Caps lock : "windows" behaviour missing

Bug #292158 reported by ®om
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

I am installing Ubuntu for someone who would like to keep the windows behaviour for "caps lock" (they never need to write ÉÈÀÇ), they prefer write numbers activating "caps lock".

In System → Preferences → Keyboard → Layout → Other options... there are a lot of choices, but no one give the behaviour they want :
- caps lock activated → when typing on key 'a' it writes 'A', when typing on '2/é' it writes '2' (but not 'É')
- caps lock deactivated → when typing on key 'a' it writes 'a', when typing on '2/é' it writes 'é'

The last option (caps-lock behaves as Shift locked) give this behaviour, but it is exactly as if we keep the shift key pressed, so:
- caps lock LED doesn't change
- left and right keys select a text instead of move the cursor

Tags: keyboard
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®om (rom1v) wrote :
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®om (rom1v) wrote :

Do you plan to add this option?

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Dominik Smatana (dominik-smatana) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to make Ubuntu better. Since what you submitted is not really a bug, or a problem, but rather an idea to improve Ubuntu, you are invited to post your idea in Ubuntu Brainstorm at where it can be discussed, voted by the community and reviewed by developers. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion!

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Arnaudus (a-lerouzic) wrote :

I find that forwarding the problem to Brainstorm is a bit of an easy way to get rid of a real problem. I understand that the issue is difficult to grasp if you have never used an AZERTY keyboard, but as a matter of fact, the reaction of people using Ubuntu for the first time is that "the keyboard is broken". See question for instance.

To summarize the problem, the Caps Lock implementation in Windows is bugged (it's actually a Shift-Lock). With an AZERTY keyboard, this makes a huge difference, since the digits of the top row are available with "shift", so that is is impossible to lock the access to digits with caps lock, and not possible at all when there is no "num lock" on the keyboard (such as on some laptops). The available option (caps-lock behaves as Shift locked) is confusingly close to the expected Windows behavior, but cannot be used in practice (because it makes the mouse not usable).

The point is not to change the default behavior, but to provide an option to make the "Windows-like" system much easier to trigger. This issue is seen as a bug for most people, so it has to be addressed as a bug -- we have to be able to answer "this is not the default behavior, but you can fix this doing this and this and this" in the forums, again, people coming from the Windows world really consider the keyboard to be broken in Ubuntu.

I confirm the "bug", and I really think it should be considered as a "wishlist" --please, don't believe it's not a bug because it does not affect your keyboard.

Changed in ubuntu:
status: New → Confirmed
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cameleon (el-cameleon-1) wrote :

I confirm that I see it as a bug, because the behaviour of the option "caps-lock behaves as Shift locked" is not usable, so it as to be fixed in a sens that it behaves like in windows (maybe it should be renamed?).

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Yves Bruggeman (ubuntu-coredump) wrote :

I fixed this by changing the type of keys <AE01> to <AE10> from FOUR_LEVEL to FOUR_LEVEL_ALPHABETIC

patch below is for AZERTY Belgium and was done on a Fedora 11, check your paths.

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Yves Bruggeman (ubuntu-coredump) wrote :
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leeroy jenkins (pietervaneynde) wrote :

Hey Yves,

thanks for the solution!

works perfect :-)


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giorgio_fornara (giorgio-fornara) wrote :


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Koen (koen-hendrickx) wrote :

Just for information:
My Belgian AZERTY keyboard doesn't mension CAPS lock, but SHIFT lock, so the behaviour of my keyboard is not the way it should be...

Can someone please explain me how to use the patch, i'm new to it... Thanks.

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Koen (koen-hendrickx) wrote :

I had a tip from the dutch forum what solved my problem
In "regional settings - keyboard layout - advanced" you can change a setting that the keyboard uses capslock as shiftlock...
That worked for me for all keys.

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Kristele (kris-slc) wrote :

I have the same problem but I don't understand what I need to do. Where is "Regional Settings" found? thank you!

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Zeugma (i-launchpad-boud-org) wrote :

Let's be just clear about this "bug" report: the fact that we cannot easily (i.e. in a switch in the control panel in Ubuntu 14.04 , or by choosing a windows like keyboard in the list of AZERTY keyboard available) is a clear stopper for adoption of Windows users that want could switch to Linux.

For any Windows user with AZERTY keyboard that could be switched to Ubuntu that I know of, the first impression they get is that the system "cannot manage such a simple thing as a keyboard". We are not going, as tech-savvy people, to teach a lambda user (say my mother) that they were wrong for years pressing cap lock to type numbers from the main part of the keyboard. It is just a habit. Typical scenario that I encounter several times to switch users from Windows to Ubuntu:
- Install Ubuntu
- Type user password. Most of the time there are numbers in it and the uncovered characters on the screenshot I type "the Windows way" by either pressing shift + number or by caps lock, number, un-caps lock
- At first login, they type it sometimes the other way => "wrong login or password entered"...
- If they pass the login, the first use of Libre Office to type a letter or use Calc make them yell
=> confidence immediately lost for something that is accepted in their mind as the expected behavior.

Then, when you start to explain the behavior is different, they is a clear aversion to change expressed (and I can understand it: if I'm used to type in some way for years, I don't want a computer to ask me to change my behavior, I expect the computer to follow my need).

Eventually, if I change the configuration to adapt the keyboard to behave like Windows, I need to do all the "seen as black magic very complicated stuff" to change the keyboard mappings etc: it is not a pain for me, but it is just a show stopper for the users that think now "wow, so contrary to what you told me, it won't be at all like you explained to me, Ubuntu is not going to be as easy as Widnows with free alternative software available for installation within a click etc"... Just because for a simple thing like keyboard management I was forced to edit core configuration files and restart their session / X11 / reboot...

What would really help: have a keyboard for AZERTY configuration available that reproduce the behavior of Windows keyboard. It would be as easy as selecting it during the installation process, and done!

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Gauthier Liénard (gauthier-lienard) wrote :


Sorry, I'm not sure if it's the best place to do that, but I actually test the Ubuntu Unity 16.04 Beta 2.

And with this version I can't find the previous advanced options (with Layout options. See ®om (rom1v) picture link) to solve this problem.

But the Yves Bruggeman (ubuntu-coredump) solution work.

So I have just add FOUR_LEVEL_ALPHABETIC in the the type of keys <AE01> to <AE10>, wich by the way have no type in this version? so I just added this type between ... { [ ...

So the question is: where is those previous advanced options in the 16.04?
And if have no more those options, should I (or somebody else) report it?

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jensi (jens-gmx) wrote :

This is clearly a bug and should be assigned a higher importance as it affects the majority of all Barcode scanners even correctly set to "France" . Most of them especially the cheaper ones need the windows way of CAPSLOCK to read numbers and not letters eg


and not




And as Zeugma said, many people have the (maybe bad) habit to use CAPSLOCK instead of shift for numbers or even worse they work with CAPSLOCK on all the time ( and type SHIFT for small letters )

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