Saturday, October 22, 2011

[TECH] fixing the tab key in VNC

Setting up a simple VNC server such as TightVNC (tightvncserver) has gotten a lot harder in recent Ubuntu distributions, because the tab key seems not to work properly! I find that using the command line is nearly impossible when the tab key doesn't work in VNC. The problem seems to depend on the window manager in use (I use xfce4). After some hunting, it became apparent that the default window manager key bindings global binds the "<Super>"-Tab combination to a feature known as "switching windows within the same application." I don't know what a "Super" key is and apparently neither does the system, because it always treats the Tab key as "<Super>"-Tab, triggering this feature rather than passing the Tab key event through to the application. Clearing this key from xfce4-settings-manager => window manager => keyboard fixes the problem, as does the following command line equivalent:
xfconf-query -c xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts -p /xfwm4/custom/'<'Super'>'Tab -r
With the default settings getting less sane every day, it's not clear where Ubuntu is headed. The whole point of Ubuntu was to provide sensible defaults and clear away pitfalls like these. Most annoyingly, this used to work -- only a few versions back it was possible to simply "apt-get -y install tightvncserver" and run tightvncserver on the command line and get up and running in minutes rather than hours.

61 comments:

  1. Great, thanks a lot for this post!! After an endless google search for solutions of this problem, this finally saved me.
    Cheers,
    Alex

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  2. Thanks a lot, now it works

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  3. This thing works!!! Thanks a lot! I started debugging with the stty and then terminfo but was heading nowhere!!

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  4. Just helped me right now… thanks for the CLI too !

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  5. Oh, you've saved me a lot of time. Thank you very much !

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  6. Well done, this work very well Thanks.

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  7. This still exists in Ubuntu 12.04 but your solution fixed it. Thanks for your help.

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  8. You Sir are a deadset legend! Thankyou very kindly, this problem was driving me crazy!!

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  9. Works for me too on Ubuntu Studio 14.04 (xfce4). Thank you!

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  10. Excellent! Thanks a lot!

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  11. You saved my life ;)
    Thanks!

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  12. Thanks very much. I don't curse, but if I did, I'd say "a pox on ubuntu". Don't we have enough problems?

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  13. thank you! You saved my day!

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  14. Thank you! This really helped me understand why my Tab key stopped working properly after a while I have logged in my XFCE4 DE running on Gentoo linux inside Virtualbox guest hosted on a MAC OS X host.

    Once again, thank you for the good write-up and sharing this with all of us. I managed to fix it following your guide.

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  15. Awesome and on point!

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  16. thank you very much, it work for me

    You saved my days

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  17. I hit this today, and your post saved me heartache. Thank you.

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  18. Works with Debian Wheezy + xfce4 + vnc4server. Thank you.

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  19. Thanks, it was driving me crazy trying to figure out what happened with this!

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  20. works for Debian 3.16.7 also. Question- is this a permanent change or do I have to do this every reboot?

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  21. Thanks man!!! You save me day! :)

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  22. Life saver, thanks!

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  23. Thanks, worked like a charm!!

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  24. Thank you!!!!!!!
    I am running an UBuntu AMI image with NVidia drivers from AWS.
    I had to click on the Applications -> Window Manager -> Keyboard
    menu to find and remove the "Super Tab" entry.

    jesus christ that was an annoying problem

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  25. Thanks! I had never had this problem on RHEL / OEL / CentOS, and today, my first day with Debian, it was driving me crazy. Great fix!

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  26. My hero! Thanks. I was getting really angry sometimes. Very thank you.

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  27. Oh, thank god. Not having tab completion was driving me crazy.

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  28. Awesome! Thanks for the post.

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  30. Awesome, thank you very much for posting this!

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  31. This solution is great to fix the tab issue, but it has a side effect. If I changes the hint style of the font from hintnone to hintfull, the text font display on VNC is different from the font displayed on my laptop. Any fix for this one?

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  32. thank you! very annoying!!!

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  33. Almost five years later, this still works. What's concerning is that the issue is still there.

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  34. still going... thank you

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. Works like a charm! Thx!!!

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  37. Thanks friend, this made my afternoon.

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  41. The best solution for you may be the installing of the program, like this one https://yumdownload.com/realvnc because for your platform it will fit best of all. I have been used it a huge amount of time.

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