2. Configuration

2.1. Keyboard setup

Linux provides 2 ways to set up your keyboard. At the console you can use loadkeys and under XFree86 you can use xmodmap.

2.1.1. Console

To use the keytable for a Belgian keyboard you can use loadkeys be2-latin1 or loadkeys be-latin1. The only difference between the two is that be2-latin1 adds support for twosuperior and threesuperior (keycode 41) and grave (keycode 43).

Usually loadkeys is started at boottime from the scripts located somewhere in /etc/rc.d. Different distributions handle it differentely. But most distributions have a simple program (like kbdconfig in Red Hat, install-keymap in Debian or yast in SuSE) to change the scripts.

2.1.2. XFree86

To set your keyboard properly under XFree86 you've got more choices. By running Xconfigurator (or a similar program) a config-file for XFree86 is created (with some standard content). This file is called XF86Config and is usually located in /etc or /etc/X11

Make sure (and change otherwise) that something similar to this is given under the Keyboard Section.

        Section "Keyboard"
                Protocol        "Standard"
                XkbRules        "xfree86"
                XkbModel        "pc101"
                XkbLayout       "be"
        EndSection
          

If you own a 'microsoft' keyboard (or the less-known penguin keyboards ;p) you can enable those extra 3 keys by changing the "pc101" into "pc104". (I use the extra keys as meta-keys in my windowmanager so some shortcuts doesn't conflict with the internal ones of my wm).

To get the AltGr key to work under XFree86 simply add in the Keyboard Section:

                RightAlt        ModeShift
    

To get some key-combinations working under X11, you might want to change in file /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols/be:

        key <AD11> {      [ dead_circumflex,       diaeresis      ],
                        [     bracketleft                       ]       };
        key <AC11> {      [          ugrave,         percent      ],
                        [      quoteright                       ]       };
        key <BKSL> {      [              mu,        sterling      ],
                        [       quoteleft                       ]       };
        key <AB10> {      [           equal,            plus      ],
                        [      asciitilde                       ]       };
    
by
        key <AD11> {      [ dead_circumflex,  dead_diaeresis      ],
                        [     bracketleft                       ]       };
        key <AC11> {      [          ugrave,         percent      ],
                        [      dead_acute                       ]       };
        key <BKSL> {      [              mu,        sterling      ],
                        [      dead_grave                       ]       };
        key <AB10> {      [           equal,            plus      ],
                        [      dead_tilde                       ]       };
    

Some people prefer to use a 'Compose'-key to enter their special characters, like:

        Compose-' e    =>    
        Compose-/ o    =>    
        Compose-c ,    =>    
        Compose-c o    =>    
        Compose-s s    =>    
    
The solution is to enter xmodmap -e "keycode xx = Multi_key" or xmodmap -e "keysym yy = Multi_key" where 'xx' is the keycode or 'yy' the keysym of the key you choose to be the 'Compose'-key. (use xev to get these values)

Alternatively you can add keycode xx = Multi_key to your ~/.xmodmaprc. This way it happens automagically.

2.2. Display and applications

Some applications have to be compiled as 8-bit clean to work well with the European characterset. Others like to be told in advance.

2.2.1. Using the ISO-8859-1 font in console

You can load the ISO-8859-1 font by typing the following in console:

        setfont lat1u-16.psf
        mapscrn trivial
        echo -ne '\033(K'
    

To be able to use , , or in console, you might want to add these to your ~/.inputrc:

        set meta-flag on
        set convert-meta off
        set output-meta on
    
(This must be done for every user, if you want this to be default for all users you can either add this file to /etc/skel/ or you could add these lines to /etc/inputrc and add the following to /etc/bashrc, export INPUTRC=/etc/inputrc)

Note!: This is only useful to programs that use readline (like bash)

Also set the following environment variables:

        LC_CTYPE=iso-8859-1
        SYSFONT=lat1u-16.psf
        SYSTERM=linux
    

2.2.2. Support for the Euro symbol

Since Europe had to invent a new character, the Euro, there's a new standard. It's called ISO-8859-15 (aka Latin-9 or Latin-0). To add support you need both a new font and new keymaps. This is part of every major distribution nowadays, if you have an older distributions you probably need a newer console-tools package.

