MDS Automaton on Azerty/French Keybord


We just receive last week some MDS Automaton Stick.

There is some problem on Azerty (maybe just no-Qwerty keybord) :

  1. Nevermind the type of physical keyboard, the recovery will always prompt the wifi and setup password with a Qwerty layout. So, for the moment, when can’t pass this step with the MDS automation.

  2. When recovery mode is launched (after the previous step) sometimes keybord is then setup French, sometimes in US. Not pretty sure about why… (Data stored in NVRAM/SMC ?)

  3. Since MacOS Catalina, an other container named “Macintosh HD - Données” is created in addition to the classic partition “Macintosh HD”. Sometimes, the python script is getting an error. I think that it is due to the accent or encode type.

  4. Using MDS Software ( PreBeta-MDS_Build-20119_Version-2.0 or latest stable version), on Catalina with USB-C Macbook, we can’t create Mac Automation : “The programming timed out”. It was working fine on Mojave.

Thanks for your reply.

I need to get this figured out. Is there a way i can replicate the problem with a US Mac / keyboard?

We are aware of the unicode issues and recommend ASCII characters for workflow names and drive names. I don’t this either, but python / pyobjc makes it very difficult.

The macOS 10.15.2 beta seems to resolve the serial / automaton issues.


Thanks for your reply.

All is working fine on an US Mac. Apple confirm us that this firt step is always in Qwerty without any consideration of physical keyboard. Is there any way to detect physical keyboard type at this step ?

About the ASCII characters, the problem is that MacOS is making partitions/containers alone during installation (or already exists on Macbook we are working on).

We can see that there is an option in Automation Configuration : “Open Disk Utility and Erase First Volume”, but it just erase the first partition/volume. To fix this, the best way seems to get an option to Erase First Device to prevent ASCII bugs.

I have the same problem with Swiss-French in recovery mode, the command line is pasted with US layout keyboard.

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i have the same with german (QWERTZ) layout.
Would be nice if you could also set the language / keyboard when creating the automaton stick.

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Same here in Germany; e.g. setting up

mount_smbfs smb://user:password@share/images

gets pasted by automaton as

mount?smbfs smbÖ–userÖrestore"share-images

would be good to tell automaton which system language the target Macs have. in my case its German keyboard layout on the upper right of the recovery screen.

PS: is there any chance to set the keyboard layout of the recovery mode to permeant English-US?

PPS: i also have the timeout message after setting up the Arduino with mds, but it seems the Arduino is working as expected.


@micneu: wollen wir unsere Kontakte austauschen bzgl. MDS? habe bis dato niemanden in meinem Dunstkreis der auch damit arbeitet. Bei Interesse gerne eine mail an
Viele Grüße

I think I know what is going on with this issue. MDS takes the string entered ("/Volumes/mds/run") and converts it to the key map, and the automaton plays that back when inserted. I think I have a fix and I’ll should have a fix soon.


thanks Tim. It seems the keyboard language is inside the nvram. Perhaps its something with prev:lang-kbd? perhaps the nvram settings could be set by automaton before doing anything else in the terminal.

I looked into this a bit and I am still stuck as to how to fix. I was thinking that I could capture the keys codes as the user types them and then play those back but macOS only gives the virtual key strokes not the USB HID values. Also, some keyboards don’t have a one-to-one correlation to keys. For example, the “/” on a french keyboard is option-"/" on a US keyboard. So I would have to not just capture the keycode but any modifiers. So then I was thinking that I could limit to just “/” and ascii characters and provide a way to specify which keyboard type to type them in. However, the letters could be in a different location on the keyboard and I would have to know the old and new locations for the keys. This is essentially a mapping of one keyboard type to another. Seems very messy.

I like the idea of resetting back to US to a known state as the first operation, but I am not sure how to do that since it requires typing a command in terminal and I would need the mappings to do that. And if I had the mappings, I wouldn’t need to change the settings.

I have not given up. I am going to do some further tests and see what happens if I do some simple mapping.


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