Is HandleSpecialKeys expected to work when xkeyboard is disabled?

Derek Fawcus dfawcus+lists-fdo-xorg at
Sat Dec 12 13:54:12 PST 2009

On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 07:19:40AM +1000, Peter Hutterer wrote:
> out of interest, which documentation refers to the handling of special keys
> working without XKB?

man Xorg

       The Xorg server is normally configured to recognize  various  special  combinations  of  key
       presses  that  instruct  the server to perform some action, rather than just sending the key
       press event to a client application.  The default XKEYBOARD keymap defines the key  combina-
       tions listed below.  The server also has these key combinations builtin to its event handler
       for cases where the XKEYBOARD extension is not being used.

Last sentance above.

man xorg.conf

       Option "HandleSpecialKeys" "when"
              This  option controls when the server uses the builtin handler to process special key
              combinations (such as Ctrl+Alt+Backspace).  Normally the XKEYBOARD extension  keymaps
              will  provide  mappings for each of the special key combinations, so the builtin han-
              dler is not needed unless the XKEYBOARD extension is disabled.  The value of when can
              be  Always,  Never,  or WhenNeeded.  Default: Use the builtin handler only if needed.
              The server will scan the keymap for a mapping to the Terminate action and, if  found,
              use XKEYBOARD for processing actions, otherwise the builtin handler will be used.

Second sentance above.

To my reading,  both give the impression that there is special code in the main
server event loop (no mention of keyboard driver choice) to handle the special
keys when XKEYBOARD is disabled.

So,  on the assumption that your statement about the actual behaviour,  being the
intended behaviour;  that seems to be at least a documentation bug. 


More information about the xorg mailing list