Content-type: text/html Man page of kb


Section: STREAMS Modules (7M)
Updated: 26 Feb 2004
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kb - keyboard STREAMS module  


#include <sys/types.h>

#include <sys/stream.h>

#include <sys/stropts.h>

#include <sys/vuid_event.h>

#include <sys/kbio.h>

#include <sys/kbd.h>

ioctl(fd, I_PUSH, "kb");


The kb STREAMS module processes byte streams generated by a keyboard attached to a CPU serial port. Definitions for altering keyboard translation and reading events from the keyboard are contained in <sys/kbio.h> and <sys/kbd.h>.

The kb STREAMS module utilizes a set of keyboard tables to recognize which keys have been typed. Each translation table is an array of 128 16-bit words (unsigned shorts). If a table entry is less than 0x100, the entry is treated as an ISO 8859/1 character. Higher values indicate special characters that invoke more complicated actions.  

Keyboard Translation Mode

The keyboard can be in one of the following translation modes:


Keyboard translation is turned off and up/down key codes are reported.


ISO 8859/1 codes are reported.


firm_events are reported.


firm_events containing unencoded keystation codes are reported for all input events within the window system.


Keyboard Translation-Table Entries

All instances of the kb module share seven translation tables that convert raw keystation codes to event values. The tables are:

Unshifted Used when a key is depressed and no shifts are in effect.

Shifted Used when a key is depressed and a Shift key is held down.

Caps Lock Used when a key is depressed and Caps Lock is in effect.

Alt Graph Used when a key is depressed and the Alt Graph key is held down.

Num Lock Used when a key is depressed and Num Lock is in effect.

Controlled Used when a key is depressed and the Control key is held down. (Regardless of whether a Shift key or the Alt Graph is being held down, or whether Caps Lock or Num Lock is in effect).

Key Up Used when a key is released.

Each key on the keyboard has a key station code that represents a number from 0 to 127. The number is used as an index into the translation table that is currently in effect. If the corresponding entry in the translation table is a value from 0 to 255, the value is treated as an ISO 8859/1 character, and the character is the result of the translation.

If the entry in the translation table is higher than 255, it is a special entry. Special entry values are classified according to the value of the high-order bits. The high-order value for each class is defined as a constant, as shown below. When added to the constant, the value of the low-order bits distinguish between keys within each class:


A shift key. The value of the particular shift key is added to determine which shift mask to apply:

CAPSLOCK 0 Caps Lock key.

SHIFTLOCK 1 "Shift Lock" key.

LEFTSHIFT 2 Left-hand Shift key.

RIGHTSHIFT 3 Right-hand Shift key.

LEFTCTRL 4 Left-hand (or only) Control key.

RIGHTCTRL 5 Right-hand Control key.

 Alt Graph key.

ALT 10
 Alternate or Alt key. 

 Num Lock key.


Used to toggle mode-key-up/down status without altering the value of an accompanying ISO 8859/1 character. The actual bit-position value, minus 7, is added.

METABIT 0 The Meta key was pressed along with the key. This is the only user-accessible bucky bit. It is ORed in as the 0x80 bit; since this bit is a legitimate bit in a character, the only way to distinguish between, for example, 0xA0 as META+0x20 and 0xA0 as an 8-bit character is to watch for META key up and META key down events and keep track of whether the META key was down.

SYSTEMBIT 1 The System key was pressed. This is a place holder to indicate which key is the system-abort key.

FUNNY 0x300

Performs various functions depending on the value of the low 4 bits:

NOP 0x300 Does nothing.

OOPS 0x301 Exists, but is undefined.

HOLE 0x302 There is no key in this position on the keyboard, and the position-code should not be used.

RESET 0x306 Keyboard reset.

ERROR 0x307 The keyboard driver detected an internal error.

IDLE 0x308 The keyboard is idle (no keys down).

COMPOSE 0x309 The COMPOSE key; the next two keys should comprise a two-character COMPOSE key sequence.

NONL 0x30A Used only in the Num Lock table; indicates that this key is not affected by the Num Lock state, so that the translation table to use to translate this key should be the one that would have been used had Num Lock not been in effect.

0x30B --- 0x30F Reserved for non-parameterized functions.

FA_CLASS 0x400

A floating accent or "dead key." When this key is pressed, the next key generates an event for an accented character; for example, "floating accent grave" followed by the "a" key generates an event with the ISO 8859/1 code for the "a with grave accent" character. The low-order bits indicate which accent; the codes for the individual "floating accents" are as follows:

FA_UMLAUT 0x400 umlaut

FA_CFLEX 0x401 circumflex

FA_TILDE 0x402 tilde

FA_CEDILLA 0x403 cedilla

FA_ACUTE 0x404 acute accent

FA_GRAVE 0x405 grave accent

STRING 0x500

The low-order bits index a table of strings. When a key with a STRING entry is depressed, the characters in the null-terminated string for that key are sent, character-by-character. The maximum length is defined as:


Individual string numbers are defined as:











String numbers 0x05 --- 0x0F are available for custom entries.


