Fast user switching a pain with a Mac Mini
March 24, 2008 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Fast user switching on a Mac with a custom keyboard layout

I have a family set up with a new Mac Mini. Re-use of existing monitor, keyboard, mouse - everything works as advertised save colour calibration of the monitor.

The problem is, in order for the keys (e.g. the forward slash, tilde and @ symbols) to be correctly mapped to the keyboard button labels, I found it necessary to download and implement a custom keyboard layout. This works great - but as soon as fast user switching enters the fray, things go to pot. The appearance of the login window changes the current input language to the system default (Apple's version of a UK keyboard) and it doesn't then reset to the user's preference on login.

I have logged this as a bug with Apple but I have no idea how long they'll take in fixing the bug and I'd really like my users to be able to fast user switch. It's much more convenient for them.

Does anyone have any idea how I can get around this? Possibly with DoubleCommand? Is that a global or per-user solution, and is it still giving kernel panics under Leopard?

Thanks a lot!
posted by dance to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Could you make an Applescript to change the keyboard and then set it as an item that runs upon login? (You can set Login Items under "Accounts".)
posted by 1 at 5:35 AM on March 24, 2008

Response by poster: would those scripts run on fast-user switch login or just initial login, though?
posted by dance at 5:42 AM on March 24, 2008

Set it to be a Login Item (Prefs->Accounts->Login Items) for each account.
posted by mkultra at 5:52 AM on March 24, 2008

Response by poster: 1, mkultra: login items don't seem to apply to fast-user-switches, which is what this problem is unfortunately centered on. Thanks anyway
posted by dance at 6:10 AM on March 24, 2008

Ah, crap, my b.
posted by 1 at 7:21 AM on March 24, 2008

I haven't messed with this, so take it with a grain of salt, but if the custom keyboard layout has been installed into your user directory, it's only going to be available from that user's account. Is this the case? If so, you should try copying it into the analogous location in the /Library directory--stuff installed there is applied to all users.
posted by adamrice at 7:29 AM on March 24, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, it's already in there. The keyboard is available and usable by all users, it's just that a bug in Leopard means fast-user-switching disregards the user's preference.
posted by dance at 7:41 AM on March 24, 2008

Bear with me here. Having them press Ctrl Option and Space to switch keyboard layouts is not an option on your mac? I use a custom layout on my computer because they don't have a layout which mirrors the exact foreign keyboard I learned on and it takes .2 seconds to switch the layout after login.

The only other option I can think of is to get rid of the standard layout so that there's only the custom layout for the computer to choose.
posted by fantasticninety at 9:00 AM on March 24, 2008

Response by poster: I already have it setup that they can press control and space to change layout. But it shouldn't be necessary. I've just been offered a solution, so I'll write back if it works!

Deleting the standard layout was something I thought about, but it isn't possible from the GUI of a standard administrator account. Maybe possible from root.
posted by dance at 9:06 AM on March 24, 2008

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