering consistently sub-par. Being relentless with ClearType tuning improves it a bit, but it’s never as good as just the default settings under Gnome.

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                                          Perception is a funny thing. Brains are different.

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                                              SUPER interesting link! Explains a lot as to why I find Windows font rendering very readable.

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                                          It did get a lot better after I upgraded to Cosmic, I updated the article to reflect that. Still no feel like I had on mac though, are you doing anything special?

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                                            You’re not gonna ever get something that feels like the Mac.

                                            For as much of a tire fire as the Mac has been lately it still has one thing going for it which may be hugely important to you or not at all - every Mac app still conforms to the basic HID guidelines. Cmd-c copies, Cmd-v pastes. Everywhere.

                                            It’s really the only platform that does that. Windows does it to a lesser extent. Linux doesn’t do it at ALL. Yet.

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                                        I spent the most money I ever did on this MacBook Pro, and it’s also the worst machine I ever had because the keyboard breaks down

                                        🔥🔥🔥and also 😭😭😭so true

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                                          Debian developer here.

                                          • Configuring all sorts of unofficial repositories in APT is dangerous and absolutely not recommended. If a repository suddenly adds libraries at the higher version that what you have installed APT will have no other choice than pulling them on the next apt-get upgrade. The new lib might break things.
                                          • Unofficial packages can still run code as root during the install and break things
                                          • curl sudo bash is even worse
                                          • With unofficial repositories you are also trusting 3rd party entities to provide security updates

                                          What you can do instead is:

                                          • Install extra applications in directories in your home
                                          • Optionally run them in a sandbox like firejail
                                          • Where possible, consider using packaged applications instead
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                                            I recently switched from using my macbook as my primary workstation to a desktop pc running Linux. I’ll admit, I’ve been a Linux user since the 90’s and my career has been in Operations so this hasn’t been a ‘brutal’ switch. Its also not the first time I’ve used Linux as my desktop.

                                            I will say, copy & paste is wonky and I haven’t devoted any effort to resolving this, but I’m sure the Archlinux Wiki will set me straight.

                                            Personally I find modern desktops too noisy, filled with buttons, notifications, and stuff I don’t care about, so I use i3. At any given time you’ll find Chrome (work), Firefox (personal), urxvt, emacs, and weechat-slack running on my desktop.

                                            ‘dunst’ handles the few notifications I want pushed through, I have that tied to gcalcli that runs via cron to alert me for meetings.

                                            ‘rofi’ is my quicklauncher. Its kind of like Alfred.app, you can hook it to scripts etc. I have simple shell scripts that will launch zoom with the right meeting-id’s for my ‘usual’ meetings.

                                            Archlinux is fantastic though, and AUR fills the gaps when I do need to install something like Zoom, or the actual Slack client (which I do run, for slack video/calls to pair-program, it weirdly performs better than zoom).

                                            As for Linux on a mac.. Its always going to be a lost cause; its too much of a walled garden. Anything other than MacOS is going to be subpar on that device. Just go to ebay and pickup a Thinkpad for <$200 and install a SSD.

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                                              A bunch of the points raised in this article are why I switched to PC thinking I’d be running desktop Linux as my daily driver, but instead have pretty much switched to Windows 10. I still run a Linux partition and love it, but for “Get outta my way I’ve gotta do some work” the Windows 10 + WSL experience is pretty darn smooth.

                                              Also, my prior Linux install ate itself during a botched dist-upgrade. I picked Kubuntu last time, I’ll likely try mainline Ubuntu this time for exactly the reasons the author cited - huge user base.

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                                                Same thing happened to me. Selling my MacBook after I was really impatient to use Linux with i3 as my daily driver. I installed Win10 on other SSD, but it stuck as my main daily driver OS, while I boot to Linux on the other drive when I want to do something specific where it has better use case. But I just can’t say anything bad about Windows tbqh, it works. Which is funny thing to say since I was an Apple user for past 12 years. Up until the point when I jumped ships I came to realization how much more productive I am on this new system. Apple and it’s whole ecosystem are in such a sad state from the perspective of pro/power user.

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                                                There might be some idea behind the X-Windows way of copy & paste but I always found it clunky. However, this was easily fixed by using a clipboard manager and syncing the different clipboards so now this hasn’t been an issue for 10+ years if not more.

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                                                  I expected something like huge complaints but this is sensible. Regarding things like the clipboard: I’m surprised to see this problem as I specifically had to disable this clipboard manager from KDE on my KUbuntu due to password managers.. So if KDE already has this per default I’d expect Ubuntu to also have this. I wonder if the OEM installation really was a default one?

