There are, in theory, several ways to input text on pmOS already. These are:
- Matchbox-keyboard - a lightweight on-screen keyboard for X11.
- QT virtual keyboard, used in Plasma Mobile.
- Onboard - an on-screen keyboard for touch screen or for mobility impaired users.
- Hardware keyboards, e.g. on devices such as the Nokia N900 or the Droid 4.
- Bluetooth and other wireless keyboards (if support exists for Bluetooth devices).
This page intends to track these as well as other, novel, input methods.
Conventional on-screen keyboards
Ubuntu used to come with Onboard, which is actually designed not for tablets, but as an assistive technology in conjunction with an external pointing device.
Maliit is a cross-platform text-input system based on client-server model. Input methods are supported by plugins, which means it is quite extensible.
Other options might include:
- GOK (The Gnome on-screen keyboard), which apparently has won awards.
- Florence, a virtual keyboard for X11.
- xvkbd, a virtual keyboard for X11, with word completion and a few other features.
The Orbit Writer is an economical, portable, Bluetooth-enabled, Perkins-style keyboard. It is optimized for 6-dot braille and has a number of additional buttons.
GKOS is an implementation of a chorded keyboard that is semi-open. A chord for a musician is a combination of three or more notes that create a new note; the chorded keyboard is analogous to this in that key presses are created by combinations of a few key presses, albeit the GKOS method only uses single button presses or a combination of two presses.
Unfortunately, GKOS's apps are not open-source. However, the standard itself is straightforward to implement either in hardware or software, and is entirely suitable for handhelds and PDAs.
According to its website, GKOS has been superseded by ComboKey. The ComboKey seems to apply some of the ideas behind the GKOS system to a user using the device single-handedly in a tight area.
The Jelly Comb Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard B003 is an economical, portable, folding keyboard with a built-in touchpad. It supports both Bluetooth and USB.
Graffiti and Quikwriting
Graffiti was the single-stroke handwriting system for Palm OS. It was the subject of a lawsuit from Xerox, which Palm lost.
Quikwriting was a research project that produced an alternative to the Graffiti method of text input. There is an open-source implementation called QWO. It is a little awkward to use, but it does work rather well, once one learns. See https://mrl.nyu.edu/~perlin/demos/quikwriting.html.
Other relevant links regarding Graffitti:
Similarly to Quikwriting, Cellwriter is the product of a research project. It is an accomplished handwriting system:
Dasher is a keyboard designed for when one only has a single pointing device and one wants to work quickly. To that extent it may be especially convenient for devices with styluses. It is free software and is designed also for accessibility to the impaired.
- GNOME's design page concerning on-screen keyboards has some of these and a few other items, not all of them freely-licensed.
- Literki keyboard, a keyboard for X11 that overlays over the current window, which may be convenient for handhelds, but may not be very accessible.
- Enscrebi input method, similar to CellWriter.
- GridPad input method, yet another grid-based handwriting system.
- OpenMoko Wiki's overview of input methods in a wish-list format.
- Vogel and Baudisch, 2007 - 'Shift: A Technique for Operating Pen-Based Interfaces Using Touch'.
- 'Keyboard Debate' article on OpenMoko Wiki