Samuel Tardieu @

Strange keyboard problem


Since about a week, I started to notice that I had been making a lot of typos in some commands I use frequently. For example, I became unable to type correctly

cd /usr/src/linux

which always resulted in

cd /usr/src:linux

(incidentally, when typing the above strings, I had to fix the first one and the second one came naturally buggy)

On a French keyboard (AZERTY layout), / is obtained by pressing simultaneously shift and :. I first thought that my laptop keyboard was misfunctioning. But it happened on my home computer as well. I then thought I had become unable to properly release the C key before pressing the shift one, but no, I think I found a real bug somewhere: this problem occurs only when a key amongst the lowest left part of the keyboard (near to the shift, namely one of the WXCV letters on my keyboard) is rapidly followed by a shift.

Let’s make a test: while running a X11 server, press the C key, let it pressed so that you turn the auto-repeat mode on, then press shift (without releasing the key). You should, at least under Linux with Xorg, see something like:


But what I get is:


The shift key is ignored. Note that it works fine with the right shift key though.

For a fast touch typist (as I otherwise luckily am), this is rather unfortunate; the combination of one of those wxcv letters followed by a slash happens to me at least fifty times a day, often much more than that. Since I cannot reproduce that on the Linux console, I will for the moment put the blame on my X server.

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