                                                  Yes hardware can be a pain. I directly went to a linux-device-vendor and got my laptop there. Even running with an hybrid GPU stack (nvidia/intel) now, although nvidia can be a real pain to upgrade. For the audio stuff you may also try pavucontrol (and pavucontrol-qt here on KDE). I tend to enjoy its UI more for settings audio options.

                                                  For email I switched to KMail when I left Windows 7, it has its quirks but support per-account profiles that set the email appendix, encryption (build in PGP) etc. But as most of my stuff it’s KDE software, which can be a no-go for some people.

                                                  You didn’t list anything for backups so I’ll recommend one: BackInTime (with KDE; gnome, .. frontends)

                                                  I’ve never got experience with apple because at the time I wanted a new laptop, apple started hard-soldering RAM/SSD.

                                                  Since moving away from windows (7) for my work I’ve never looked back now and find my windows desktop to be annoying.

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                                                    I understand about the keyboard, but there is a workaround until Apple puts out models with solid keyboards again. I bought a perfect-condition used 15” 2015 model for €800 a couple of months back. I don’t understand sinking that much time into getting something kinda-working when you’re running a business.

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                                                      Or, and stay with me here, Windows?

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                                                        If I was a rational being, yes : ) MS worked hard to alienate me in the Ballmer days tho. One day i’ll get over it. Hopefully by the time BashOnWindows (or however it is branded these days) supports GPU/Cuda, and similar not-quite-linux issues have been solved.

                                                        BUT then there’s ads and surveillance? How are people okay paying for an OS but then later the company also squeezing even more money out of you after the transaction by selling your attention/screenestate/privacy?

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                                                          | How are people okay

                                                          They don’t.. Or at least I’m not. I’ll have to see what my w7 desktop will become in the future. As of now I’ve moved myself and my family including grandparents completely to KUbuntu. This started when microsoft gave you the fear of upgrading to windows 10 over night. (So there was the possibility of getting calls from your parents that everything’s changed or worse broken..)

                                                          They were used to firefox + thunderbird + libreoffice before, so it wasn’t that of a big jump, in terms of daily software.

                                                          And I got away from any modern days scam mail software, as they tend to only work on windows. (and require things like hidden file extensions and auto-executing JS files on click..)

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                                                          Absolutely. Or Linux, but where there is less work required to get it running smoothly.

                                                          I’ve been perfectly productive on Linux on a Thinkpad many times, with the tweaks required to get them running smoothly being fewer and easier over the years. My last one was a t450s with KDE Neon and the only tweak I needed was to make the fingerprint scanner work. I would have lived without it.

                                                          Windows is fine if you don’t mind the amount of UI churn, the flow-breaking updates, the adverts(!) and the malware threat. I don’t mean this snidely - it really is fine.

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                                                          For my work I kinda need as much speed as I can get as it increases my productivity near-linearly for many jobs (like video encoding tests). So I’m kinda stuck on the (Apple) high end and who knows what Apple ships next and for how much. It felt like a liability. I feel I’m ensured of a fast machine forever now.

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                                                            I’m curious about the world of external GPUs. I don’t have a use for them myself, but they seem to be a thing now. Does your video encoding get a lot faster with a ‘proper’ desktop GPU with big fans?

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                                                            You may very well be buying a ultrabook if you’re already going for a specific vendor and a stable OS.

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                                                            Another day, another “Mac to Ubuntu” post.

                                                            Also, regarding:

                                                            There are other ways but if I want to type an é, out of the box, I have to type: U 00e9, and then, that doesn’t not work in my code editor. […]

                                                            The author can try using the Compose key.

                                                            Edit: My bad, that’s already been linked to in the paragraph. In any case, for those who aren’t aware…

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                                                              Yeah sorry, seen a few more. This one was a long time coming though. Started on it many months ago :o And thank you for sharing about Compose! I will look into that more.

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                                                                The compose key is really neat - you can even make a ~/.XCompose file and add your own shortcuts.

                                                                I’ve got one for 👍 (because I can’t be bothered to choose emoji with the mouse or from a list) and ✓, ☐, ☑, and for fun 🤸.

                                                                Info on how in https://askubuntu.com/questions/47496/how-can-i-add-a-custom-compose-key-sequence

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                                                                  No worries! I hope I didn’t come off as rude – your article was well laid out, I must say.