Backspace Deleting Every Other Character

The IPA (SIL) keyboard used through Keyman is showing a new behavior on my machine where it will for some reason only delete every other character when using the backspace key. I have not been able to determine why this is happening, it was fine just a couple of days ago and now does this consistently. I have already rebooted the machine and reinstalled the keyboard, no other layout seems to be showing this behavior.

Hi @Glottophilos,

I’m sorry that you have difficulty using the IPA (SIL) keyboard. You can try uninstalling Keyman, reboot the computer, and reinstall Keyman and the keyboard latest version.

If the problem still occur, please let me know.

I have tested this keyboard v​1.8.6 with Keyman v16.0.144 on Window 11 and the backspace works fine.

Have a nice day!

Yes, I’m afraid it is still happening after these steps!

Jonathan Walls

Hi @Glottophilos,

Can I know what operating system are you using so I can try to reproduce the issue? Is the problem occur everywhere on your computer? and is the backspace not working well with the IPA (SIL) keyboard only?


Thank you! I am using Manjaro Linux (trying to replicate on Ubuntu may show the same behavior), and it does appear to be happening globally on the system - any application I type in shows this behavior. It does only appear to be happening when using the IPA (SIL) keyboard however, any other language keyboard seems to be behaving normally.

Jonathan Walls

Can you confirm that you’re using 16.0 Keyman, not 17.0 (the current alpha)? Having a precise version (e.g. would help us narrow down potential causes.

The version should be prominently displayed either in an “About Keyman” dialog or within the app help, though I’m admittedly less familiar with the exact location of the version string on our Linux platform.

it was fine just a couple of days ago and now does this consistently

This seems to imply that an update broke things, but as for updates from us… the latest 16.0 version is one we published in November. Our 17.0 alpha updates far more frequently. (There is always a small chance that a Linux update did something, but we really hope it’s not that.)

Also, to be 100% sure, you are using sil_ipa within Keyman for Linux?

and it does appear to be happening globally on the system - any application I type in shows this behavior

This certainly implies Keyman for Linux; it’d just help to have confirmation.

Thank you for checking! Yes, it appears I am using Keyman v16.0.144-1, and I am using sil_ipa v1.8.6.

@EberhardBeilharz can you help?

Hi @Glottophilos,

Sorry that it’s not working correctly for you. A few additional questions:

Are you using X11 or Wayland? Are you using Gnome?

Does it also happen in LibreOffice and gedit?

Does it happen with other Keyman keyboards?

Do you have the patched ibus version installed, i.e. ibus with Add prefilter flag by ermshiperete · Pull Request #2440 · ibus/ibus · GitHub applied?

I am using X11 with KDE Plasma v5.27.10.

****I apologize, I think I was wrong before, it looks like it actually may be happening exclusively in Firefox! LibreOffice and Chromium seem to be fine for some reason.

No, other keyboards are functioning normally.

As for the Ibus version I’m not 100% sure which version number the PR corresponds to, but I’m using v1.5.29-2 if that helps!

Only in Firefox, ok. Then this raises the question how that is installed: as a flatpak/snap package (which bring their own version of ibus), or directly on the system where it uses the system’s ibus libraries.

As for ibus, the PR hasn’t been accepted yet by the ibus owners, so you’ll have to apply the patch locally and recompile on your machine. And/or you could ask the maintainers of the Arch Linux ibus package to apply the patch.

Got it! I think the last part may be the answer here since I have it installed directly via the AUR, so it may be simple enough to contact the maintainers and see if they could add it (although if I can find the time I may also be able to do it myself, time is just a precious luxury for me at the moment). Thank you so much for your help!!!

Jonathan Walls

Could it be that there’s an invisible character involved?

For example, if the Zero-Width Joiner (U+200D) is placed between 2 characters, then after backspacing the first character, pressing Backspace again will remove the ZWJ but that would not be visible on screen.

I would be surprised if this were the case, it first highlights the character that is meant to be deleted and then deletes the character behind that, rather than only working once every two presses, it quite literally hops over characters. Besides that, I’m not quite sure where the invisible characters would be coming from in the typing process.

I doubt that what I described is your problem however I can explain where an invisible character could come from.

On some keyboards, an invisible character make be encoded as part of another key. For example, this could be done in order to help certain programmes recognise where to take a new line in scripts which have historically continued words across lines but for which, in nowadays, it is more desirable not to do so.

I don’t think the sil_ipa keyboard outputs invisible characters.

The conversation has resolved.