Tass Iliopoulos

Ubuntu, Dvorak and Problems With Meta Key

Today, on my new Ubuntu installation, I noticed while using Emacs that the ALT (meta) key was doing funny things. When set to the Dvorak keyboard layout, holding the ALT key would effectively switch to QWERTY. Holding Control would not have this effect.

This only happened in Emacs, presumably because it takes keyboard input at a lower level than other applications. For example, ALT+F in any other application would still bring down the File menu.

So, it was like OSX’s Dvorak-Qwerty ⌘ mode, but for the ALT key and only for Emacs.

The fix?

First, I removed the QWERTY layout - the issue went away.

After closing the layout settings and re-opening, I could then re-add the English (US) layout as the second layout.

Holding ALT will now type the correct key when in Dvorak mode. However, the QWERTY layout is now switching to Dvorak on ALT.

The real fix?

I don’t know, yet.