Is there an actual reason for this change?

Story: How to kill the X server in Linux: alt-PrintScreen-k does what ctrl-alt-backspace used to doTotal Replies: 10
Author Content

Mar 05, 2013
4:24 AM EDT
The only thing I can think of might be concievably be a "sensible" reson, would be the cramped, non-standard mess some laptop keyboards make of the standard layout:

It's conceivable that CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE might be triggered by accident

-- but I've never heard of anyone actually suffering this mishap.

Mar 05, 2013
5:32 AM EDT
I do not think that this deviation from the Xorg default behavior is general. It seems that this article is yet another attempt to pretend that Ubuntu is the only Gnu/Linux.r described as Ubuntu specific, now we have the reverse.

Mar 05, 2013
5:53 AM EDT
@Bernard, that's the same question I had, and upon checking Global keyboard shortcuts on my Linux Mint KDE desktop I discovered CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + DEL now does what CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE used to do.

I'm still rather perplexed as to why the change.

Mar 05, 2013
11:27 AM EDT
It's conceivable that CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE might be triggered by accident

Yep, that was the rationale a couple of years back:

Mar 05, 2013
12:24 PM EDT
FWIW, the article doesn't mention the Linux distribution involved. It's Debian.

Mar 05, 2013
12:43 PM EDT
The "use cases" listed in he "XorgCtrlAltBackspace" link seemed a little overblown. Let's change something that's been in place for years and years to fix a problem that the vast, vast majority of users are going to experience maybe once every few years. (Unless they're totally incapable of controlling where their fingers strike the keyboard.) I cannot recall ever pressing that sequence of keys by accident (and my typing skills still suck rather badly). All this has done is move a magic sequence of keypresses to another location on the keyboard which klutzy keyboard users will accidentally discover them during their attempts to get themselves out of a jam and they've gone into "press-all-the-keys-until-something-happens" mode. These are the same people who used to click on everything in sight on Windows when they didn't know what to do and now expect that same action will do something positive when using Linux. Bending over backwards for these folks is just going to tick off your installed base.

Mar 05, 2013
1:04 PM EDT
I suspect all distros make minor changes like this. Even steadfast ol' Slackware makes these minor changes, now and then. For years the "three finger salute", ctrl-alt-del, would do a full reboot from anywhere. Then, a few revs back, it changed to only kill X if you were in X and repeating that keystrokes would then reboot. Why? I have no idea.

Make yer own distro and do it how you want it! Such is Linux. ;)

Mar 05, 2013
5:31 PM EDT
This article describes using a generic kernel facility, otherwise known as 'magic sysrq'. In this case, it tells the kernel to kill all processes on the current console. X isnt really special cased, except it happens to be running on the console at the time. There are a score of such 'alt sysrq' combinations, directing the kernel to do various things, such as reBoot, Unmount all filesystems, etc.

Mar 05, 2013
8:27 PM EDT

Thank you very much, for that clarification. That even makes sense.

(I actually noticed the resemblance to the traditional "Raising Elephants Is So Utterly Boring" incantation, but didn't realize it was intrinsic).

Mar 06, 2013
12:49 AM EDT
this is not an ubuntu thing, this is a change that was at one point actually made by Xorg. fedora picked up the change too: others i don't know.

that particular change has been reverted:

but as the comment explains that this is handled by xkb now so we need to look there for what the current default is.

greetings, eMBee.

Mar 06, 2013
3:05 AM EDT
On many an occasion I have opened a virtual console and killed GDM from there, but it's a lot of steps. alt-PrintScreen-k is much quicker if I don't have any other processes running that I wish to keep alive.

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!