I’m tried and trying ortholinear layouts once in a while, but so far I always switched back to and still prefer a horizontally staggered layout.
So far tried:
- Xiudi XD75 (7×15, in a Kbdfans 5° case)
- Reviung39 (3×12 + 3 thumb keys, static split vertical stagger, similar to Atreus or Ergodox)
Conclusion: If I want to use an ortholinear layout, I need row 4 (ZXCV…) with an offset of one, because having S directly below X is awkward for me as an Emacs user who often has to type Ctrl-X Ctrl-S (save file) and I’m very used to type this with the left pinky on Ctrl and the index finger on X and the middle finger on S. This no more works with a standard ortho layout as I would have to bend my index finger more than is comfortable.
There are though two “close to ortho but still staggered keyboards” I’m able to work with well:
- The half-ortho Alpha28 (3 rows only) as it has zero offset (i.e. ortho) between R2 and R3, but 0.5u offset between R3 and R4. (Ctrl-XS works)
- The uniform 0.25u stagger Zlant, basically a Planck, but with 0.25u offset between any two rows. (Ctrl-XS works)
Nevertheless there are two more ortho keyboards I want to toy around with:
- Recently ordered a Preonic (5×12, will fetch it from the P.O. box next week). Will see if I can get that with the 1u R4 offset (mentioned above) to work.
- Have a Gherkin (3×10 IIRC) kit laying around at home. Still need to solder it.
I also plan to order and build two more Alpha28 derivatives, i.e. half-ortho keyboards:
- Shambles (Alpha28 TKL)
- Alpha G4M3R (crossover of Alpha28 and V4N4G0N)
Also thinking about these keyboards or kits:
- Butterstick (2×10, ortho but uses a lot of chording between the two rows)
- _33 (“Underscore 33”, 4×10, similar to the Alpha28, but with four rows and the top three rows being ortho, HHKB-style blocks in the bottom row)
- Little Foot (5×10, similar to Preonic, but without the two outer columns, supports a full-size spacebar, HHKB-style blocks in the bottom row)
Then again, I also never got used to split keyboards (built a Keebio Fourier, a split staggered 40%), so maybe I’m just too used with the classic staggered layout and fine with it. But I do like 40% staggered keyboards and similar layouts with a lot of non-standard key positions including non-standard stagger offsets, too, so it can’t be just the classic layout.
Looking at CosmicKira’s pictures, my pinkies are just a tiny bit longer than her’s (compared to the other fingers), so maybe that’s also an issue here. In general I seem to have rather small hands. Not sure if that has a bigger impact on my keyboard preferences.
So I don’t expect to really switch away from staggered layouts, also because I’m totally fine with it. My ortho adventures happen mostly because I’m curious on trying out new things. (And because I like collecting keyboards with weird layouts. )