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Xfwm4 modifier code broken on Finnish keyboard


Description Juho V 2005-01-09 21:33:13 CET
First of all I am running Debian sarge 3.1 with following XFree86 version:

XFree86 Version (Debian 4.3.0.dfsg.1-10 20041215174925
Release Date: 15 August 2003
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0, Release 6.6
Build Operating System: Linux 2.4.26 i686 [ELF]
Build Date: 15 December 2004

I ran into trouble with Xfwm4 4.0.6 because my so called windows key (Super_L)
doesn't work. I used several hours and tracked the problem down to keyboard.c
function "void initModifiers (Display * dpy)". The problem is that function
"XKeysymToKeycode" returns keycode values that are only valid on US keyboard and
I'm using Finnish keyboard layout. So at least modifier key Super is pretty much

I upgraded to Xfce4 newest release candidate (Xfce 4.2 RC3) and can
fully reproduce the problem. In addition to that, the Window Manager preferences
 in the new version don't work the right way. If I want to bind a key to ie.
changing of workspace and the dialog window opens, when I press my Super_L
button the dialog immediately closes and I don't even have time to press another
button in addition to the modifier! This is probably also because of wrong
SuperMask in keyboard.c (the mask is 0 because the modifier key is not found).

Now, other window managers I've used use Mod1, Mod2, Mod3, Mod4 and Mod5 for
binding the modifiers and I don't understand why Xfwm is working differently.
I'm sorry if it sounds rude but I think it's stupid to just ignore xmodmap
settings for modifiers. I've also tried to fix it the other way using
XKeycodeToKeysym and compare keys in keyboard.c initModifiers function but my X
server still uses US keyboard variables to make the conversion and I very much
believe they are hardcoded to the X server. (Haven't checked yet)

Now I could make a patch that removes all references to current AltMask,
SuperMask etc. and changes them to use Mod1Mask, Mod2Mask, Mod3Mask etc. However
before I do any work I would like to hear developers' opinion about this whole
situation. Right now I'm using the following patch which you can find from the
URL section and edit the modifiers to the keythemerc manually. I think this bug
is critical enough to be included in the final Xfce 4.2 version and I hope you
could at least include my quick fix.

Also I believe the bugs 288 (http://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=288) and
520 (http://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=520) are related to this bug.
Notice that upgrading to the latest version doesn't fix this problem. I'm
eagerly waiting for comments, this is a good piece of software and this kind of
bugs are really annoying. I also don't want to patch myself every time there's a
new release of Xfce.

Juho Vähä-Herttua
Comment 1 Juho V 2005-01-09 21:36:55 CET
Created attachment 143 
Quick fix for Mod-keys on Finnish keyboard

Added my quick fix as an attachment as it should be and not an url as earlier.
Comment 2 Olivier Fourdan editbugs 2005-01-10 19:09:16 CET
Your patch is not correct. Removing keynames is not the way to go.

Your problem comes from the fact that the Super_L and Super_R aren't set as

Create a $HOME/.Xmodmap file and put this 

keycode 115 = Super_L
add Mod4 = Super_L

keycode 116 = Super_R
add Mod5 = Super_R

Then load it with "xmodmap $HOME/.Xmodmap" and use Super_L and Super_R as
keynames in your keyboardrc definition. That should work.

The problem with other bug reports is that GTK seems to report Mod4 and Mod5
even if keynames are set to Super_L and Super_R, and the keyboard shortcut
editor does not report the correct keyname.

In a nutshell, I'm yet to be convinced it's a bug with xfwm4.

Comment 3 Juho V 2005-01-10 20:03:16 CET
I forgot to attach my xmodmap output in the first post. Before doing anything
(when it doesn't work) my xmodmap output is following:

juhovh@enlightened:~$ xmodmap
xmodmap:  up to 3 keys per modifier, (keycodes in parentheses):

shift       Shift_L (0x32),  Shift_R (0x3e)
lock        Caps_Lock (0x42)
control     Control_L (0x25),  Control_R (0x6d)
mod1        Alt_L (0x40),  Alt_L (0x7d),  Meta_L (0x9c)
mod2        Num_Lock (0x4d)
mod4        Super_L (0x7f),  Hyper_L (0x80)
mod5        Mode_switch (0x5d),  ISO_Level3_Shift (0x7c)

After adding the .Xmodmap you suggest the xmodmap output is following (as

juhovh@enlightened:~$ xmodmap
xmodmap:  up to 3 keys per modifier, (keycodes in parentheses):

shift       Shift_L (0x32),  Shift_R (0x3e)
lock        Caps_Lock (0x42)
control     Control_L (0x25),  Control_R (0x6d)
mod1        Alt_L (0x40),  Alt_L (0x7d),  Meta_L (0x9c)
mod2        Num_Lock (0x4d)
mod4        Super_L (0x7f),  Hyper_L (0x80),  Super_L (0x73)
mod5        Mode_switch (0x5d),  ISO_Level3_Shift (0x7c),  Super_R (0x74)