There are 64 keys reserved for function keys. The actual positions are usually on the left/right/top/bottom of the keyboard.

The next-to-lowest 4 bits indicate the group of function keys:



TOPFUNC 0x610 0x610


The low 4 bits indicate the function key number within the group:

LF(n) (LEFTFUNC+(n)-1)

RF(n) (RIGHTFUNC+(n)-1)

TF(n) (TOPFUNC+(n)-1)

BF(n) (BOTTOMFUNC+(n)-1)


A "numeric keypad key." These entries should appear only in the Num Lock translation table; when Num Lock is in effect, these events will be generated by pressing keys on the right-hand keypad. The low-order bits indicate which key. The codes for the individual keys are:

PADEQUAL 0x700 "=" key

PADSLASH 0x701 "/" key

PADSTAR 0x702 "*" key

PADMINUS 0x703 "-" key

PADSEP 0x704 "," key

PAD7 0x705 "7" key

PAD8 0x706 "8" key

PAD9 0x707 "9" key

PADPLUS 0x708 "+" key

PAD4 0x709 "4" key

PAD5 0x70A "5" key

PAD6 0x70B "6" key

PAD1 0x70C "1" key

PAD2 0x70D "2" key

PAD3 0x70E "3" key

PAD0 0x70F "0" key

PADDOT 0x710 "." key

PADENTER 0x711 "Enter" key

When a function key is pressed in TR_ASCII mode, the following escape sequence is sent:


where ESC is a single escape character and "0...9" indicates the decimal representation of the function-key value. For example, function key R1 sends the sequence:


because the decimal value of RF(1) is 208. In TR_EVENT mode, if there is a VUID event code for the function key in question, an event with that event code is generated; otherwise, individual events for the characters of the escape sequence are generated.  

Keyboard Compatibility Mode

When started, the kb STREAMS module is in the compatibility mode. When the keyboard is in the TR_EVENT translation mode, ISO 8859/1 characters from the upper half of the character set (that is, characters with the eighth bit set) , are presented as events with codes in the ISO_FIRST range (as defined in <<sys/vuid_event.h>>). For backwards compatibility with older versions of the keyboard driver, the event code is ISO_FIRST plus the character value. When compatibility mode is turned off, ISO 8859/1 characters are presented as events with codes equal to the character code.  


The following ioctl() requests set and retrieve the current translation mode of a keyboard:

KIOCTRANS Pointer to an int. The translation mode is set to the value in the int pointed to by the argument.

KIOCGTRANS Pointer to an int. The current translation mode is stored in the int pointed to by the argument.

ioctl() requests for changing and retrieving entries from the keyboard translation table use the kiockeymap structure:

struct kiockeymap {
int     kio_tablemask;  /* Translation table (one of: 0, CAPSMASK,
                         * SHIFTMASK, CTRLMASK, UPMASK,
                         * ALTGRAPHMASK, NUMLOCKMASK)
#define KIOCABORT1 -1     /* Special "mask": abort1 keystation */
#define KIOCABORT2 -2     /* Special "mask": abort2 keystation */
        uchar_t kio_station; /* Physical keyboard key station (0-127) */
        ushort_t kio_entry;        /* Translation table station's entry */
        char kio_string[10]; /* Value for STRING entries-null terminated */

KIOCSKEY Pointer to a kiockeymap structure. The translation table entry referred to by the values in that structure is changed. The kio_tablemask request specifies which of the following translation tables contains the entry to be modified:

UPMASK 0x0080 "Key Up" translation table.

NUMLOCKMASK 0x0800 "Num Lock" translation table.

CTRLMASK 0x0030 "Controlled" translation table.

ALTGRAPHMASK 0x0200 "Alt Graph" translation table.

SHIFTMASK 0x000E "Shifted" translation table.

CAPSMASK 0x0001 "Caps Lock" translation table.

(No shift keys pressed or locked) "Unshifted" translation table.

The kio_station request specifies the keystation code for the entry to be modified. The value of kio_entry is stored in the entry in question. If kio_entry is between STRING and STRING+15, the string contained in kio_string is copied to the appropriate string table entry. This call may return EINVAL if there are invalid arguments.

Special values of kio_tablemask can affect the two step "break to the PROM monitor" sequence. The usual sequence is L1-a or Stop-. If kio_tablemask is KIOCABORT1, then the value of kio_station is set to be the first keystation in the sequence. If kio_tablemask, is KIOCABORT2 then the value of kio_station is set to be the second keystation in the sequence. An attempt to change the "break to the PROM monitor" sequence without having superuser permission results in an EPERM error.

KIOCGKEY The argument is a pointer to a kiockeymap structure. The current value of the keyboard translation table entry specified by kio_tablemask and kio_station is stored in the structure pointed to by the argument. This call may return EINVAL if there are invalid arguments.

