I am using Ubuntu 20.10. My system language is Esperanto but I use the German keyboard layout and type Esperanto letters using a "dead" key (circumflex). I don't have an Esperanto keyboard configured.

Starting a few weeks ago my keyboard layout switches to the Esperanto layout in a seemingly random way. When I click on the keyboard menu it still shows the German layout as active, and when I click on "show keyboard layout" the German layout is displayed. But typing produces the characters from the Esperanto layout. For instance the key next to RETURN produces a backslash, while in the German layout it should produce a pound/number sign.

I cannot say if this happens truly randomly or by an involuntary action from myself. But it happens many times per day.

I have now added the German (Switzerland) keyboard, and switching to this and back to German (Germany) restores the German layout. But I would still prefer to understand what is happening and how I can avoid it.

Thanks, Gunnar Hjalmarsson, here is my /etc/default/keyboard:


# Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.


The "epo" layout is, of course, suspicious, maybe I should try to change it to "deu". But under settings / region and language I have no epo keyboard configured, just German (Germany), German (Switzerland), English (US) and Greek. I could remove the last two, which I never use.

When I log in the keyboard layout is set to German, so if the XKBLAYOUT is at fault it is not effective immediately.



1 Answer 1


"epo" is probably there since you selected "Esperanto" as the language when you installed Ubuntu.

It's easiest to change it manually. Open the file for editing

gedit admin:///etc/default/keyboard

and replace "epo" with "de". Then save and reboot.

  • Thanks again, Gunnar Hjalmarsson; since "epo" uses a three-letter language code I had assumed that German would use "deu", which gave me a busy and a bit frustrating week. Re-reading your answer I found that you proposed the two-letter code "de". It seems to have done the job. The strange thing is that I had never had the problem in many years.
    – Renardo
    Nov 16, 2020 at 17:35
  • @Renardo: Good that you figured it out. Note that keyboard layouts typically are denoted by country codes, not language codes. So English (US) is us, not en. (Esperanto is a special case, since it doesn't have a natural home country.) Nov 16, 2020 at 20:16

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