QWERTY keyboard is the most used modern-day keyboard layout on a standard English computer keyboard or typewriter. The QWERTY name derives from the first six characters on the top alphabetic line of the keyboard. Comments or suggestions about "A QWERTY Keyboard - QWERTY History" is important to us, you may share it by using the comment box below. The popular leader of sexy girl group dancers has a new video to reveal for her followers on Facebook.
In my study of keyboarding in the past 20 years, i've noticed that the choices of many shortcuts in many apps are adopted to the many aspects of the keyboard hardware of the time in use by the community.
As a example, emacs's Meta key, and heavy use of Control as primary modifier, and avoiding any ?Ctrl+? Shift+‹letter›? in its keyboard shortcuts, are caused by the lisp keyboard hardware and dumb terminals of 1980s. How did emacs's shortcuts for cursor movement {Control+n, Control+p, Control+f, Control+b} came about? Unix vi's use of j k h i for cursor movement, and the choice of Esc key for mode switching, came from the keyboard it was developed on, the ADM-3A terminal (1975). The {h j k l} is chosen because these letters in the ASCII encoding can be changed to ASCII's control characters by tweaking one bit. Many of the terminal keys in Linux we are familiar today, are not keyboard shortcuts or keybindings proper. Most people need to use the right hand for the mouse for operating a gun or view, so the left hand is used for controlling the avatar's movement.
Apple computer, starting in late 1980s, made the {undo, cut, copy, paste} concept popular to the masses, and in general the concept of computer keyboard shortcuts. Because the name “Print Screen” somewhat relates to screen capture, so Microsoft have chosen it to be the key for saving screenshots. If there's any conclusion, it is that many keyboard shortcut or hotkey choices are based on what is practical at the time.

Emacs's primary modifier the Ctrl is much better at the Alt position on today's PC keyboards. The arrangement of characters on a QWERTY keyboard was designed in 1868 by Christopher Sholes, the inventor of the typewriter.
Emacs's keybinding is not simply based on the first letter of commands, but the QWERTY layout's key positions have significant influence on it. It would have been hard to get the new Emacs bindings accepted by the community if they differed for such basic commands. Right hand is the more dexterous hand for most people, and operating the mouse needs more dexterity than pressing arrow keys. The arrow keys are on the right side of the keyboard, making it awkward to use with left hand.
These keys are chosen because they are all adjacent and on the left side of the keyboard, where under them there's the ? Cmd key. Similarly, the ? Backspace key, was chosen as the key for web browser to go BACK to previous page. For example, QWERTY layout was practical at the time, but the Dvorak Layout was invented too late, when convention was already established, and ergonomics isn't as big a concern at the time because not that many people need to use typewriters.
Instead, they should just be special keys, as starting key for a key sequence to call commands.
Luckily, these have been on most keyboards since about mid 2000s, just that they have not been standardized in layout. As you point out, anyone using Emacs can very easily change this based on their own ergonomic preferences. You editing by typing a command, then call another command to have the screen update to show the result of your command.
For example, ?Ctrl+d? exits the terminal, but only if the cursor is at the beginning of the prompt.

For those using the Dvorak Keyboard Layout, the W A S D keys are scattered and is a problem.
They used to have meaningful purposes in the 1980 or earlier, some of them are separate keys. Note that this key is labeled “Delete” on Apple's keyboards, even they sent the exact same signal. Some of these concept didn't even exist at the time, and some choice was good at the time but computer keyboard has changed. But typing on computer is done by everyone today, for chatting, emails, all sorts of communication, and programing has become a field that's some million times more than the number of typists 40 years ago.
Major keyboard makers Microsoft and Logitech have started to make keyboards with these functions pre-assigned to the F1 to F12 Function keys. In fact, in the early days, many games do not respect user's choice of key layout in Operating System, nor does it provide ways for users to change the keys. In Apple's operating system, in Mac Classic of the 1990s or Mac OS X since early 2000s, this key was not used for browser's back function, only so around ?2006 when Apple started to adopt many Windows's conventions.
However, it creates problems because these function keys already have uses in many applications, especially for programers. Microsoft also introduced the F-Lock key to toggle the purpose of the F function keys, but that created more problem than is worth.

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