Having a netbook where the X server doesn't start at the moment has given me a chance to get familiar again with the Debian console setup. Not having X doesn't affect my workflow much (which is part of why my workflow is what it is), but it's been a while since I've spent time tuning things.
I use the dvorak keymap, but this Gdium has an AZERTY keyboard. Despite the fact that I was selecting dvorak as the keymap with
dpkg-reconfigure console-data, the keymap was reverting to AZERTY on each boot. I'm still not sure why that was the case, but gravityboy was helpful in pointing me toward the new, unified way.
All I had to do was edit the
/etc/default/console-setup file, and put the right keymap in
XKBLAYOUT="dvorak". I also added "ctrl:nocaps" to XKBOPTIONS, to turn Caps Lock into another Control key. That's a lot prettier than the old way that I was doing that, which involved putting
(echo `dumpkeys | grep -i keymaps`; echo keycode 58 = Control) | loadkeys - in
I've now removed the console-data and console-common packages entirely, and everything still seems to work. I do wish that the default level of
dpkg-reconfigure console-setup asked about the keymap, because then I would have figured this out on my own. As it was, I did not make the connection to see that options beginning with XKB might also affect keys in the console.
Maybe this isn't actually that new, but it's new to me :). And I shouldn't say that the X server "doesn't start" on the Gdium -- it certainly starts on the version of GNU/Linux that they ship with. It's just not working yet in the Debian installation I'm working on.