And third one after the second one:

juhovh@enlightened:~$ setxkbmap fi
juhovh@enlightened:~$ xmodmap
xmodmap:  up to 3 keys per modifier, (keycodes in parentheses):

shift       Shift_L (0x32),  Shift_R (0x3e)
lock        Caps_Lock (0x42)
control     Control_L (0x25),  Control_R (0x6d)
mod1        Alt_L (0x40),  Alt_L (0x7d),  Meta_L (0x9c)
mod2        Num_Lock (0x4d)
mod4        Super_L (0x7f),  Hyper_L (0x80)
mod5        Mode_switch (0x5d),  ISO_Level3_Shift (0x7c)

Ok, I admit I should've realized from the beginning that adding an additional
Super_L with keycode 0x73 to the xmodmap will do the job, because after this the
XGetModifierMapping will report 0x73 as mod4 and then mod4 will be marked as
SuperMask. However I definitely don't agree this is a right solution, because as
you can see, setting the modmap to Finnish keyboard layout brings us back to the
problem that Super_L is 0x7f. In bug 288 the last message he seems to get it
work with 0x7f, I don't have explanation why this works with him and not with
me, I just know the XKeysymToKeycode returns wrong keycode for my keyboard.

Also I believe my patch is correct. I've understood that the Mod4 has always the
modifiermask 0x40, because the modifiermask is a 8-bit mask where bits are in
order: Mod5, Mod4, Mod3, Mod2, Mod1, Control, Lock, Shift. Anyway, I see no
point in first modifying my xmodmap to map keycode 0x73 to Shift_L, then include
Shift_L to Mod4, after that let xfwm4 read keycodes of Mod4 and compare them to
Shift_L hardcoded in X server (0x73) and decide that SuperMask is the same as
Mod4Mask (1<<6) and then read Mod4 from keythemerc and then set it to SuperMask.
When it can set the Mod4 directly to Mod4Mask and I don't have to mess up my

Now to conclude this all, I agree that your solution fixes the problem (but only
if I put 'xmodmap /home/juhovh/.Xmodmap' to .xinitrc before 'xfce4-session'
because otherwise Finnish layout overrides it), but I don't agree that it's not
a problem of xfwm4.

Thanks for your time and let me know if I have some facts wrong, I just want a
satisfying explanation. ;)


Comment 4 Olivier Fourdan editbugs 2005-01-10 20:19:27 CET
Sorry, I indeed misread your patch. It's clear that it shoudln't hurt so I have
no objection in including it.
Comment 5 Olivier Fourdan editbugs 2005-01-10 20:23:53 CET
The problem I see (not related with your patch) is that the shortcut editor
(using GTK+) gives keynames taht don't match. For example, the shortcut editor
doesn't see Super_L and Super_R as modifiers while the WM correctly treat them
as modifiers.

I don't know if that problem lies in gtk.
Comment 6 Olivier Fourdan editbugs 2005-01-10 20:33:13 CET
Did you try with xev to get the keycode?

Here the windows key gives :

KeyPress event, serial 31, synthetic NO, window 0x1c00001,
    root 0x8f, subw 0x0, time 9526644, (59,131), root:(63,183),
    state 0x0, keycode 115 (keysym 0xffeb, Super_L), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes:
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes:
    XFilterEvent returns: False

And 0x73 = 115, not 7F. Therefore the Windows key is 0x73 definitely not 0x7F.
Comment 7 Juho V 2005-01-10 21:56:34 CET
Now this starts to get more clear, xev actually tells me it's 0x73 so it's the
debian keymap that is a problem in the Super_L case, I thought I already checked
this but apparently not, sorry for that. I still don't quite understand why
default keymap for Finnish keyboard is using wrong keycodes in debian and why
Shift_L was correctly marked as Mod4 in events although the keycode wasn't the
same as in xev. Also I'm very curious to know where that XKeysymToKeycode gets
its mappings if it's not the keymap loaded with setxkbmap, but it's not related
to this bug any more and I'll find it out myself. My earlier window managers
have just used ModX modifiers so I haven't had problems with this, I also used
Gnome for a while and it worked well so I'm not sure how it handles the keys.

I'll install the newest version of Xfce4 permanently tomorrow and check how it
acts with correct modmap in the shortcut editor. I still think the patch is ok
since I think it's a good idea that Mod4 really is modifier 4 as in events from
the server and not the modifier number of Super_L or Super_R. And it seems you
already included it in the CVS. But otherwise this looks very promising, I'll
keep xfce as my default desktop and see if something else comes up. Thank you
for very fast reply and great help in solving this. 

Good luck with year 2005 and Xfce 4.2.

Comment 8 Olivier Fourdan editbugs 2005-01-11 20:29:55 CET
Default to 0x7F for French keyboard on Fedora too, so it's not a Debian/Finnish

Please note that fix won't be in 4.2.0 unless you can convince Benny to move the
Comment 9 Juho V 2005-01-15 10:51:49 CET
Today I finally sent mail to Benny and he moved the tag so it's now included in 4.2.

Bug #667

Reported by:
Juho V
Reported on: 2005-01-09
Last modified on: 2009-07-14


Olivier Fourdan
CC List:
1 user



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