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We have a shell/tty based application that has ~1,000 users. It is running in an environment where X Server is not available. If a user accidently turns on the Scroll Lock, it makes it seem as if the application is frozen because it quits responding to keyboard input. Is there a way to disable the Scroll Lock or remap it to something less intrusive for this use-case?

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You could try fixing the application so it doesn't freeze up when they hit scroll lock... – Paul Tomblin Dec 19 '11 at 17:51
@Paul Tobmlin: It's a third party app. The "freezing" is really just a perception by the user. In reality, it's just waiting for keyboard input, which isn't getting through because the Scroll Lock is on. – poke Dec 19 '11 at 21:20
In other words, they haven't masked out the key modifiers when Scroll Lock is on. That used to be a big problem with X programs - they've wait for a particular key and it wouldn't work if the Caps Lock or Scroll Lock key modifier was present. I've never heard of it happening in a shell/curses app before, but stranger things have happened. – Paul Tomblin Dec 19 '11 at 21:50
@Paul: Scroll Lock tends to trigger software flow control on the console. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 19 '11 at 22:33
You mean like control-S/control-Q? – Paul Tomblin Dec 19 '11 at 22:48
up vote 3 down vote accepted

For a GUI env:

Type xev on the CLI, then click on the Scroll Lock key to see what its keycode is.

Then use xmodmap -e 'keycode <value>=<action>'

Where the value is the keycode number you get from the xev command.

If you want to desable the Scroll Lock, you should leave the <action> as blank. or you can map the <action> to another keycode.

For example, on my Asus EEE 1005P, the Scroll Lock key is map to keycode 78 so i would issue xmodmap -e 'keycode 78=' to disable it.

For a non GUI env:

setkeycodes scancode keycode you get the scancode with the showkey command. And then you need to use loadkeys. And here you can find a guide.

I am don't have any experience with a non GUI env, hence i gave you the links and the general way on how to do it.

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The application is running in a pure console environment. Will this work if X Server is not running? – poke Dec 19 '11 at 21:17
I am think the xev program is a GUI app, since it opens a small window in my system. But you always can go with the same keybord and the same OS (just with GUI support), and check what the keycode is. – Hanan N. Dec 19 '11 at 21:36
xev is an X windows app. If X isn't running, it won't help you. – Paul Tomblin Dec 19 '11 at 21:48
@poke: I have updated my answer to include a non X env, although i am don't have any experience with it. And i would suggest that you edit your question to explicitly include that you aren't looking for a non X solution, since it doesn't help to understand that from the tty part. – Hanan N. Dec 19 '11 at 21:52
@Hanan H: Thanks. Edited answer. – poke Dec 19 '11 at 22:20

Disable XON/XOFF (^Q/^S) handling by the tty:

stty stop undef
stty start undef
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Personally I prefer stty -ixon -ixoff. – Endre Szabo Jan 30 '13 at 22:52

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