Get Hotter Hotkeys with LinEAK

Get Hotter Hotkeys with LinEAK

LinEAK turbo charges the whole concept of customizing how your Internet/multimedia keyboard works.

This hack will show you how to adopt the modern equivalent of Hotkeys. LinEAK is a combination of packages, including the main daemon service and several plug-ins. It's a bit quirky and doesn't always launch successfully (at least in this author's experience), but it has support for far more keyboards than Hotkeys. And because Hotkeys hasn't advanced much over the years, it isn't likely to catch up unless someone regains interest in it. LinEAK, on the other hand, is being improved on a regular basis.

As of this writing, you can get Debian packages for some of the programs that make up LinEAK at, and you can get the source code for all the packages from the same site and compile the programs and plug-ins yourself. I compiled my own and it was a cinch. The RPM packages at this site are out-of-date but might be current by the time you read this.

Until that time, you can find a variety of RPM packages for LinEAK designed for Mandrake and other distributions at And you can also search Make sure you have XOSD and XOSD development libraries installed if you want to enjoy the on-screen display feature. [Hack #26] provides more information about XOSD. For example, the volume control shown in Figure is one of the nice features LinEAK shares with Hotkeys [Hack #28] .

LinEAK's on-screen volume display, which is nice-looking as long as you use the built-in volume definitions

The following programs comprise LinEAK as it stands now:

  • lineakd

  • lineak_defaultplugin

  • lineak_xosdplugin

  • lineak_kdeplugins

  • Media Detect

  • lineakconfig

  • Klineakconfig

At minimum, install lineakd, lineak_defaultplugin, and lineak_xosdplugin. If you can't find packages for your distribution, download the source code and then compile and install the programs using these commands (assuming you place your source code in /usr/local/src):

# cd /usr/local/src/lineakd-0.8.1
# ./configure
# make
# make install
# cd /usr/local/src/lineak_defaultplugin-0.8.1
# ./configure
# make
# make install
# cd /usr/local/src/lineak_xosdplugin-0.8.1
# ./configure
# make
# make install

Now log in as a regular user and type the following command to get a list of the supported keyboards:

$ lineakd -l
(The complete list is 3 pages long, this is just the first few lines)
LinEAK v0.8.1 -- supported keyboards:

 [TYPE]        [Full name]

 A4-KBS21        A4Tech Wireless Desktop KBS-21533RP & Office/Multimedia Keyboard
 A4-KBS8        A4Tech KBS-8
 A4-RFKB23    A4Tech RFKB-23
 A4-RFKB25    A4Tech RFKB-25 (KBS-2548RP & KBS-2548RPC)
 ACE-6512UV    Acer 6512-UV
 ACE-TM290    Acer Laptop/notebook Travelmate 290LCi
 ACEAKV12        Acer AirKey V (12 keys)
 ADEL-9805    Adesso EL-9805
 APK7        Apple Pro Keyboard (7 keys)
 BEN-AM805    BenQ AM805

That kind of beats the tar out of Hotkeys support, doesn't it?

Find your keyboard in the list. For example, the code for the Logitech Elite keyboard is LTCElite. Now type this command to create a default configuration file for your keyboard (substitute LTCElite with the code for your keyboard):

$ lineakd -c LTCElite

The -c option creates a default configuration file, lineakd.conf, for the Logitech Elite keyboard and places the configuration file in the ~/.lineak directory. Fire up your favorite editor, and customize this file's settings to your heart's content. Here's a sample configuration I created for my Logitech Elite keyboard:

# LinEAK - Linux support for Easy Access and Internet Keyboards
#  Copyright (c) 2001,2002, 2003  Sheldon Lee Wen <[email protected]>
#                  and Mark Smulders <[email protected]>
# lineakd configuration file
# example key configuration:
#                 play                = "xmms --play-pause"
#                 eject                = EAK_EJECT
# Lineakd supports the following modifier keys:
#    control alt shift mod2 mod3 mod4 mod5

# Normally /dev/cdrom, but UDEV likes /dev/cdroms/cdrom0
CdromDevice = /dev/cdroms/cdrom0
Display_align = center
Display_color = 77FF00
Display_font = "-adobe-helvetica-bold-r-normal-*-*-240-*-*-p-*-*-*"
Display_hoffset = 0
Display_plugin = xosd
Display_pos = bottom
Display_soffset = 1
Display_timeout = 6
Display_voffset = 50
KeyboardType = LTCElite
MixerDevice = /dev/mixer
Screensaver = 
conffilename = /home/nicholas/.lineak/lineakd.conf
keystate_capslock = 
keystate_numlock = 
keystate_scrolllock = 

Arrow = 
Email = "thunderbird"
Favorites = "firefox"
Go = "firefox -remote 'openURL( )'"
Media = "cdeject"
Messenger = 
Mute = "EAK_MUTE"
MyHome = 
Next = "cdplay +"
Play = "cdplay"
Pause = "cdpause"
Previous = "cdplay -"
Search = "firefox -remote 'openURL(,new-tab)'"
Shopping = 
Sleep = 
Stop = "cdstop"
VolumeDown = "EAK_VOLDOWN"
VolumeUp = "EAK_VOLUP"
Webcam = 
iTouch =

Note the use of some built-in commands, such as EAK_MUTE, EAK_VOLUP, and EAK_VOLDOWN. These are far more preferable when figuring out how to configure a command-line mixer to do the same operations. Unfortunately, LinEAK doesn't automatically insert these as the default settings for the Mute, VolumeUp, and VolumeDown parameters (it leaves the definitions empty), so unless you know these generic settings exist, you might waste a lot of time figuring out how to create a command to mute your sound driver or change the volume. Well, now that you know they exist, by all means, use them!

Outside of the internal EAK_ commands, the audio CD controls in this example are driven by a command-line package of programs called cdtool, created by a host of contributors but currently maintained by Max Vozeler. You can download cdtool from You can choose any CD player that can be controlled via the command line, but it's nice not to have an actual graphical CD player clutter the screen when all the controls are already on the keyboard.

If you decide to try both Hotkeys and LinEAK, restart your desktop after using Hotkeys. Even if you kill the Hotkeys program, it leaves the desktop in a state that prevents LinEAK from working properly.

You can thank Mark Smulders ([email protected]), the original author, for this fine piece of software. Sheldon Lee Wen ([email protected]) is the current maintainer and developer of the latest versions, and wrote plug-ins from the ground up. Phil Woodland ([email protected]) is the contributions coordinator and maintainer. Finally, Chris Peterson ([email protected]) does the RPM packaging for LinEAK.

     Python   SQL   Java   php   Perl 
     game development   web development   internet   *nix   graphics   hardware 
     telecommunications   C++ 
     Flash   Active Directory   Windows