I'm running ubuntu 17 and I want to reconfigure my keyboard, thus I've made all the desirable changes inside my /etc/default/keyboard config and executed

$ source /etc/default/keyboard

but the changes didn't get applied.

I've also tried firing up

$ setxkbmap -model 105 -variant , -layout us,it -option "grp:caps_toggle, compose:ralt"

but to no effect...nothing I've tried seemed to get the newly made changes in the config apply. In the docs it says that I should use

udevadm trigger --subsystem-match=input --action=change

or reboot my system for the changes to apply, apparently I have no desire to reboot my system, I execute the command and nothing happens, that's, I still cannot change the layout using CAPS. I've simply run out of ideas... I know it is possible to configure it with something like

dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

etc but it's awfully inconvenient and terribly inefficient. After all what if I want to do a rather complicated configuration... What am I missing? How do I do such a nonsensically trivial thing as configure my keyboard? I used to run arch and debian and those distros were generous enough to give me the opportunity to change the damn thing without too much of a hassle...


$ gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources sources yields the following list of tuples:

[('xkb', 'us'), ('xkb', 'it')]

The second command: $ gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources xkb-options yields the following list:

['grp:alt_shift_toggle', 'grp_led:scroll']

And apparently it's supposed to be grp:caps_toggle...why it's alt_shift_toggle I have no idea...

  • Are you running a desktop, and if so, which one exactly? Also, what's the problem with rebooting? It's the easiest way to change the keyboard configuration system wide. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 1 '18 at 16:11
  • @GunnarHjalmarsson Thanks for replying. Yes, it's gnome. The problem with rebooting is that as it's stated in the docs there's a more simple way of doing that. Does it mean I have to reboot my system every time I change anything like that?! I have a hell of a lot of apps open and a few important processes running....I don't want them to shut down. – Albert Apr 1 '18 at 16:19
  • @GunnarHjalmarsson Alright, I've just rebooted the system and as expected it didn't help. – Albert Apr 1 '18 at 16:25
  • Please run these two commands: 1. gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources sources 2. gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources xkb-options Then let us know what they output by editing your question. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 1 '18 at 16:33
  • @GunnarHjalmarsson I just did and posted the output in the EDIT. – Albert Apr 1 '18 at 16:44

Probably your user's settings override the system wide ditto as defined in /etc/default/keyboard.

The keyboard layouts seem to be fine. To define a compose key and change the shortcut for layout switching, it's easiest to install Tweak (the gnome-tweak-tool package) and do it from there. Such changes should be effective instantly.

| improve this answer | |
  • So you want to say there's some other config file that I don't know of ? Because no matter what I write in the /etc/default/keyboard it changes absolutely nothing. – Albert Apr 1 '18 at 17:12
  • @Albert: Yes. It's the ~/.config/dconf/user file. (But that's not a text file.) – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 1 '18 at 17:23

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