keyboard problem

Clark Freifeld clark at
Tue Nov 2 21:29:52 UTC 2004

Dear Ubuntu users,

Just installed Ubuntu 4.10 and just subscribed to this list minutes ago.
Just about everything looks great, but I had a little keyboard problem
that it looks like others have encountered, at least in some form or
other, thought I would share my solution.

I have a standard us keyboard on my Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop but I wanted
deadkeys for typing chars such as à, ñ, etc. At the install prompt, where
the default is "us" and the message suggests US users simply put "us", I
put in "us-international".

Obviously, this wasn't going to work, since "us-international" isn't a
valid keybd layout, but I expected the installer to look it up, throw an
error and re-prompt.

When I finally logged in, I got the famous

Error activating XKB configuration.
Probably internal X server problem.

xprop showed the keyboard as us-international, naturally.

After some poking around in /etc/X11/xkb/symbols, I discovered that the
one I wanted was us_intl, and that the option should be set in
/etc/X11/XF86Config-4 as

Option          "XkbLayout"     "us_intl"

in the first InputDevice section. I made the change and then restarted X
with a

pkill X

Logged-in again and got the same error, but this time along with a dialog
saying something like "The X-windows keyboard config differs from the
Gnome config" with a button to use the X-windows config and button to use
Gnome. I chose X-windows. Now the error has gone away.

From looking at various docs, I think there are two other ways to
accomplish the same thing:

- dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86, which puts you through the whole X
setup. Of course, you have to know to enter us_intl at the prompt.
- Computer -> Desktop Preferences -> Keyboard

Hope that helps somebody.


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