the Life of Zim

9th February
written by dzimney

Playing around with setting up my Linux box as a VNC client, I ran into an unexpected dilemma. Basically, when running Ubuntu 10.10 and connected through VNC using a Mac as a client, whenever you press the ‘D’ key, all windows collapse. Think it’s not a big deal? Start counting how often you press the ‘D’ key in normal typing. In fact, I initially tried running a Google search on the issue and couldn’t type the search without pressing the ‘D’ key. Anyway, really annoying problem with a really easy fix (assuming you have access to the server computer).

What’s going on.
In Ubuntu 10.10 there is a default Keyboard Shortcut for “Hide all normal windows and set focus to the desktop”. Seems like a useful shortcut. Unfortunately the default (as displayed by the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog) is set to Mod4+D. Now, I have no idea what Mod4 is. Presumably a modifier key like ‘control’ or ‘alt’. The interesting piece to this is that when logged in through VNC (using Chicken of the VNC as a client on my MacBook Pro) the modifier key must not be recognized and so is simply dropped off from the keyboard shortcut. Thus, every time you press the ‘D’ key, all of your windows collapse.

The solution.
Easy. Just open up the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog on the server machine by going to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts, toggle the Window Management group and disable the shortcut by selecting it and pressing ‘delete’. Or change it to whatever shortcut you’d like to use.

Hope this solution helps someone some headache.

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