KIOCTYPE The argument is a pointer to an int. A code indicating the type of the keyboard is stored in the int pointed to by the argument:

KB_SUN3 Sun Type 3 keyboard

KB_SUN4 Sun Type 4 or 5 keyboard, or non-USB Sun Type 6 keyboard

KB_USB USB standard HID keyboard, including Sun Type 6 USB keyboards

KB_ASCII ASCII terminal masquerading as keyboard

KB_PC Type 101 PC keyboard

 Stored in the int pointed to by the argument if the keyboard type is unknown. In case of error, -1 is stored in the int pointed to by the argument.

KIOCLAYOUT The argument is a pointer to an int. On a Sun Type 4 keyboard, the layout code specified by the keyboard's DIP switches is stored in the int pointed to by the argument.

KIOCCMD The argument is a pointer to an int. The command specified by the value of the int pointed to by the argument is sent to the keyboard. The commands that can be sent are:

Commands to the Sun Type 3 and Sun Type 4 keyboards:

KBD_CMD_RESET Reset keyboard as if power-up.

KBD_CMD_BELL Turn on the bell.

KBD_CMD_NOBELL Turn off the bell.

KBD_CMD_CLICK Turn on the click annunciator.

KBD_CMD_NOCLICK Turn off the click annunciator.

Commands to the Sun Type 4 keyboard:

KBD_CMD_SETLED Set keyboard LEDs.

KBD_CMD_GETLAYOUT Request that keyboard indicate layout.

Inappropriate commands for particular keyboard types are ignored. Since there is no reliable way to get the state of the bell or click (because the keyboard cannot be queried and a process could do writes to the appropriate serial driver --- circumventing this ioctl() request) an equivalent ioctl() to query its state is not provided.

KIOCSLED The argument is a pointer to an char. On the Sun Type 4 keyboard, the LEDs are set to the value specified in that char. The values for the four LEDs are:

LED_CAPS_LOCK "Caps Lock" light.

LED_COMPOSE "Compose" light.

LED_SCROLL_LOCK "Scroll Lock" light.

LED_NUM_LOCK "Num Lock" light.

On some Japanese layouts, the value for the fifth LED is:

LED_KANA "Kana" light.

KIOCGLED Pointer to a char. The current state of the LEDs is stored in the char pointed to by the argument.

KIOCSCOMPAT Pointer to an int. "Compatibility mode" is turned on if the int has a value of 1, and is turned off if the int has a value of 0.

KIOCGCOMPAT Pointer to an int. The current state of "compatibility mode" is stored in the int pointed to by the argument.

The following ioctl() request allows the default effect of the keyboard abort sequence to be changed.


Pointer to an int. The keyboard abort sequence effect (typically L1-A or Stop-A on the keyboard on SPARC systems, F1-A on x86 systems, and BREAK on the serial console device) is enabled if the int has a value of KIOCABORTENABLE(1). If the value is KIOCABORTDISABLE(0) , the keyboard abort sequence effect is disabled. If the value is KIOCABORTALTERNATE(2), the Alternate Break sequence is in effect and is defined by the serial console drivers zs(7D ) se(7D) and asy(7D). Any other value of the parameter for this ioctl() is treated as enable. The Alternate Break sequence is applicable to the serial console devices only.

Due to a risk of incorrect sequence interpretation, SLIP and certain other binary protocols should not be run over the serial console port when Alternate Break sequence is in effect. Although PPP is a binary protocol, it is able to avoid these sequences using the ACCM feature in RFC 1662. For Solaris PPP 4.0, you do this by adding the following line to the /etc/ppp/options file (or other configuration files used for the connection; see pppd(1M) for details):

asyncmap  0x00002000

SLIP has no comparable capability, and must not be used if the Alternate Break sequence is in use.

This ioctl() will be active and retain state even if there is no physical keyboard in the system. The default effect (enable) causes the operating system to suspend and enter the kernel debugger (if present) or the system prom (on most systems with OpenBoot proms). The default effect is enabled on most systems, but may be different on server systems with key switches in the 'secure' position. On these systems, the effect is always disabled when the key switch is in the 'secure' position. This ioctl()returns EPERM if the caller is not the superuser.

These ioctl() requests are supported for compatibility with the system keyboard device /dev/kbd.


Has no effect.


Always returns 1.

The following ioctl() requests are used to set and get the keyboard autorepeat delay and rate.


This argument is a pointer to an int, which is the kb autorepeat delay, unit in millisecond.


This argument is a pointer to an int. The current auto repeat delay setting is stored in the integer pointed by the argument, unit in millisecond.


This argument is a pointer to an int, which is the kb autorepeat rate, unit in millisecond.


This argument is a pointer to an int. The current auto repeat rate setting is stored in the integer pointed by the argument, unit in millisecond.



See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface StabilityStable



kbd(1), loadkeys(1), kadb(1M), pppd(1M), keytables(4), attributes(5), zs(7D), se(7D), asy(7D), virtualkm(7D), termio(7I), usbkbm(7M)  


Many keyboards released after Sun Type 4 keyboard also report themselves as Sun Type 4 keyboards.



Keyboard Translation Mode
Keyboard Translation-Table Entries
Keyboard Compatibility Mode

This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 02:38:41 GMT, October 02, 2010