Japanese keyboard DevTerm

Hi. DevTerm looks amazing. I love my Tandy Model 102 and I’m really looking forward to DevTerm.

Just wondering. Will there be a version of DevTerm with a Japanese (Kana) keyboard/Japanese support for those of us who write in Japanese? I saw in one of the photos there was text from the opening chapter of Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book.


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You can change the keyboard layout, and welcome to the community.

you should be able to change the layout in software

Hello, welcome to the forums! :slight_smile:

This is very similar to this topic.

If you’re wanting a specific physical key set for Japanese, that could be different. It might be a matter of having one custom ordered/printed. Given how modular things are, and the fact that it is coming from an Asian market, I wouldn’t be surprised to see alternate keys with different characters printed on the keys.

Although, given the name, I’m fairly sure the device is aimed at a developer/coder, where you would usually be typing commands with a standard key/character set.

I doubt there would be much use in using the devterm for web browsing, messaging etc. A mobile phone is better at that nowadays.

What I think would be beneficial would be a Dvorak layout, given its diminutive size. I can’t imagine having a good time trying to use two hands; but single hand use would be ideal.

@moderators - do you think it’s worth merging this topic with the one quoted above? They’re practically the same.

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Apologies I didn’t realize there was a similar thread.

Setting the layout to Japanese in Debian would be nice because it reduces the number of keystrokes required (by 2x or 3x depending on the character) to type anything in Japanese. Japanese keycaps would be extra nice, because I don’t think I would be able to touch type on the keyboard based on the pictures I’m seeing and will need to look down at the keys. But maybe looks are decieving and it is touch-typeable.

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I’ll keep the English keyboard layout the way it is and use fcitx and mocz to type in Japanese… no additional hardware needed…

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I don’t think they will be able to meet this demand due to their lack of development resources, but please don’t think that all Japanese people want a Japanese layout.

I prefer the English layout.

I’m certainly not demanding. I’m extremely grateful they are making such an interesting device and would be excited if there was a Japanese keycaps option, etc.

A long time ago I worked in an old-school Japanese office and was taught to touch type on a wapuro with a kana keyboard and it just sort of stuck. Of course I can just enter romaji and convert to kana, but directly typing is faster for me. I accept that this isn’t that common anymore. I’m just old.

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If DevTerm used a generic keyswitch such as Cherry MX, you could have replaced the keycaps with Japanese printed keycaps yourself, but that seems unlikely given the price of DevTerm.

The remaining options would be to put a sticker with Japanese printed on it, or if the DevTerm keycaps are replaceable, to 3D print the keycaps yourself.

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Yeah. Stickers sounds like a good idea for this, if I can’t find a way to get custom keycaps.

The patent on Cherry MX switches expired a while back, so you can buy very good copies from a few Chinese companies now, affordably. They are not as reliable as German switches, but the Chinese worked round that by making the switches replaceable (they literally just pop in and out of holes in the PCB, so it’s as easy as swapping keycaps) and they chuck a few spare switches in the bag.

I think the devterm keyboard is too small for cherry mx switches. On discord they said that each key is 75% the size of a normal cherry mx keycap.

As a fellow Dvorak typist, I’d be interested in this, but I have reservations about how a small keyboard like this could make it difficult. If you make any progress with this idea, please let me know what your experience is.

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With my big ol’ bear paws, i’d reckon i’ll be using it more like a thumboard. sooo… 2 hands and no fingers. just two thumbs. I’ll bust out my mistel barraco if i feel the need.

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You can fit a 40% Cherry MX keyboard on the DevTerm, which could be released as an optional module, though the height of the keys could be an issue. This has been discussed at length already.

The main argument for fullsize keys was to make typing more comfortable for adults, but the ability to swap the keycaps to support other layouts and languages was considered (by the community).

The DevTerm should ship next month, so I assume the team are currently focussed on that, but it is a modular device, and there is definitely a large percentage of the community/market that want a 40% keyboard (and a substantial chunk, including myself, that will only buy a DevTerm with a proper keyboard), so it’d be an obvious module for them to look at making.

The keyboard would (presumably) be Cherry MX compatible, so you could use any standard keycaps to customize it.

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Kailah chocos are switches I often think about… because they are so low-profile.
On another note, I think the DT KB mimics membrane. I wouldn’t even call it a keyboard. It’s more like a thumb board.


I would love to see someone possibly take the schematics for the keyboard and make one in the layout you described (with 2 switches for the space) fit for standard switches.

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