Thanks for giving this a good going over and a thorough explanation.
But I think the critical difference between your testing and mine is that you are in a Win98 DOS box using MS EDIT and I am on a pure FreeDOS machine using FD EDIT.
The reference to a multimedia keyboard is from Lester Vedrox's post, to which I was responding.  I'm not using such a keyboard here, nor would I expect that to make any difference.
--John Hupp
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Freedos-user] Right-ALT key (topic was Customizing Startup Files)

Hi John,
I have just tested the US keyboard (under MS-DOS EDIT) and the <Left_Alt> works just like <Right_Alt>.
If you haven't prepared and selected any cp (codepage), then you'll be using the character table implemented in the BIOS of your VGA adapter which, on 99.999% of the cases, is identical (in encoding) to FreeDOS (and MS-DOS, IBM-DOS and probably any other DOS) cp437 and that's why if you run KEYB under these conditions, it will work as if you had prepared and selected that codepage. In that case, "KEYB US" should work just like the US implementation of the keyboard BIOS extension.
If you have actually prepared and selected cp437 (or cp850), "KEYB US" should still work just like the US implementation of the keyboard BIOS extension.
The <Right_Alt> key only works differently (i.e. like the <AltGr> key on international keyboards) if there's a character associated to a given combination.
If you're using cp858 (which is FreeDOS default), the <Right_Alt> key works as <AltGr> only to <AltGr> + <5> and <AltGr> + <E>, which display the Euro sign.
For all the other combinations, <Right_Alt> remains the same as <Left_Alt>.
Therefore, as far as I can see it, KEYB not only sticks to the commitment of being 100% MS-DOS compatible as well as it enhances MS-DOS KEYB functionality, since it allows you to encode your own layouts and even extra layers, such as, for example, combining keys with <Shift> + <AltGr>.
All my KEY encodings and testings are under a Win98 DOS Box. Perhaps KEYB behaves slightly different when working under FreeCOM (and/or under FreeDOS EDIT).
(Definition of "KEY encodings": All the keyboard layouts are encoded into *.KEY files.)
By the way, the issue of being a multimedia keyboard won't probably have anything to do with that. All that happens is, your multimedia keyboard has extra scancodes for its multimedia keys - which aren't dealt with on standard KEY files so they'll remain "dead" unless you run some program which handles them.
----- Original Message -----
From: John Hupp
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 10:23 AM
Subject: [Freedos-user] Right-ALT key (topic was Customizing Startup Files)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Freedos-user] Customizing Startup Files

Running US-Eng keyboard straight from BIOS (which is US anyways) sounds 
like a good idea but I still can't get the right ALT key working. The 
following approach didn't solve the problem either (kb2pre4.zip):


Maybe it's because it's multimedia keyboard.

Regarding Right-ALT, I brought up the same issue with FD Service Release 1.
The understanding I finally arrived at was that, though Right-ALT does not work in FreeDOS the same way it does in MS-DOS in a default US installation, this behavior is nonetheless by design.  It stems from special uses of Right-ALT in international keyboards, but special status for the key has been carried over into the design of the default behavior and apparently even into the US implementation of the keyboard BIOS extension.
I would still argue that the project's goal for a "100% MS-DOS compatible" operating system means that, for US users, Right-ALT should work the same as Left-ALT, but all-in-all, it is for me a second-level issue.
I follow with one of Eric Auer's replies to me from last year.
--John Hupp
From: "Eric Auer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: re: Re: Re: DOS news: loadfix, edit
Date: Friday, August 05, 2005 4:33 PM

> Yes, Right-ALT *always* behaves on my system as I describe it.
> functionality I would expect under MS-DOS 6.22 with a US keyboard layout:
> e.g. Right-ALT+F would open the File menu just at Left-ALT+F does...
This is by design - EDIT must not tamper with right alt, as e.g. German
keyboard drivers need right alt to be available to type country specific
keys. I think there is no interface which would tell EDIT that "I am an
US keyboard driver so I do not need right alt" (to allow EDIT to use
right alt for function keys like alt-f). CCing Aitor about that.
Note that I will be away from mail in the next weeks...
Aitor writes the KEYB driver, so maybe he knows more about that Alt thing,
but I would generally recommend to use Alt for Alt, and not use AltGr
(which is nothing more than right-Alt for US keyboards but which has a
special meaning for international keyboards).
Basically if EDIT 0.82 treats right-alt-F like left-alt-F then that would
be a bug which makes life hard for e.g. German users. Luckily there is
EDIT 0.7d ;-).

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