Groesbeek, view of the 'National Liberation Museum 1944-1945' in Groesbeek. © Ton Kersten
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That bloody Shift-Backspace

2009-04-24 (16) by Ton Kersten, tagged as old

On my laptop I'm running Ubuntu Linux 8.04 with XFCE 4.6 and it works great. But (Isn't there always a 'but'?) every once in a while I killed my Xsession with some type of key combination. The standard combination for this is Ctrl-Alt-Backspace so I switched that off in the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf'. I added theServerFlags` section, like this.

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option "DontZap"    "on"

After restarting I tried the dreadful Ctrl-Alt-Backspace and I thought that 'Bob's your uncle'.

How disappointed I would be. I started work again and suddenly my X session was killed again, and again and again. And then I saw it, I was not pushing the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace combo, but I tried to insert text with Shift-Insert and accidentally hit Shift-Backspace. Now I had a point to start my search.

Googling and file digging revealed that my keyboard was set to PC-101 and that it should be PC-105. Strange, but solvable. I switched the keyboard in the XFCE settings panel and my problem was solved. It can also be solved by adding

setxkbmap -model pc105 -layout us -variant basic

to the startup script for your window manager.

But, of course, I could not just accept the solution and leave it to that. The problem turned out to be Compiz, the fantastic OpenGL accelerated desktop. This has a feature that the Shift-Backspace turns out to be for debugging purposes.
Yeah, right! We already had Ctrl-Alt-Backspace for that, right!