Is HandleSpecialKeys expected to work when xkeyboard is disabled?

Peter Hutterer peter.hutterer at
Sun Dec 13 14:46:20 PST 2009

On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 01:54:12PM -0800, Derek Fawcus wrote:
> 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.

this was corrected by the following commit:
commit 3a690598cf18c4cdc6aadd10a1ecf0772cacd34b
Author: Alan Coopersmith <alan.coopersmith at>
Date:   Tue Dec 2 12:59:57 2008 -0800

    Remove unused HandleSpecialKeys config option
This should be in the 1.6 man page if I'm not mistaken. What server version
are you using?

Mind you, I've just spotted other issues in the current man page to that
needs fixing too.


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