Jump to content United States-English
HP.com Home Products and Services Support and Drivers Solutions How to Buy
» Contact HP
More options
HP.com home
HP-UX Reference > H


HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

Technical documentation

» Feedback
Content starts here

 » Table of Contents

 » Index


hilkbd — HP-HIL mapped keyboard driver


HP-HIL, the Hewlett-Packard Human Interface Link, is the Hewlett-Packard standard for interfacing a personal computer, terminal, or workstation to its input devices. hilkbd supplies input from all mapped keyboards on a specified HP-HIL link.

hilkbd returns mapped keycodes, not ASCII characters. "Raw" keycodes are the individual key downstrokes and upstrokes, and are different for each type of keyboard. hilkbd maps the raw input into the keycodes and protocol expected by the HP-UX, Pascal Workstation, and BASIC/UX operating systems. The hil driver can usurp a keyboard from hilkbd by changing it from mapped mode to raw mode.

System Calls

open() gives exclusive access to the keyboard. If there is an ITE (internal terminal emulator) associated with the keyboard, the ITE loses input from the keyboard until the keyboard device is closed. Any previous queued input for the keyboard device is flushed from the input queue.

close() returns control of the keyboard to the ITE, if present. Any unread input is discarded at that time.

read() returns data from the keyboard in time-stamped packets:

unsigned char time_stamp[4]; unsigned char status; unsigned char data;

time_stamp, when repacked into an integer data type of four or more bytes, specifies the time since an arbitrary point in the past (for example, system start-up time). This point does not change between packets, but time during a power failure may or may not be counted. The time is in units of tens of milliseconds.

The status byte encodes the state of the keyboard Shift and Ctrl keys:

  • 0x8Xshift and control
    0x9Xcontrol only
    0xAXshift only
    0xBXno shift or control

The data byte contains the actual keystroke.

If the file status flag O_NDELAY is set, read() returns 0 instead of blocking, when no data is available. The read() system call on an HP-HIL keyboard is considered "slow"; that is, it can be interrupted by caught signals (see signal(2)).

write() is not supported by hilkbd.

select() can be used to poll for input to read from hilkbd devices. select() for write or for exceptional conditions always returns a false indication in the bit masks.

ioctl() is used to perform special operations on the device. ioctl() system calls have the form:

int ioctl(int fildes, int request, char *arg);

The following hilkbd request codes are defined in <sys/hilioctl.h>:


Read the configuration code.

This request returns a one-byte configuration code in the char variable to which arg points. This contains a field, defined by KBD_IDCODE_MASK, which specifies the keyboard identification code. The possible values of this field are defined in the header file, and this identification code affects interpretation of the language code. All other fields in the configuration code are currently undefined.


Read the language code.

This request returns a one-byte language code, as read from the keyboard, in the char variable to which arg points. If there is more than one keyboard, the language is taken from the first keyboard on the link. Interpretation of the language code is affected by the keyboard identification field within the configuration code.


Read the keyboard status register.

This request returns a one-byte value containing bit flags specifying the state of the shift and control keys in the char variable to which arg points:

KBD_STAT_LEFTSHIFTThe left shift key is up
KBD_STAT_RIGHTSHIFTThe right shift key is up
KBD_STAT_SHIFTBoth shift keys are up
KBD_STAT_CTRLThe control key is up

Other bits are undefined.


Set the keyboard auto-repeat rate.

The one-byte value to which arg points is the negative of the repeat period, in tens of milliseconds. The repeat rate is the reciprocal of the repeat period. A parameter of zero disables auto-repeat.


Set the keyboard auto-repeat delay.

The one-byte value to which arg points is the negative of the repeat delay, in tens of milliseconds.


Cause an audible beep.

The one-byte value to which arg points specifies the volume of the beep, within the range 0 through KBD_MAXVOLUME. Implementations with fewer than KBD_MAXVOLUME discrete levels of volume will scale the parameter into the smaller range.



An invalid parameter was detected by ioctl().


A signal was caught during a read() system call.


No keyboard is present on the HP-HIL link specified by the minor number.


An attempt was made to use write() using hilkbd.


The device is already open.


hilkbd was developed by the Hewlett-Packard Company.



Printable version
Privacy statement Using this site means you accept its terms Feedback to webmaster
© 1983-2007 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.