In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, we were talking about the location of the Ctrl key vs the Fn key on laptop keyboards. We are both Operating System independent users as we are both professionals in the computer software field and are both students of Computer Science. Actually, we were classmates…
But that is beside the point of this post, over the years, my friend have moved to and from different computers and computer brands. Most recently, his latest one is a HP laptop with the Ctrl key on the left side of the Fn key marketed for Linux users.
He commented on how having the Fn key on the left side of the Ctrl key is such a pain when I took a picture of my newest work laptop, a Lenovo T440 and forwarded the picture to him. His comment might have triggered some really bad memories at the back of my mind as the only laptop that I owned with the Ctrl key on the left side of the Fn key is my Dell laptop, which I dubbed as the worst laptop I have ever owned. That particular laptop was purchased on a student budget, as my IBM 390X was on its last legs, the Java 5 libraries were proving too much of a load on the 390X’s CPU. For the machine to generate some simple auto-completion dialog boxes it would take up to a minute to process, when I wrote the third assignment for a class that semester, I uttered to myself that the 390X have to be retired! At the end of that semester, I budgeted for a new laptop and saw one that met my processing power requirements on the Dell website. When the machine finally arrived, I quickly integrated it into my arsenal of studying tools. Little did I expected the list of failures that would follow. There is a reason why I refer to the Dell laptop as my laptop with the shortest lifespan out of my entire collection of laptops. From the date of purchase to the date I graduated, that Dell laptop logged less than 2 years of actual usage, even when I actually used it on a daily basis. The reason is simple, aside from the plastic chassis, everything was replaced, while some was under warranty, some weren’t. That was the biggest disappointment I had with the laptop. Things got worst around my graduating year, without going into extreme details, the major lesson I learnt was to backup data in multiple places and across multiple operating systems.
Back to the Fn Key discussion, I was telling my friend that of all the laptops since the Dell, all of my laptops have the Fn key on the left side of the Ctrl key. To me, this is more natural because I have gotten used to it.
Here are some pictures of what is natural for the keys, taken from my laptops 🙂
Primary Personal System, MacBook Late 2008, aka the only year Macbooks are Aluminum unibody but not being referred to as a MacBook Pro.
I don’t quite remember the keyboard layout for the 380, 390, and the Compaqs I had, but they were pre-Dell days and the Fn key may not even be on some of them. However, since the Dell, the Fn key being on the left to the Ctrl key is…. natural to me.