Summary of the problem
Om 2008.8 uses Qtopia for its phone stack. Qtopia has a build-in keyboard primarily designed to compose SMS in English. This keyboard is very impractical to use with a terminal or enter an URL.
List of available keyboards
Matchbox keyboardThe matchbox keyboard. See also homepage of Matchbox keyboard and Matchbox stroke.
- Main article: Illume keyboard
The illume virtual keyboard a.k.a. Raster's keyboard.
qwo Quikwriting for Openmoko keyboard
It is hard to call this a key-board, it looks more like a pair of Ouija board than a matrix of buttons. But as far as an touchscreen input method for letters, this one allows the stylus to remain on the screen and move continuously. Needs a few hours of practice before writing words fluently.
The vkbd system.
How to use the Qtopia keyboard shipped with Om 2008.8 ?
- Slide finger left = backspace.
- Slide finger right = space.
- Slide finger up/down = changes between lowercase/uppercase/numbers/special characters.
- The 'Enter' key is bottom right on the special characters page
- Hovering over a letter for more than 2 seconds activates zoom mode, allowing you to type specific letters without prediction.
Detailed version: see How to use the Qtopia keyboard.
Short answer: In 2008.8, opkg install illume-config. In testing, edit '/etc/enlightenment/default_profile' to use illume theme instead of 'asu'. Long answer: here.
How to install the matchbox keyboard ?
Short answer: opkg install matchbox-keyboard-applet matchbox-keyboard-inputmethod Long answer: here.
How to install the illume (Raster's) keyboard ?
- Main article: Illume_keyboard#How_to_install
How to turn off the Qtopia keyboard ?
Short answer: Add the line export QTOPIA_NO_VIRTUAL_KEYBOARD=1 into the file /etc/X11/Xsession.d/89qtopia.
Warning: Even when you install another keyboard, if you do not turn off the Qtopia keyboard it will come back on the top
to bite you trollishly. References:
Comment on ticket 1864, and untested proposed
patch to qpe.
If you use base-image (testing) don't forget to set E_PROFILE="-profile illume" in /etc/enlightenment/default_profile see 
How to change the keyboards layout ?
See instructions on the Change matchbox keyboard layout page.
- Main article: Illume_keyboard#Localization
How to change the dictionary used by the predictive keyboards ?
You can compile your own wordlist or use precompiled wordlists.
From the Openwall project
This method retrieves wordlists with lower case words only, not including proper names. This is not sufficient for languages with capitalized nouns, such as german.
Precompiled openwall words.dawg can be found at: http://alasal.be/openmoko/keyboard .
To compile the openwall wordlist on your Linux box:
tar xvf qtopia-italian-keyboard.tar.bz2
./qdawggen -d lang_LANG lower
mv lang_LANG/lower.dawg words.dawg
A better german wordlist, including proper names and nouns, can be downloaded from http://www.fragcom.de/server/fragcom_words . It is based on the Debian package "wngerman".
Installing the words.dawg file
First, move the English dictionary out of the way, on your Neo:
cp -r en_EN lang_LANG
Second, back on your Linux box, send the dictionary (overwriting the existing words.dawg in the new directory):
scp words.dawg firstname.lastname@example.org:/opt/Qtopia/etc/dict/lang_LANG/words.dawg
Third, edit /opt/Qtopia/etc/default/Trolltech/locale.conf to change the language
Fourth, restart X or reboot your Neo.
InputLanguages = lang_LANG
Language = lang_LANG
- Main article: Illume_keyboard#How_to_import_dictionaries
Matchbox has no predictive mode (to be confirmed ?).
How to toggle the predictive mode on and off ?
Quick and Dirty version of toggle the predictive mode on and off is a small script that renames the dictionary words.dawg to words.dawg.off and back. The dict is still loaded, but after restart you can work without predictive mode, because the the predictive mode is dependend on the dictionary. You can find the dictionary in the folder /opt/Qtopia/etc/dict/en_US
How to make Qtopia keyboards and illume/raster keyboard coexist ?
Your short-term options
- Turn off the Qtopia keyboard and install the matchbox one instead.
- Keep the Qtopia keyboard, let go (for a while) the desire to use the terminal locally, login remotely via ssh when you need.
- Get an external keyboard, USB or Bluetooth, light and foldable if you want.
- Switch to 2007.2 (but then similar issues arise : Switching Keyboards on Om 2007.2), FSO or Debian.
- Patch Qtopia so that it plays nice with other keyboards, send upstream, meanwhile recompile and provide a package.
PS: Complaining that management does not listen to the users needs is not a productive option.
Perspectives for long-term resolution
On August 27th 2008, Marek from Openmoko inc. announced the intention to focus on the low-level layers. Future "base system" distribution may not include any phone stack at all.