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This is a weird one... I recently upgraded from Debian lenny to squeeze (following the upgrade instructions step by step). Everything went surprisingly well, except for one piece of strange new behavior I haven't encountered before. First, the left arrow key won't work at all (although right, up, and down do). Second, if I keep the left arrow key held down for a few seconds and then release it, I get trapped in Mode_switch mode. In other words, I have a .Xmodmap file with the following:

keycode 113 = Mode_switch
keycode 38 = a A aacute Aacute
keycode 26 = e E eacute Eacute

After I've held down the left arrow key for a few seconds, every a or e character I type is accented, and the only way I can revert this is to log out and log back in to my Gnome session.

I know something keyboard-related changed from lenny to squeeze, but I don't know how to troubleshoot something like this. Any ideas what's wrong?

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Do you have the same problem without your .Xmodmap file? Do you have the same problem in another window manager or desktop environment (try something like startx fvwm -- :1 from a text console (Ctrl+Alt+F1))? – Gilles Feb 12 '11 at 22:04
up vote 1 down vote accepted

After looking further, I found that the keycode set as Mode_switch actually didn't correspond to my Alt_R key as I intended (I changed keyboards a while ago, but didn't notice this until the upgrade). Setting the keycode to the correct key fixed the problem.

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