IBM Model M & Mac

IBM Model M

IBM Model M (1988)

I have finally reunited my 1988 IBM model M keyboard with my primary computer. Currently, my desktop is an 8-core mac pro. I’m sure the keyboard has never had so much power at its disposal. It took some adapting, and key re-mapping, but I’m typing this post to the classic cadence of buckling springs. “It’s so choice, if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

For anyone that is interested, the basic key re-mapping can be done in the mac system preferences. Under “Keyboard” there is a “Modifier Keys…” button that allows you to reassign the control, command, option, and caps lock keys. I’ve set up the following map:

Caps Lock key is “control”

Alt key is “command”

Control key is “option”

Command key is “caps lock”

Note: since the IBM Model M does not have a command key I’ve effectively thrown out “caps lock.” But honestly, aside from email screamers, who uses caps lock?

I have also downloaded DoubleCommand which offers more powerful key re-mapping. If it is dramatically better, I’ll post a note about it here.


4 thoughts on “IBM Model M & Mac

  1. >But honestly, aside from email screamers, who uses caps lock?

    Those of us who write copy/scripts for broadcasting need caps lock. If you type in all caps, bold, and double spaced, you can easily gauge the length of the recording you’ll get.

    • Joe, fair enough… I still write speeches or presentation notes in all caps so that is easier to read on the podium. There are certainly good uses for the key, otherwise it would have disappeared long ago 🙂

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE KEY REMAPPING! I tried doublecommand – it failed after Lion upgrade. but your mapping seems to work. Oddly, my CAPS LOCK KEY DOES WORK. I’m using a Tripp-Lite U218-000-R PS/2 to USB adapter to connect my 1987 Model M to my new mac mini.

  3. Thank you – This helped me very much. I was totally stocked, but can now work on my Mac using my will-never-be-replaced IBM keyboard 🙂


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