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"Polish Windows" bugs...

It was interesting to read the comments about the use of the right Alt key in Polish windows. I think that you will find that this is much more common than you think and so probably is the bug.

I'm using a Finnish keyboard at the moment and it also has uses the right Alt key for special characters. In fact it has it's own name, "Alt Gr". You will find that key or something similar on most European keyboards.

For the Finnish keyboard, since there are several extra letters in the Finnish alphabet "äöå", this frees up some keys for those letters. So to produce characters such as "@£$€" you need to use the Alt Gr key.

From a programmers point of view it was very confusing for me to move from a normal English keyboard to a Finnish one because all of the normal programing punctuation keys are in a different place :-(.

Jody Fanning
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

On the German keyboard the following symbols are produced using the Alt Gr (right Alt) key:


especially when programming, you use some of them rather a lot

But was the pure fact that the right Alt key was used to get some symbols the reason for the bug or was it just a special key combination that did not work as suspected?

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

For the record: ff I remember correctly, in many apps AltGr is the same as Alt+Ctrl (but not when used in conjunction with DEL :) )

Duncan Smart
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

I believe that last statement is true. BTW, spanish keyboards use the Alt Gr key to generate \|@#}[]{ symbols.

Leonardo Herrera
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

I'm the one who reported the "Polish Windows" bug to Joel.

The reason for the bug seems to be that CityDesk binds the Save command to Alt+Ctrl+S, and the Add Link command to Alt+Ctrl+L.
On a system with the Polish keyboard layout, Alt+Ctrl+L and Alt+Ctrl+S are needed to type national characters (as well as Alt+Ctrl+A, C, E, N, O, X, and Z).

This is not so much the "Polish Windows" bug as the "Polish keyboard layout" bug. I actually use the US version of Windows with multilanguage support installed.

I think I may be able to work around the problem temporarily by writing a small application which installs a systemwide hook and intercepts the WM_KEY message before it reaches CityDesk.

Tomasz P. Szynalski
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

The use of Alt-Ctrl-letter for keyboard shortcuts with international keyboards is a documented issue, although it's not visibly documented anywhere that most developers would read.

For example, see:
"ALT GR Madness: Shortcut Keys for International Users of Windows-based Applications"

Or, see the "Keyboards" paragraph at the end of the article: (which even specifically mentions the Polish keyboard)


Philip Dickerson
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

thanks philip! that will be helpful.

Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Some Intel display driver pinches AltGr+L,
also if you does not specify this combination directly.
workaround: turn off usage of shortcut keys in advance settings of this software.

Ryszard Humin
Thursday, April 15, 2004

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