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I've tried going through the keyboard fixing process documented with that udev README file (as described here), but I get confused pretty much right off the bat. I'm using that "/lib/udev/keymap" tool to diagnose what's going on, but the output I get is weird and the instructions don't really make clear what it is that I should do.

The problem I'm having on this laptop is that the "Fn" keys all (or mostly) seem to behave as if the "fn" key is pressed. That is, the "F6" key for example is also the "Previous Song" key when used with the "fn" meta key on the keyboard, or at least that's what it's supposed to be. Well, for me, if I just hit "F6", key is mapped to "previoussong". If I hit my "fn" key, let it go, and then press "F6", then it comes through as "F6".

For some of the keys, instead of that, a single keypress is reported as two keys: "leftmeta" with a scan code of 0xDB, and then the "Fn" key. So, when I press "F1" (which is not labeled as having an "fn" alternate meaning), I get what looks like two separate events.

Finally, for the "F2" and "F3" keys, labeled as being for screen brightness controls, I get no key events whatsoever if I don't precede them with a press and release of the "fn" meta key. They do, however, show me the brightness adjustment growler message, though they don't actually seem to have any effect on the display.

What do I need to look at in order to get the keyboard to stop being so weird?

(Again, the laptop is a brand new HP dv6t "quad edition" with a US keyboard, and I'm running 11.04.)

edit — I've just now started forming a theory that the keyboard might be working as designed, which would be another reason for me to recommend against these things ... grrrr

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Do you just want to disable the action key mode as per here? If that's what you are after, I'll tidy up this comment as an answer. Let me know. – fossfreedom Jul 6 '11 at 17:44
No, what I want is for the system to respond to "F1" correctly - that is, as "F1". Same for the rest of them. I'm quite used to having them mapped to actions, in gvim for example. – Pointy Jul 6 '11 at 17:51
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Does your computer allow you to switch the fn key row from being the F1-12 keys or the media keys? I know my computer allows this, the way I can change this setting is by going into the BIOS and selecting the option from there. I'm not sure if that is what your computer is doing though.

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No, the HP BIOS allows for almost no tweaking whatsoever, and certainly nothing like that. – Pointy Jul 6 '11 at 17:55
Whoa, hold on - you were right ... there's a BIOS option to flip the sense of the "fn" meta key. Durr. Thanks for pointing this out; I would never have thought of it :-) – Pointy Jul 6 '11 at 18:07

You can search for "keyboard" in the Unity Dash and click on the Keyboard icon, then on the window opened go to the Layouts Tab and there you can choose a new layout and set what keyboard model is yours. By the description I think you need to change your keyboard model, not the layout.

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There is no entry for this particular laptop. I believe what I'm going to have to do is create my own keyboard mapping, but I don't know where to start doing that, especially how to deal with the weird behavior of the "fn" meta key. – Pointy Jul 6 '11 at 17:52

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