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Many people have written to us to say that the function keys (or other `special' keys such as Home and End) don't do what they want, presumably in any of the numerous modes we provide.
Mapping of keypresses to escape sequences seems to be a horrible morass. The simplest way out may actually be to implement `key-mapping'. Otherwise we end up filling the entire `Keyboard' panel with options for everyone's favourite key mapping (perhaps we should move to a drop-down list?).
In particular, we have no way of knowing whether removing any of our existing options will break people's worlds, even if the thing they claim to emulate (e.g., xterm, rxvt has since changed its mind about its key sequences. So we can't just update the existing mappings to reflect the bleeding-edge versions of emulated software; we need to retain the capability to use the old mappings in some form.
If the function keys don't emit the sequence you want, you'll have to tell us what you think they should do. See the FAQ.
The following list references emails where people have expressed actual opinions about the sequences we should send (and they're not completely weird), in case someone on the team is enthusiastic enough to try to spot patterns.
See also `xterm-keyboard' (although that claims to be full of lies).
Audit trail for this wish.