My first DontZap use case while testing F11 beta

Lars E. Pettersson lars at
Fri Apr 17 21:29:02 UTC 2009

On 04/17/2009 10:32 PM, Anders Rayner-Karlsson wrote:
> * Lars E. Pettersson <lars at> [20090417 21:37]:
>> How often does people actually accidentally press ctrl-alt-backspace? I  
>> have *never* done it.
> By same argument, taking a rather tongue in cheek attitude, how often
> does countries with nuclear ICBM's launch them by accident?

It is not argument as such. If the decision has been made to remove this 
functionality, the decision has to be based on something. In this case 
it seem to be based on that people accidentally can press this 
key-stroke combination and loose data. If this is the case, it is 
important to know how often this actually happens.

If you look at real life. In our kitchens we have knifes. You can 
accidentally injure yourself quite badly with a knife. Should we just 
because of this zap all knife blades to make them safe?

I.e. we have made a decision that knifes are good to have, accidents do 
happen, but the benefit from having knifes are greater than the 
consequences of the accidents that can happen. So we keep our knifes.

This analogy converted to this discussion says that OK some, a few, may 
accidentally press ctrl-alt-backspace, but at the same time this 
particular key-stroke is very handy under those circumstances when X 
behaves badly. By removing the functionality you also adds another cost, 
the cost of extra data loss and other problems, i.e. with file systems, 
as user, when ctrl-alt-backspace does not work, finally will press the 
reset button or power cycle their computer. As I see it the benefit from 
having ctrl-alt-backspace is greater than the cost of a few loosing data.

I.e. how often this problem happens, people accidentally pressing 
ctrl-alt-backspace, is a valid question in this discussion. Does it 
happen more often than X crashes? Or less? This is an important 
parameter in the decision to keep, or not keep, the functionality.

> While you certainly can present an argument based on that you have
> _never_ done this by accident, I'd like to point you at
> for reasons why
> this is, IMHO, not a sustainable platform to argue from.

Sigh! I just mentioned that *I* had never accidentally pressed this key 
combination during all those years that I have been using Linux, and 
therefore find it strange that this has become such a big issue that 
some wants to remove this functionality. It was *NOT* ment to be a 
platform to argue from, such an argument would be plainly stupid. If I 
during all my years have never accidentally pressed this combination, 
how often does it happen to others? I.e. for me X crashes have happened 
way more often then me accidentally pressing ctrl-alt-backspace. How is 
it for others?

English is not my first language, I hope you get what I am getting at 
this time...

> As has been explained *extensively* already, you will still have the
> ability to do what you desire - but you will need to (trivially)
> enable this yourself in future. As also has been posited already, this
> has been blown way out of proportion, quite possibly based on
> erroneous assumptions.

What I will do or not do, or what the consequences will be for me 
personally is actually totally un-important for this discussion. I will 
just enable the functionality and live on as before.

The important thing is that this removal can create problems for new 
user of Linux. Why should we learn them to restart the whole machine 
when it is not needed, and even may create extra data loss, and even 
problems with the file system. I actually can not understand this. 
Should we not make life easy for the new ones?

Lars E. Pettersson <lars at>

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