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For some reason my laptop is stuck in Caps Lock. I have the Caps Lock key mapped by xmodmap to hyper_l, so I don't have a caps_lock key to turn it off. Is there a way I can turn it off by command line? It would be nice if I could reset the lock state without resetting my computer, especially for future reference. This has happened before, but I would like to know now how to do it properly this time.

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THANKS. IT'S DIFFICULT TO HOLD DOWN SHIFT. –  Echogene Nov 17 '11 at 18:01
[echo -e "$(dumpkeys | grep ^keymaps)\nkeycode 58 = Escape" | sudo loadkeys][1] [Adding the following line to .profile or .bash_profile should disable caps lock:][2] [xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"][3] [1]: askubuntu.com/questions/43986/… [2]: askubuntu.com/questions/43986/… [3]: askubuntu.com/questions/43986/… –  One Zero Nov 17 '11 at 18:02

1 Answer 1

I don't know of any command line tool for that in Ubuntu. (For Num Lock, there is numlockx Install numlockx.) Here's a one-liner that you can copy-paste into a terminal window:

python -c 'from ctypes import *; X11 = cdll.LoadLibrary("libX11.so.6"); display = X11.XOpenDisplay(None); X11.XkbLockModifiers(display, c_uint(0x0100), c_uint(2), c_uint(0)); X11.XCloseDisplay(display)'

Here it is again in a more expanded form. We use the Python ctypes library to call C functions from the X library directly. The function XkbLockModifiers changes the state of the keyboard locks, on the core keyboard (XkbUseCoreKbd = 0x0100), affecting Caps Lock (2), setting it to 0 (off).

#!/usr/bin/env python
from ctypes import *
X11 = cdll.LoadLibrary("libX11.so.6")
display = X11.XOpenDisplay(None)
X11.XkbLockModifiers(display, c_uint(0x0100), c_uint(2), c_uint(0))

If you have a stuck modifier, change 2 to the mask of the modifiers you want to turn off. The modifiers are 1=Shift, 2=Lock (Caps Lock), 4=Control, 8=Mod1, 16=Mod2, 32=Mod3, 64=Mod4, 128=Mod5. Run xmodmap -pm to see what Mod1 through Mod5 correspond to. For example, to turn off all modifiers, call X11.XkbLockModifiers(display, c_uint(0x0100), c_uint(255), c_uint(0)). To turn on Num Lock which is on Mod2 and at the same time turn off Caps Lock, call X11.XkbLockModifiers(display, c_uint(0x0100), c_uint(2 | 16), c_uint(16)).

Also possibly of interest is a way to temporarily ignore Caps Lock:

xkbset nullify lock

After this, Caps Lock will effectively be permanently off, until you reenable it with xkbset nullify -lock.

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I'll have a go when I'm next on my laptop. I'm on my desktop for now. –  Echogene Nov 17 '11 at 23:50
The python script worked great for me. Thanks. –  djb Jan 4 '12 at 4:58
Created an account just to +1 this. There was about to be LOTS OF UNINTENTIONAL TEXT-YELLING around here, but you saved me. –  Kyle Strand Jan 16 '14 at 4:05

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