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Re: why is the RIGHT ALT key ignored?

On Sat, 05 Feb 2011 09:10:26 -0500 (EST), Stephen Powell wrote:
> On my PC, AltGr and Alt seem to behave identically, and I don't have
> a .xinitrc file.  I am using a classic IBM model M keyboard, US model,
> 101 keys, PS/2-style connection to a classic Intel 8042 keyboard controller.
> My problem is I want it to act differently and it doesn't.  In Lenny,
> Alt+Fn, where n = 1 to 12, switches to virtual console n, and
> AltGr+Fn, where n = 1 to 12, switches to virtual console n+12.
> So, for example, AltGr+F1 switches to virtual console 13.  I can do
> something like this from a root shell prompt:
>    # openvt -c 13 login
> I can then switch to virtual console 13 with
>    # chvt 13
> or
>    AltGr+F1
> and login on virtual console 13.  When I'm done, I logout, switch back
> to my root session which created console 13, and issue
>    # deallocvt 13
> to return the system to its previous state.  This doesn't work in Squeeze.
> I can switch to virtual console 13 with
>    # chvt 13
> but
>    AltGr+F1
> does not switch to virtual console 13: it switches to virtual console 1.
> Why was this change made, how can I restore it's former behavior, and
> what are the ramifications of doing so?

Sorry for answering my own post, but I kept digging and eventually found
the answer, or at least a partial answer.  The secret is the file


which now looks like this on my system:


The "lv3:ralt_switch" option in XKBOPTIONS seems to do the trick.  After
making this change, shutting down, and rebooting, I can now switch to
a console higher than 12 by means of AltGr+Fn.  (In this context, I am
using the term "AltGr" to mean the right Alt key, as opposed to the
left Alt key.)  Maybe this will be a place to start for the OP.

I am having two other problems, but I will start a new thread for them.
The first is that Ctrl+AltGr+Fn issued from the X server doesn't switch
to virtual console n+12.  It switches to virtual console n.  However, that
behavior is consistent with Lenny.  The second problem is more serious.
After logging out of my dynamically-created session on, say, virtual
console 13, I cannot deallocate the virtual console.  I get the following

   # deallocvt 13
   VT_DISALLOCATE: Device or resource busy
   deallocvt: could not deallocate console 13

No process visible to "ps aux" appears to be using virtual console 13,
yet I cannot deallocate it.  This may be an important clue as to why
the X server has trouble restarting on virtual console 7.  But as I said,
I will open a new thread for this problem.  I hope that this is in some
way helpful to the OP for this thread.

P.S. I must say that I am not too impressed with the documentation for
  .''`.     Stephen Powell    
 : :'  :
 `. `'`

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