I use several keyboards layouts on a regular basis. Two of which make use of dead keys for French language.

$ cat /etc/default/keyboard

This morning, after a sudo apt-get upgrade on Debian 9 (stretch), which may or may not be involved in the problem, dead keys stopped working as dead keys (i.e. hitting ^ then e produces ^e instead of ê), which makes typing french quite difficult.

The new behaviour is persistent after reboot and affects several applications:

  • firefox
  • thunderbird
  • gnome-terminal
  • gedit
  • nautilus

But not VLC or xterm.. what should I conclude?
How do I get my dead keys working again in all applications?

1 Answer 1


I had the same problem, on Debian Stretch, and I am using bépo too.

I solved it by using IBUS (yet I guess FCITX and some others can manage it too).

To me, dead keys worked fine in TTY. So I guess the problem «only» happen in software getting keyboard configuration from GUI (X?).

To install Ibus: sudo apt-get install ibus

Ibus comes with a GUI configuration tool, and bépo is available. Setting Ibus to start automatically with the session can help.

  • Well, it finally works after a reboot I think :D (unless the bug's gone alone XD) Thank you again :)
    – iago-lito
    Jan 15, 2018 at 11:24

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