Restoring C-A-backspace to Xorg server

Recent versions of Xorg have removed the old stalwart key combination of pressing CTRL-ALT-BKSPACE to kill the X server. I’m not sure why this was removed. I can only guess that such a drastic way of exiting your X session, without of course asking if you need to save any of your documents, was regarded as a non-desktop way of doing things. Although I like this key combo I can see this reasoning only too well.

If, like me, you like this behaviour to be restored then there are a few ways of doing so.

  • If you use .xinitrc or .xsession to manage your X session, then simply run this command from there:

    setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp

    On Gentoo (the distro I use) you’ll need to emerge the following package:

    x11-apps/setxkbmap
  • If you use HAL to manage input devices, copy the following few lines into the fdi file from /etc/hal/fdi/policy/ which you use to control your keyboard.

    Incidentally HAL was deprecated as of x.org 1.8 in favour of udev. So if your distro uses Xorg.18 or higher you’ll need to find a different way

     <merge key="input.xkb.options" type="string">terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp</merge> 

    (If you do not have any custom keyboard rules, you can copy and adapt rules from /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/10-x11-input.fdi)

  • Finally you can edit xorg.conf with the following code to your keyboard’s InputDevice section :

     Option "XkbOptions" "terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp".

    

  •  

     

    This entry was posted in Computergeekery and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.