[ale] Err, what? VNC+VirtualBox keyboard problem, Ubuntu 9

JK jknapka at kneuro.net
Tue Jul 21 09:34:19 EDT 2009

Hi folks,

I need a ticket for the clue train...

Yesterday I upgraded by Ubuntu 8.10 box to Ubuntu 9.  It all went well.

I've noticed a weird issue, though.  I run several virtual Windows machines
in VirtualBox.  When I connect to the Ubuntu host machine via VNC and then
try to interact with one of the virtual machines, the keyboard acts strangely.
Specifically, I cannot type paren characters ()! Those keys simply do
nothing at all when (a) typed over the VNC connection, and (b) the foreground
window on the server is a VirtualBox VM window. Which is a PITA, since
I am trying to write code on one of the virtual machines, and those
characters therefore take on a disproportionate importance.

If I connect to the same VM using the Remote Desktop server provided
by VirtualBox, I don't have this problem.  I also don't have it when connecting
via VNC *directly* to the VM (that is, both the host OS and the guest OS
are running VNC, and I only have the problem when connecting to the
host and interacting with the VirtualBox window on the host machine's

I don't have any idea where to even begin looking for a solution to
this.  There don't seem to be any keyboard-related options in either
the VNC or VirtualBox configurations that look relevant, so I'm
wondering if it could be something related to the X keyboard mapping.
However, I *do not* have any problem when interacting with the
VMs when I'm physically at the host machine, so that seems unlikely.

Google says some vague things about keyboard layout settings in
VirtualBox, but nothing very helpful.

This problem definitely seems to have started with the upgrade
to Jaunty. I know I could successfully type parens last week.

Any ideas?


-- JK

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