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So, I have installed Ubuntu 18.04 MATE, and Compose key simply refuses to work but only in X. When I Ctrl+Alt+F2 and login via the console, it works fine, because the rule is setup in /etc/default/keyboard to:

XKBOPTIONS="compose:lwin,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"

Now, I've tried looking at the event generation in xev, and actually, there is a composition but then it's dropped. Here's the output:

KeyPress event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1230828, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 133 (keysym 0xff20, Multi_key), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: True

KeyPress event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1230976, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 48 (keysym 0x27, apostrophe), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (27) "'"
    XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (27) "'"
    XFilterEvent returns: True

KeyRelease event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1231050, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 48 (keysym 0x27, apostrophe), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (27) "'"
    XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1231100, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 133 (keysym 0xff20, Multi_key), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyPress event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1231274, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 38 (keysym 0x61, a), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (61) "a"
    XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (61) "a"
    XFilterEvent returns: True

KeyPress event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1231274, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 0 (keysym 0xe1, aacute), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 2 bytes: (c3 a1) "á"
    XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x4600001,
    root 0x13f, subw 0x0, time 1231377, (849,498), root:(857,592),
    state 0x0, keycode 38 (keysym 0x61, a), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (61) "a"
    XFilterEvent returns: False

But for some reason, this doesn't seem to generate á in the key composition.

I've compared this output of xev to my other machine, which is also Ubuntu 18.04 MATE, and where compose key does work. The output is the same! Here it is:

KeyPress event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157525, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 133 (keysym 0xff20, Multi_key), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 0 bytes: XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: XFilterEvent returns: True

KeyPress event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157645, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 48 (keysym 0x27, apostrophe), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (27) "'" XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (27) "'" XFilterEvent returns: True

KeyRelease event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157733, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 48 (keysym 0x27, apostrophe), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (27) "'" XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157765, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 133 (keysym 0xff20, Multi_key), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 0 bytes: XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyPress event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157877, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 38 (keysym 0x61, a), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (61) "a" XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (61) "a" XFilterEvent returns: True

KeyPress event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157877, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 0 (keysym 0xe1, aacute), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 0 bytes: XmbLookupString gives 2 bytes: (c3 a1) "á" XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 41, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001, root 0x121, subw 0x0, time 657157981, (84,42), root:(88,93), state 0x0, keycode 38 (keysym 0x61, a), same_screen YES, XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (61) "a" XFilterEvent returns: False

So, what can be the actual problem?

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