Terminator terminal suddenly inserting each character twice when broadcasting to multiple windows

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Published on June 3rd 2019 - Listed in Linux Internet Shell

Something very annoying hit me today when using Terminator: As soon as I switched to "Broadcast all" or "Broadcast group", the primary window would get the correct keyboard input, but all the others would get each character twice.

Let me show that in an example:

Terminator with double inserted character

As you can see, in the not-selected window below, each entered character is appearing twice.

This was working last week, I am sure. So what did change?

ibus is to blame

On my research I pretty quickly came across an Ubuntu bug on the terminator package, which is about that problem. The comments of that bug report led me to "ibus". According to Ubuntu's ibus help page, ibus is:

an input method framework for multilingual input in Unix-like operating systems

Interesting... I don't use a multilingual input. But now that I've read this, I suddenly remembered that this weekend I noticed a sudden change of keyboard input which was set to US-English instead of my default of Swiss German. And I would certainly not change that as I'm using a Swiss German keyboard layout.

So how and why did ibus come on my system? Or has it always been running?

No, zoom is actually to blame!

The apt history reveals more:

WM2856l ~ # zgrep ibus /var/log/apt/history.log.1.gz -A 2 -B 2

Start-Date: 2019-05-29  10:09:58
Install: libxcb-xtest0:amd64 (1.10-2ubuntu1, automatic), ibus:amd64 (1.5.5-1ubuntu3.2, automatic), dconf-cli:amd64 (0.20.0-1, automatic)
End-Date: 2019-05-29  10:10:02

ibus was obviously installed a couple of days ago, just after 10am. But why? This is the same time I was invited into a Zoom meeting and installed the package for Linux Mint:

Zoom deb package downloaded

admck@WM2856l ~ $ ls -la /home/admck/Downloads/zoom_amd64.deb
-rw-r--r-- 1 admck admck 66321120 May 29 10:09 /home/admck/Downloads/zoom_amd64.deb

Ha! Gotcha!

So the installation of the zoom deb package caused an installation of a dependency; ibus in this case. Besides ibus the zoom package also changed my default keyboard layout, as written above. Not nice!

Killing ibus and it works

But is it actually ibus causing the problem, as meanwhile suspected, or is it something else? Let's try this and kill the ibus daemon process:

admck@WM2856l ~ $ ps auxf|grep -i ibus
admck    11524  0.0  0.0  12016  2388 pts/22   S+   15:29   0:00          |       |       \_ grep --colour=auto -i ibus
admck     2460  0.1  0.0 361940 11456 ?        Ssl  09:32   0:25 /usr/bin/ibus-daemon --daemonize --xim
admck     2479  0.0  0.0 276960  6500 ?        Sl   09:32   0:00  \_ /usr/lib/ibus/ibus-dconf
admck     2480  0.0  0.1 519520 24524 ?        Sl   09:32   0:08  \_ /usr/lib/ibus/ibus-ui-gtk3
admck     2539  0.0  0.0 201228  6360 ?        Sl   09:32   0:07  \_ /usr/lib/ibus/ibus-engine-simple
admck     2490  0.0  0.0 285896 13296 ?        Sl   09:32   0:11 /usr/lib/ibus/ibus-x11 --kill-daemon

WM2856l ~ # kill 2460

WM2856l ~ # ps auxf|grep -i ibus
root     11689  0.0  0.0  12016  2420 pts/22   S+   15:31   0:00          |       |                   \_ grep --colour=auto -i ibus

OK, the ibus processes are gone. What about terminator?

Terminator working correctly again

Finally the input is showing up correctly, in both windows.

If something gets me mad...

... its a package installation which brings some "hidden inconveniences" with it. Of course I immediately uninstalled the zoom and the packages which were installed as a dependency to zoom.

WM2856l ~ # apt remove zoom ibus libxcb-xtest0 dconf-cli

If someone from Zoom reads this, please clean this up. Thanks. This happened on Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 64bit by the way.

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