The changes in the keymap-file consist of the following lines:

        keycode  18 = +e        +E      currency
        keycode  46 = +c        +C      cent
    
And the following environment-variable should be set:
        SYSFONT=lat0-16.psf
    
to make sure you're using the right font.

2.3. Time zone

Since Belgium is located in the Central European Time zone (aka MET) which (in the winter) is equivalent to the Greenwhich Mean Time plus 1 (GMT+1), you can simply link /usr/lib/zoneinfo/localtime/MET to /etc/localtime symbolicly like:

        ln -sf /usr/lib/zoneinfo/MET /etc/localtime
   
or
        ln -sf /usr/lib/zoneinfo/Europe/Brussels /etc/localtime
   
This automagically sets Daylight Savings (which is GMT+2 in the summer).

Note!: Different distributions have different paths, zoneinfo can be located in /usr/share or such...

Another note!: Red Hat uses a tool called timeconfig, SuSE uses yast

To change the CMOS clock and then synchronize the system time with the CMOS clock, do something like this:

        hwclock --set --date="Feb 25 03:38"
        clock -u -s
   
If your clock is set to local time (which is discouraged but if you also run broken OS's, you must), you can do:
        hwclock --set --date="Feb 25 04:38"
        clock -s
   
[Noticed the 1 hour difference ? ;p]

If your computer has Internet-access you can use NTP (Network Time Protocol) to keep your system clock in sync. One way of doing this is by starting ntpdate from cron by adding

        05 0 * * * root /usr/sbin/ntpdate -s ntp.belnet.be > /dev/null 2>&1
   
to your /etc/crontab. Check the ISP-information below to see if your ISP has a NTP-server available.

2.4. Locale support

Not much programs support locale yet, if you want to know more about locale or how to write your own programs to support it, check: [put the damn url here ;p]

Be aware that locale makes it harder to resolve problems as less people can help you !! You might understand a problem when it's in technical English, but what if it's translated in some obscure Dutch ?

2.4.1. Dutch

To enable support for the Dutch locale in Belgium on a system with locale support you just have to set the following environment variables:

        LANG=nl
        LANGUAGE=nl_BE
    
Try nl_BE.ISO_8859-1 if nl_BE does not work.

2.4.2. French

If you want French locale support in Belgium, set the following environment variabels:

        LANG=fr
        LANGUAGE=fr_BE
    
Try fr_BE.ISO_8859-1 if fr_BE does not work.

2.4.3. German

If you want instead German locale support in Belgium, set the following environment variabels:

        LANG=de
        LANGUAGE=de_BE
    
Try de_BE.ISO_8859-1 if de_BE does not work.

2.4.4. Walloon

For Walloon locale support you can find files and information at: http://www.linuxi18n.org/locales/walon/. To use it set:

        LANG=wa
        LANGUAGE=wa_BE:fr_BE
    
Try wa_BE.ISO_8859-1 if wa_BE does not work.

2.5. Native language support and codepages

These options add support for the Belgian characterset and codepages. If you'd like to have these, compile a kernel with these options put on. They only apply to some filesystems (FAT-based, ISO9660, ...).

        < > Codepage 850 (Europe) 
        < > NLS ISO 8859-1  (Latin 1; Western European Languages)  
        < > NLS ISO 8859-15 (Latin 9; Western European Languages with Euro)
   
Located in Filesystems > Native Language Support

If your kernel is a modular kernel that came with your distribution (=you never compiled a kernel before), then you might want to type:

        insmod nls_cp850
        insmod nls_iso8859_1
        insmod nls_iso8859_15