gdm ignores keyboard input because Slow Keys was secretly turned on

Bug #758335 reported by Martin Pool on 2011-04-12
This bug affects 9 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gdm (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gdm

This seems to have recently broken on natty: gdm starts up, but ignores keyboard input, so I cannot log in.

lsusb shows that the keyboard is attached. A usb mouse plugged into the keyboard moves the pointer around. Xorg.0.log shows that the keyboard is seen and connected as an input device. I tried with a different keyboard and a different usb port with no success. I ssh'd into the machine and shut down gdm, and the keyboard does then work to log in on a text console, but it again does not work when I restart the machine. I can use the mouse to start the accessible keyboard but clicking on that does not help either.

Martin Pool (mbp) wrote :
Martin Pool (mbp) wrote :

I have no idea how, but apparently 'slow keys' had got turned on at the login screen. Once I turned it off, it worked ok. I never normally use that.

OK, apparently like in bug 41427, if you hold Shift for long enough (like say by resting something on the keyboard), Slow Keys gets turned on, and it persists across reboots. And there is no warning that it's turned on. I can see how this would be useful for accessibility but there really should be a clue to people who get it accidentally set.

summary: - gdm ignores keyboard input
+ gdm ignores keyboard input because Slow Keys was secretly turned on
Jason McMullan (jason-mcmullan) wrote :

Could the Accessibility icon pulse or something to indicate that accessibility options are on?

That could at least give a user a visual clue.

Martin Pool (mbp) wrote :

ironically a pulsing accessibility icon may be difficult for people with some kinds of accessibility constraints, such as a constrained field of vision.

if caps lock is on, we show a message. perhaps we should do the same for this.

Yitzchak Gale (gale-sefer) wrote :

This does not appear to have anything to do with slow keys persisting after being set in a user session.

Slow Keys is now always in effect on the natty gdm login screen on this system, even though neither I nor any other user on this system has ever used it during a regular session as far as anyone can remember.

In the meantime, how in the world can this be shut off? I can't find any gdm configuration for this. This is extremely annoying.

Yitzchak Gale (gale-sefer) wrote :

In gdm, when you hold down the shift key for 8 seconds, Slow Keys gets turned on *silently*.

In a user session, #41427 is a known issue that the pop-up notification about this sometimes is invisible because it is behind other windows, and that the default is to enable Slow Keys if there is no user action. But in gdm the situation is even worse - no pop-up or any other notification ever appears. To any user not already familiar with Slow Keys or how to turn it off, the effect is that the keyboard becomes unusable.

This is a grave usability issue for the entire system.

For those arriving here not knowing what to do: there is an "Accessibility" icon on the task bar at the bottom of the screen. You can use it to open an accessibility preferences dialog. Uncheck the Slow Keys option.

d❤vid (kwill) wrote :

I think having an Accessibility icon appear when an accessibility function is enabled (similar to the Caps Lock icon when Caps Lock is on) is a simple solution to this issue. Having just lost half a day's work trying to track down the cause, I can say I would've appreciated a small clue.

d❤vid (kwill) wrote :

Additional comment: I can confirm that "Accessibility features can be toggled with keyboard shortcuts" was unticked once I logged in. But I'm not sure if this is a user-by-user preference.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in gdm (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Ignacio Larrain (ilarrain) wrote :

I consider myself an experienced user and had a very hard time figuring out this. I have had this problem many times, and the only solution I figured out until now was to reboot.

The problem is "Slow Keys" are being enabled in GDM even though I'm long ago logged in, and that anti-feature should be controled by Gnome-Shell, not GDM once logged in.

By the way: this bug and bug #41427 are very closely related.

Ignacio Larrain (ilarrain) wrote :

root@ignacio-laptop:/var/log/gdm# tail :0.log
(II) XKB SlowKeys are now enabled. Hold shift to disable.
(II) XKB SlowKeys are now enabled. Hold shift to disable.
(II) XKB SlowKeys are disabled.
(II) XKB SlowKeys are disabled.

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