My first DontZap use case while testing F11 beta

Mark markg85 at
Fri Apr 17 22:21:00 UTC 2009

On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 11:29 PM, Lars E. Pettersson <lars at> wrote:
> 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
> --
> Lars E. Pettersson <lars at>
> --
> fedora-devel-list mailing list
> fedora-devel-list at

If i'm right this is the second flame war about the DontZap "feature"...
After reading roughly 100 posts (some quite interesting) in this flame
war and some of the previous flame war i'm still not convinced that
this new default for dontzap is the right one.
The one -- and only -- reason that i see popping up all the time is
emacs being stupid enough to have a ctr+alt+bs key binding in it as

I would really like to see the reasoning behind this new default for
dontzap.. i wonder if there is any reasoning behind it at all.

The way i see it there are a few options to get past this issue.
1. (the red hat way) take it the way it is now or use another distribution
2. restore dontzap to it's "old" value.. it worked fine for many years
so why change it if it isn't even broken
3. spam emacs for having a ctrl+alt+bs key binding and demand that
they use some other key mix

Option 1 is what RH will probably do because they are to stubborn to
revert it even though the majority of the people will vote for the old
behavior if they dare to keep a vote.
Option 2 and 3 is what has to be done if you ask me and as long as it
hasn't been done redhat should patch those packages and contact the
ones that need to be contacted.

About how the decision was made to change DontZap. Xorg is a big
package and millions of users (hundreds of distributions) use it
because it's just the "(un)official" standard. now it's very strange
to see how ONE person (or that's the idea that i get behind this
change) is somehow allowed to make a decision for millions of people!
That just seems wrong to me. Meritocracy shouldn't be allowed in a
project that can potentially have a huge impact and if that is allowed
they should probably be forked to a group that does listen to the
users (must be Democracy!!). Or all switch to DirectFB. Xorg should
only be allowed to IMPROVE xorg, to support more stuff and not to
delete features (or at least not features that everyone will notice in
a negative way if deleted) unless approved by the biggest
distributions that use Xorg. (and those distributions should all have
polls with the same questions to ask the user base).

The way things are going now (with Xorg and Gnome!!) is still (just
barely) going fine but i suspect that forks are going to arise if more
is going to change that shouldn't be changed (if you ask the users).

I wonder what will happen if i make a application that listens to the
CTR+ALT+DEL command and does something.. will gnome then get patched
because another app is using the key mix?

And something different. Wouldn't it be a good idea to make a linux
standards site decided by the users where the users decide how they
like to have things. The majority then decides a standard instead of
just a few people with a idea. With a site like that i don't mean the
freedesktop standards!! Those are of course fine if the majority
agrees with them.

Btw. Meritocracy seems dangerously close to ignorance and arrogance...

Just my opinion about DontZap.

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