The base Serbian Dvorak keyboard layout
The base layout of Serbian Dvorak, as overlayed on an Apple USB keyboard.

Serbian Dvorak

I've taken it upon myself to make a new keyboard layout. It is a keyboard layout for the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, inspired by the Dvorak keyboard layout. The Dvorak layout is a keyboard layout that was invented to alleviate the problems in mainstream keyboard layouts. The primary advantages of the keyboard layout over the usual US "QWERTY" layout are:

  1. the most commonly used letters and most commonly used digraphs (two-letter combinations) are on the home row;
  2. it promotes alternation between the hands, and dissuades words typed entirely with one hand;
  3. stroking moves from the outside of the keyboard towards the inside.

Dvorak is wonderful, but it has one serious problem: it is only useful when typing in the Latin alphabet, particularly English. The patterns studied to create the Dvorak keyboard layout were only based on English.

So, I have created a keyboard layout for the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, which is similar to many other Cyrillic alphabets such as Russian (most letters are common between them). I took Serbian texts from Project Gutenberg and analyzed them for letter frequency. The result is a compromise between providing a true mapping between a Latin letter and its cognate Cyrillic letter (e.g., "d" becomes "д") and keeping true to the original goals of Dvorak. At the top of the page you can see the end result.


Choosing from the preferences pane

I've only written it for OS X but Filip Brcic has nicely written it for X11 (used by Linux, etc.). Sorry Windows users :). Follow these steps to install the keyboard layout.

OS X installation instructions

  1. Download the keyboard layout.
  2. Move that file into either ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts/ (if you wish the layout to be only visible to you), or into /System/Library/Keyboard Layouts/ (if you wish it to be visible to every user system-wide).
  3. You will likely have to log off and log back on, or else the new addition won't be visible in the International preferences.
  4. Open up International preferences. This can be done either by selecting it from the International menu in your menu bar (if you have one), or by selecting "International" from System Preferences.
  5. Switch to the "Input Menu" tab.
  6. Scroll down and you should find "Serbian Dvorak" free to choose :)

GNU/Linux instructions (should work for BSD and anything that uses X11)

  1. Download the keyboard layout.
  2. Move that file to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols.
  3. Either setxkbmap rsdvorak or restart X11 and choose the new layout.

If it doesn't work, you've probably screwed something up :)

More action shots

The shift key is pressed
Serbian Dvorak with the shift key pressed.
The option key is pressed
Serbian Dvorak with the option key pressed.
The shift and option keys are pressed
Serbian Dvorak with both the shift and option keys pressed.