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This is from a .el file loaded in my .emacs file. What do you think?

;;; Sun keyboard bindings

;; the below line does not work:
;; when <cancel> is pressed, the minibuffer echoes "Quit"
;; but that is the only thing it does

;; (global-set-key [cancel] 'keyboard-quit)

;; Note: I got the 'keyboard-quit from C-h c and then C-g
;; (C-g is the normal way for me to abort)

;; Those work, so it has probably something to do
;; with the peculiarities of 'keyboard-quit, rather than
;; the actual keybinding (or?)

(global-set-key [SunProps] 'describe-variable)
(global-set-key [SunFront] 'next-buffer)
(global-set-key [SunOpen] 'list-buffers)
(global-set-key [XF86Copy] 'clipboard-kill-ring-save)
(global-set-key [XF86Paste] 'x-clipboard-yank)
(global-set-key [XF86Cut] 'clipboard-kill-region)
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What did you expect keyboard-quit to do? The behavior you describe sounds normal to me. – Kyle Jones Feb 17 '12 at 1:02
If you hit it (the cancel button on the keyboard after doing the above stuff) it does not produce the same effect as when you do C-g. On the contrary, nothing happens. – Emanuel Berg Feb 17 '12 at 2:18
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Due to the fact that Control+G has to interrupt Emacs while it's doing other things (and not reading normal input), it's hardcoded into the Emacs core and can't be rebound using normal methods. There is a set-quit-char function, but it only works with ASCII characters.

(set-quit-char QUIT)

Specify character used for quitting.
QUIT must be an ASCII character.

This function only has an effect on the controlling tty of the Emacs

In short, you'd have to patch and recompile Emacs to do what you want.

However, it is possible to get some of what you want. If you do

(define-key local-function-key-map [cancel] [7]) ; 7 is C-g

then cancel should work like C-g, but only when Emacs is reading normal input. It won't interrupt a long-running Elisp function the way C-g will. But it will cancel a C-x C-f or similar command that's reading input from the minibuffer.

share|improve this answer
Wow, did I find something that was that difficult? I'm impressed! But even more so by your answer. – Emanuel Berg Feb 17 '12 at 2:17

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