Re: HOWTO: Special Characters made easier
I'm in the same position, where my primary language is English, but I write to my family extensively in Spanish. Easily the best compromise has been choosing US International with dead keys as my default keyboard layout. Very simple <ALT> modifier options; <ALT>+n is ñ, <ALT>+a is á, and so on... áéíóúñ¡¿€ with quite a few others that you'll rarely if ever use.
The dead keys are a bit of a problem, more so in Ubuntu than in Windows. The main dead keys are ", ', `, and ~, all of which require you to remember to hit <SPACE> if you actually want them as is, rather than as a modifier. In Windows, it's a bit more intuitive, where you can type an ' and then an s and get 's, rather than ś as in Ubuntu. I believe Windows only allows the dead keys to modify the vowels, which makes more sense for any US-family layout. Ubuntu modifies stuff you don't want, or - if there is no character associated with the keycode - drops both of your keys. Typing "I'd" requires you to hit I+'+<SPACE>+d, or else you just get the "I". Windows has similar problems with the double quotes.
I'm wondering what would be easier: adding the <ALT> combinations to US English, or removing the dead keys from US International. There is a "Clear" command with xmodmap that seems to do something like what I'm seeking, but I'm uncertain of the syntax I need to use, and being still noobish I'm wary of losing keyboard functionality in any way and not knowing how to restore defaults. I'd appreciate any suggestions. thanks.
“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” -- Bertrand Russell