What is hijacking Konsole?

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Mon Oct 31 00:18:53 GMT 2011

Dotan Cohen posted on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 20:54:06 +0200 as excerpted:

> When I press Ctrl-F in Konsole, an xterm window opens. VIM users will
> notice that this could be very frustrating. What could be hijacking this
> keyboard shortcut? I have gone through all the Konsole shortcuts,
> and I see neither Ctrl-F defined nor anything related to xterm. Where
> should I check next?

Tut, tut!  As a reasonably regular poster you should know by now that 
some hint as to kde/app version should be included, just in case the 
behavior changed between versions. =:^)  (By the same token of being a 
regular poster, however, I know that you're on at least a semi-recent 
kde4, tho it's unlike to be current upstream 4.7.  But one really 
shouldn't have to look at the from header and recall that name's posting 
history to deduce that, as among other things, it reduces the 
transparency of the list for newbies.  Not that the version is likely to 
matter here, but by the very token that you're posting a question about 
it, you can't know that for sure or you'd not be posting.  And perhaps 
it /will/ turn out to be version dependent in some way, tho I doubt it, 
but I don't know either at this point.)

But addressing the question...

You indicate Ctrl-F, upper-case F.  Since for obvious reasons (conflict 
with whatever's running inside without it) konsole's default shortcuts 
(almost) all have the shift modifier and indeed, Ctrl-Shift-F is the 
default "Find" shortcut, in context, there's some doubt as to whether you 
mean Ctrl-Shift-F or simply ctrl-f.

I'm assuming ctrl-f, since presumably you'd have found the find shortcut 
listed in konsole's menus and/or in the shortcut dialog and thus wouldn't 
have posted to ask about it.  With that assumption and further assuming 
that you /have/ checked the shortcut dialog, just in case...

If ctrl-f isn't listed in konsole's shortcut dialog, then it's a 
reasonably safe deduction that it must be being grabbed either above 
konsole, before konsole sees it, or below, in whatever app is running in 
konsole.  I'll assume (yes, the assumptions ARE beginning to stack up at 
this point, but...) that you've tested in enough in-konsole apps to know 
that it's not that, which by exclusion leaves only the above-konsole/
global grab possibility.

That means... check global and custom shortcuts in kde settings, plus 
anything else (media players, etc, often have global-grab shortcuts) that 
you might have set a global shortcut in.

I can make a few observations that might help narrow down the search.

1) Ctrl-f is a default kde "standard shortcut" (common to most kde apps 
where it would apply, with exceptions like konsole for the above noted 
conflict reasons, so it uses the shifted variant) for "Find...".  As 
noted, konsole is an exception, but what we're interested in here is that 
since ctrl-f is a standard kde shortcut already, it's quite unlikely to 
be a default for anything else kde related, especially as a global 

By exclusion, that means it's probably either a non-default setting, or a 
non-kde app that is doing the grab.

2) The fact that it's an xterm that opens ALSO strongly suggests that 
whatever's doing the grab either isn't KDE related, or is a non-default 
setting of something kde.  Because if it was kde, it whould be a konsole 
window opening by default, not xterm.

3) As a followup on #2, what do you have set as your default terminal 
emulator (kde settings, workspace appearance and behavior, default 
applications, terminal emulator)?  Presumably it's konsole or we'd not be 
having this discussion, but that xterm's coming from somewhere, and this 
is one more kde angle to check.

4) Similarly, consider file associations (kde settings, common appearance 
and behavior, file associations).  It's quite possible that whatever's 
getting triggered is from a broken file association, possibly of a mis-
parsed longer command that would normally be launching something /in/ 
xterm, but being broken...  Again, this wouldn't be a kde default 
association as that would be konsole instead of xterm, but consider libre 
office / OOo associations, for instance, as well as (again) non-kde media 
players, etc.

5) Does ctrl-f behave as expected in non-konsole X-based apps?  In kwrite, 
for instance, and konqueror, ctrl-f should trigger a find, by default.

Normally a global shortcut would apply everywhere and you'd get an xterm 
instead in those cases as well, but it's also possible to confine an 
otherwise global shortcut to only a specific app/window.  KDE custom 
shortcuts (under kde settings common appearance and behavior, shortcuts 
and gestures, custom shortcuts), for instance, can be set to only trigger 
if a particular window is active, thus allowing them to be used as macro 
triggers (a shortcut to insert a boilerplate fileheader in source files, 
for instance, but that will only trigger if you're running your customary 
source editor).  If the trigger only works in konsole, perhaps it's 
something like this.

6) As you obviously have xterm installed... it might be worth seeing if 
ctrl-f is doing strange things in it, as well.  #5 covers this to some 
degree already, but it's an easy test that will give you another 
datapoint, so...

7) This should have been covered under the assumptions above, but just in 
case...  What happens if you run whatever app in a text-mode VT instead 
of a terminal emulator under X?  The assumption would be that ctrl-f 
works fine in that case, but it's worth checking, if you haven't.

8) If all else fails, try the bisect method.  Of course the first step is 
checking with a different user or with all the config files normally 
found in ~/ temporarily moved out of the way for testing.  If it's 
happening in an all-defaults user, you /really/ have a head-scratcher... 
I'd post to the distro list in that case, but if a clean user config 
kills the strange behavior as well, then you at least know it's for sure 
in your user config, and can bisect it down from there.

Hopefully these will help you find the culprit.  As the above makes 
clear, evidence points to it NOT being konsole or even kde related, at 
least as a default setting, but that doesn't mean I can't try to help.  
Please post a followup with the culprit, once you find it, as you've 
gotten me curious as well, now. =:^)

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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