slow keys must die. now

Paul Johnson pauljohn32 at
Tue Aug 21 19:14:10 CEST 2012

On Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 2:24 AM, Miguel Guedes
<miguel.a.guedes at> wrote:
> On 21/08/12 08:15, Suvayu Ali wrote:
>> If I may chime in, toggling this option doesn't have any effect.  I
>> believe there is a second setting somewhere that keeps the shortcut
>> functional.  So far my investigations have led me to these glib2
>> settings:
>>    org.gnome.desktop.a11y.keyboard slowkeys-enable

> Yes, you're right, Suvayu. It seems I mistakenly assumed the OP was not
> aware of the Accessibility settings and failed to consider that his issue
> might be due to a different, less intuitive, reason.

My objection is not against slow keys, but rather the accidental (and
secret) invocation of it by the shift key.

I previously did not understand that the accessibility feature "slow
keys" is controlled separately from the keyboard activation framework.
  The fedora bugzilla on this indicates that the 10-second activation
has been disabled in X11 and GDM by default, but some desktops
activate it ( XFCE
has been one of those desktops.

On Sunday, Jérôme has changed the xfce package upstream so that
keyboard activation is not turned ON by default. In the future, users
will not have the the "10 second shift key" problem that drove me

In the short term, the way to stop the 10 second shift key problem is
to install the package "xkbset" and run the program with the -a option

$ xkbset -a

You have to run that every time you start X11, I'd suggest you put it
in your session manager.

On some systems, there is no user notification when slow keys is
activated by the 10-second Shift.  xfce offers a fix for that.
Install the notifyd package.  In Debian, it is called:


If you install that, then the 10 second shift key causes a popup from
the notification tray that says "slow keys is enabled" and if you hold
the shift for 10 seconds again, it says "slow keys is disabled."

I don't know why the Applications menu -> Settings -> Accessiblity
menu to control slow keys does not change when the 10 -second Shift
activates slow keys.  It seems to me that accessibility settings thing
should change to reflect the state of the system.

But, for my part, this has been a happy conclusion. I had my angry
rant on Sunday, Jerome took notice of it, I learned some nuances of
accessibility settings.

All good for me, thanks to everybody.
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science    Assoc. Director
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504     Center for Research Methods
University of Kansas               University of Kansas  

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