Num Lock is not activated by default at GDM

Bug #632341 reported by Nickedynick on 2010-09-07
This bug affects 18 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
gdm (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gdm

This is a pretty trivial bug, but it may be a candidate for future a 100 papercuts cycle. I did try searching to see if it had been reported before, but couldn't find any - apologies if I've missed it!

At present, NumLock isn't enabled when you go to log in to Ubuntu, so you have to manually enable it before entering numerical passwords on the number pad. While this isn't a critical issue, it is one that I feel should be fixed. I don't know anyone who uses the number pad for its arrows, and other OSs do enable NumLock by default.

Additionally to achieve this behaviour at present requires installing the numlockx package, and manually editing /etc/gdm/Init/Default - which is clearly not appropriate for new users.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 10.10
Package: gdm 2.30.5-0ubuntu2
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.35-19.28-generic
Uname: Linux 2.6.35-19-generic x86_64
Architecture: amd64
Date: Tue Sep 7 12:35:03 2010
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" - Alpha amd64 (20100803.1)
SourcePackage: gdm

Nickedynick (nickstringer87) wrote :
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report. The issue is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug the to the people writting the software (

Changed in gdm (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Nickedynick (nickstringer87) wrote :

Thanks Sebastien, I've just sorted it.

Changed in gdm:
status: Unknown → New
Pedro Villavicencio (pedro) wrote :

thanks for sent it upstream.

Changed in gdm (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
Changed in gdm:
importance: Unknown → Wishlist
Brice Terzaghi (terzag) wrote :

I don't think Numlock should be on by default because on laptops (or mini-keyboards) that don't have numpads, the user would have to turn it off manually each time.

The best solution would be for Ubuntu to remember the state of Numlock at shutdown (so you have to turn it on the first time you boot Ubuntu and it then remembers it unless you choose to turn it off).

area256 (andre-area256) wrote :

I agree this needs to be based on state of the Numlock at shutdown.

gary bucher (gary-ldascenzo) wrote :

Disagree on the approach of restoring the numlock state from when machine was last shut down. This can result in users seeing an unexpected numlock state at boot, which appears random. Better to provide a simple way to set the default state of the numlock upon boot.

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

Technically it would be fairly easy to do this and toggle/enforce Numlock on boot.

What makes it /hard/ is not the technical problem of /how/ to do it, but the policy decision of /when/ to do it. For instance, on this Thinkpad laptop, Numlock is already a Fn+key special combination. When this combination is toggled the keys 7-9, u-p, j-l, m-. become the keypad and because of the default enablement of Mousekeys (System->Preferences->Keyboard->Mousekeys) these normal alphabetic keys actually then start to control the mouse pointer movement on-screen.

Whilst changing the default here might make some people's lives easier, it would cause a great deal of confusion for a user who has installed, or is using Ubuntu on a Lenovo laptop for the first time.

To take this proposal forward the policy (what to do in each situation like the above) needs to be clearly described. If the complexity of all those options is too great, then it might be preferable (and very valid) to continue to respect whatever setting the hardware starts up with as being the most reliable. Quite often the BIOS accessible at boot has an option regarding whether Num-lock should be enabled or not on start-up.

Moises Trovo (mtrovo) wrote :

I think Paul is right, the correct behavior should be to only activate the NumLock on boot if there is a BIOS option for it and it is marked as Active NumLock on boot.

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: New → Confirmed
Vish (vish) on 2010-12-22
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
assignee: nobody → Papercuts Ninja (papercuts-ninja)
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
milestone: none → nt7-potpourri
status: Confirmed → Triaged

I see some problems with this. I personally use a laptop a lot and it is a short version no number pad, but if i press the number lock in the middle of my keyboard becomes active as a number pad.

Yes you can install (numlockx) or on bios.
This is more of an opinion than a request or a bug.
I would not like this course of action.

Also it on brainstrom:

If you really wanted it done, then in install make it option to set when picking keyboard.
Then have the script add the nublockx package and script to /etc/gdm/Init/Default
If can be enabled, plus it can also be disabled under keyboard preference.
System -> Preferences -> Keyboard -> Layout -> Layout Options -> Miscellaneous compatibility options -> turn on "Default numeric keypad keys"

Leo Jackson

The 11.10 release of Ubuntu saw GDM replaced with LightDM. Does this problem still exist in the latest release? (I don't have a number pad on my keyboard to test this out).

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: Triaged → Incomplete
V V Dyck (vincent-troll) wrote :

Still a problem with 11.10 release.
Still a package to install and a(nother) config file to edit.
Still not "new user" friendly.
Still a boring moment to do it.

Choosing if numlock is on or off at startup is not important. Many want it and many others doesn't want it.
What's important is to have the choice to choose between on and off. Actually you don't have the choice out of the box.
I'm sure having numlockx installed + a toggle button in some "keyboard configuration panel" could be enough for many.

Did anything happen with the 'policy' described in comment #8?

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
milestone: nt7-potpourri → quantal-11-misc
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
assignee: Papercuts Ninja (papercuts-ninja) → nobody
Changed in gdm:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in gdm:
status: Confirmed → Expired
To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Duplicates of this bug

Other bug subscribers

Remote bug watches

Bug watches keep track of this bug in other bug trackers.