If you use Ubuntu and have added my Personal Package Archive to your /etc/apt/sources.list, you surely have noticed I have “backported” a lot of “sensitive” packages Hardy: Qt4, Glib, Gtk+, Cairo, lsb-base, HAL, hdparm, alsa, GNU parted, PCRE, etc. There are a lot more packages, not that “sensitive”: Samba, CMake, Telepathy, GStreamer, Rails, Boost 1.36.0, libvirt, Qemu, KVM, rdesktop, git, Apache, rsync, etc

If Ubuntu Intrepid or Debian Unstable or Experimental had the latest upstream version, I backported it to Hardy. If upstream was newer, I took the latest Debian/Ubuntu packaging and used that for the latest upstream version, with some fixes here and there.

This usually works fine because I’m careful and I test the packages myself. Actually, that’s the only reason I backport stuff: I usually need versions newer than the available ones in Ubuntu.

So far, the count had been “broke: 0 – fixed: a lot”, my biggest “success” being providing a fixed GNU Parted for bug 107326 months before Ubuntu did.

This time, however, I have inadvertedly inherited a bug present in some update (probably HAL), which makes your keys work in a “funny” way. First user to report that to me has been Michael Adams: “Having updated with your backports, I notice that my arrow keys have been converted to macro keys: my side keys don’t work, and up takes screenshots”. And indeed that happens! In my defense, I have to say I had not noticed before because I seldomly reboot my computer, so changes had not been applied to my system yet.

What’s the fix? Apparently nobody knows for sure (sometimes a reboot fixed it, sometimes setkbmap is needed) but it’s been already reported, see bug 255008.

Why am I posting this to Planet KDE? Because although the bug report barely mentions it, it does happen with KDE, too.

PS: If you use the ATI proprietary drivers, dual-head configuration, and one of your monitors is rotated (i. e. in vertical instead of horizontal), please contact me. Rotation was easy with NVidia but I’ve been unable to get it to work with ATI 🙁

3 Thoughts on “Is your keyboard working funny after updating to my backports?

  1. Daniel Thaler on Monday 06th October 2008 at 22:28:17 said:

    Regarding the keyboard problem: HAL hotplugs the keyboard into X. X will then load the evdev driver for the keyboard. The evdev driver pulls various items of configuration – such as keyboard layout – from hal (you can set this stuff somewhere in hal’s mess of .fdi files).

    Removing the evdev driver from your system will hide the problem: keyboard will have to be statically configured in xorg.conf and will then use the traditional kbd driver. The side-effect is broken input hotplug.

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