xvkbd is an open source and free command-line and graphical software implemented in C and designed to add a virtual keyboard on top of your GNU/Linux desktop environment, supporting the X Window System of any POSIX-compatible operating systems.
It is an accessibility application that allows users to enter characters into other programs by clicking a software keyboard that is displayed on their screen. It also lets users to send characters as command-line options.
A very useful tool for kiosk terminals and handheld devices
xvkbd is very useful when, for some reason, your hardware keyboard no longer works, or for kiosk terminals, as well as handheld devices like PDAs, where a keyboard is not available. The software is compatible with all distributions of Linux.
Additionally, it supports several languages, including English US, English UK, Latin-1, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Russian (Cyrillic), Greek, Turkish, Norwegian, Swiss/German, Swedish, Slovene, Korean, Icelandic, Danish, Belgian, Italian, and Japanese (JIS-X-6002 and JIS-X-6004).
Despite the fact that the it displays a virtual keyboard on your desktop, this is a command-line program that comes pre-loaded with a wide variety of options that allow you to customize the virtual keyboard.
Among these, we can mention support for specifying a display to connect to, to specify the ID and name of the window, to disable resize of the xvkbd window, to use XSendEvent() to simulate keyboard events, to not move the pointer when sending events, as well as to not return the pointer to its original position after an event has been sent.
Getting started with xvkbd
It is quite easy to install xvkbd on a GNU/Linux computer, as it uses the IMake tool for compilation, which should be installed on your system prior to attempting installing this software. After extracting the source archive downloaded from Softpedia, open a terminal emulator and navigate to the location of the extracted archive files (e.g. cd /home/softpedia/xvkbd-3.5).
Then, run the ‘xmkmf’ command to compile the program, followed by the ‘sudo make install’ command to install it system wide and make it available to all users on your system.