After upgrading Ubuntu Gnome to 16.04, the multimedia keys / extra keys (like play/pause, volume up/down, mute, calculator, forward, backward, etc.) of my old Cherry G86-21050 DEAAAA keyboard showed a strange behavior: Whenever one of the buttons was pressed, its effect was repeated over and over, just as if the button was stuck. So pressing pause would play and pause the song over and over, pressing calculator would open hundreds of calculator windows. Pressing another special keys stopped the previous effect from repeating, but repeated the effect of the last special key over and over. The normal keys (letter, numbers etc.) were not affected.
As the effect appeared after the upgrade for all special keys, I was sure it was a software problem and not a hardware problem.
Digging around with evtest (no, it is not a good idea to run evtest –grab on your keyboard in a tty :D), I found out that the key events are not repeated multiple times, but the keys are not released.
Annoyed, I tried another keyboard (Logitech Elite Keyboard) for comparison. The special keys of that one worked well.
Finally, I accidentally plugged the “faulty” Cherry Keyboard in the USB port that I had the working Logitech in between and voila: The Cherry’s special keys worked again.
So lesson learned: Have you tried plugging it out and in again? Is the first question you should ask (yourself) whenever some USB device behaves strangely.