restarting X server

Glen Barber glen.j.barber at
Wed Mar 18 01:31:40 UTC 2009

On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 9:22 PM, Jonathan Byrne <jonathan at> wrote:
> So I see. Apparently those who would disable it won the day, then? This
> is unbelievable. I have never in my 10 years of Linux use accidentally
> hit ctrl-alt-backspace. Nor have my young children, who tend to pound
> away at the keyboard in a rather exuberant manner. They have, however,
> found all sorts of ways to hang X, especially when running full-screen
> apps, and hang it completely enough that ctrl-alt-backspace was the only
> option short of reboot.
> This makes me a pretty regular user of that feature.

Same for me.  Well, less the "children" part.

> I've been sitting here fiddling around with my keyboard and trying to
> imagine some way to accidentally hit ctrl-alt-backspace and have not yet
> come up with it, other than going for ctrl-alt-delete and missing. In
> that case, it's not a big deal if one's intent is to reboot and one
> instead kills X.

And if it fixes the problem. it's a few minutes saved.

> WRT the argument that data could be lost from apps where work wasn't
> saved, as seen in that link, all I can say is "duh." A reboot will
> cause that work to be lost, too. And the fact that we're using a highly
> stable OS doesn't mean we shouldn't save our work often. I do. :w is
> definitely part of my muscle memory :)
> If there is any other key combo that approximates ctrl-alt-backspace that
> I'm just not thinking of, *that* is the one that ought to be disabled,
> rather than remove a mainstay of X of many years' standing. I bet even
> GNOME doesn't do that :p
> If this issue is still up for debate, I hope leaving ctrl-alt-backspace
> alone will be more carefully considered as the best option. If it's
> not, well, Kubuntu is hardly the only distro out there.
> Yes, I can manually re-enable it. No, I shouldn't have to. If it's even
> going to be an option, it should come as a setup question in the
> installer, such as:
> Allow ctrl-alt-bksp to restart X? (Y/n)
> Allow ctrl-alt-del to reboot? (Y/n)

What about a prompt for the user?  This way, if X is hung, a timer
(say 15 seconds or so) will automatically restart X.

> Put it along with the dialog for setting up the first user, and you're
> all set.

This whole thing is poor practice, IMHO.  Now, "regular users" are
going to find out how to re-enable the "feature" by editing xorg.conf.
 So now, we have taken something that probably wouldn't happen --
pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace -- and created something that probably
will happen -- broken Xorg, causing unusable systems for these regular

Glen Barber

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