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I have a keyboard layout that uses ISO_Level5_Shift to provide arrow keys. From my layout symbols file:

key <AC06> { type[Group1]="EIGHT_LEVEL", [ d, D, ampersand,  U2227, Home,  Home,  Greek_delta,   Greek_DELTA   ]};
key <AC07> { type[Group1]="EIGHT_LEVEL", [ h, H, parenright, U27E9, Left,  Left,  Greek_eta,     Greek_ETA,  U210F  ]};
key <AC08> { type[Group1]="EIGHT_LEVEL", [ t, T, parenleft,  U27E8, Down,  Down,  Greek_tau,     Greek_TAU     ]};
key <AC09> { type[Group1]="EIGHT_LEVEL", [ n, N, slash,      U2115, Right, Right, Greek_nu,      Greek_NU      ]};
key <AC10> { type[Group1]="EIGHT_LEVEL", [ s, S, underscore, U2237, End,   End,   Greek_sigma,   Greek_SIGMA   ]};

These work in most programs (Firefox, Eclipse, Vim, ...). Unfortunately they do not work in any Java Swing GUI that I have ever used. In particular, they do not work in IntelliJ IDEA, and this is what has been bugging me in particular.

Is there something I could change in my layout, or Java-related environment variables, or IDEA configuration, that might fix this problem?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

OK I found a solution. It is not really ideal, but it does get the desired behavior.

First, I dumped the complete state of my keyboard configuration using

$ xkbcomp $DISPLAY - > now.xkb

Then I found the lines

interpret Overlay1_Enable+AnyOfOrNone(all) {
    action= LockControls(controls=Overlay1);

and changed it to

interpret Overlay1_Enable+AnyOfOrNone(all) {
    action= SetControls(controls=Overlay1);

which prevents the modifier from being "sticky" ie it only applies while you are holding the key down.

Then I took the key that used to be my ISO_Level5_Shift:

key  <TAB> {
    type= "ONE_LEVEL",
    symbols[Group1]= [ ISO_Level5_Shift ]

and changed it to Overlay1_Enable:

key  <TAB> {
    type= "ONE_LEVEL",
    symbols[Group1]= [ Overlay1_Enable ]

Then for every key where I wanted the change to take effect, I added an overlay definition:

key <AD07> {
    type= "EIGHT_LEVEL",
    overlay1= <PGUP>,
    symbols[Group1]= [               g,               G,        asterisk,               G,           Prior,               G,     Greek_gamma,     Greek_GAMMA ]

Then a re-applied the whole thing with

$ xkbcomp now.xkb $DISPLAY

Useful documentation:

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