I use my Linux box at work a lot more than my machine at home, especially lately. Since the keyboard at work is mapped via Synergy, none of the special keys on my multimedia keyboard work or are just not setup to work. I'm going to have to double check on that Monday morning. Maybe I just have a configuration issue.
Tonight I discovered that most of the keys do work on my multimedia keyboard at home! (Same keyboard by the way, the Microsoft Natural MultiMedia Keyboard 1.0a.) I pressed the calculator button out of habit and up popped the calculator. Sweet! Then I tried out the Play/Pause, Mute, Volume, Previous/Next buttons, and the My Documents button. All but the My Document button worked. But I wanted it to.
So off I go searching and under System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts I hit the jackpot. It turned out that nothing was mapped to the My Documents key.
I simply selected the "Home Folder" and pressed the My Documents key and it set 0xef (the My Documents key apparently) to open a Nautilus window to my home directory. Nice! Unfortunately the My Pictures and My Music buttons don't work when trying to map something to them. It doesn't much matter at the moment though because I don't see an action for opening your ~/Music or ~/Pictures directories. I also don't see any ability for custom actions. Considering the overall customization abilities of Linux, that really surprised me. Maybe I wanted the My Music button to launch a script that does some crazy thing. Well I don't think I can. At least I can change every other default shortcut if I have the desire too.
Also, here is a handy table of some common keyboard shortcuts I love and use regularly:
|Show the Applications Menu||Alt + F1|
|Bring up a run application dialog||Alt + F2|
|Take a screenshot||Print Screen|
|Take a screenshot of the active window||Alt + Print Screen|
|Move to the workspace to the right||Ctrl + Alt + Right Arrow|
|Move to the workspace to the left||Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow|
There are many, many, many more so check out the Keyboard Shortcuts application to see what is configured. The default settings may vary slightly between distributions but hopefully not much.
Also, one last tip for you Windows switchers. If you miss pressing the Start/Windows button to bring up the application menu (instead of the current Alt + F1), you can remap that easily too. It turns out pressing that is the same as "Super + L". Honestly though, I would recommend getting used to the default since that is what is going to be everywhere else.
Oh, and one more note. Last one, I promise. If you have "Desktop Effects" enabled (i.e. Compiz), there are a lot of other special Compiz shortcuts that come into play there. Many of those effects utilize the "Super" key which is also the Start/Windows key.