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When I ssh into one of our servers, I cannot enter a forward slash character, which makes it difficult to do pretty much anything (like ls /). How can I get the forward slash to work?

Some additional information:

  • /etc/issue claims it's running "CentOS release 5.7 (Final)"
  • The only way I know this is by running ssh me@some-host cat /etc/issue
  • I'm using Mac OS X Terminal.app, and I've never had trouble with this, on Centos 5 systems or otherwise
  • I don't know who or how the machine was built and set up
  • echo $TERM reports xterm-256color
  • i don't know if this makes sense to anyone (it doesn't make sense to me), but i diff'ed the /etc/inputrc of the malfunctioning server with one that works and got the following:

    $ diff /tmp/{good,bad}_inputrc
    < # do not bell on tab-completion
    > /# do not bell on tab-completion
    > # Home Key
    > "\e[7~":beginning-of-line
    > # End Key
    > "\e[8~":end-of-line
    > # Delete Key
    > "\e[3~":delete-char
    > # Insert Key
    > "\e[2~":paste-from-clipboard
share|improve this question
If you press ctrl + v then /, does it work? – Patrick Apr 2 '12 at 3:38
yes, that does work – aaronstacy Apr 2 '12 at 14:15

This line is your problem

/# do not bell on tab-completion

If I add that line to my working config, slash stops working.

The only clue that I can find about this is in the readline man page:

Blank lines are ignored. Lines beginning with a # are comments. Lines beginning with a $ indicate conditional constructs. Other lines denote key bindings and variable settings.

Since it's not a blank line, and doesn't begin with # or $, it must be being treated as a key binding.

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Nice catch. Completely missed that :-) – Patrick Apr 2 '12 at 12:03

A program called xmodmap can be used to modify keymaps. See man xmodmap if it's already installed.

In a nutshell, use xev to see details about X events. Fire that up, and strike your / key. On my setup this is the result I get:

KeyRelease event, serial 34, synthetic NO, window 0x4e00001,
root 0x15a, subw 0x0, time 107752919, (784,828), root:(789,850),
state 0x10, keycode 61 (keysym 0x2f, slash), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (2f) "/"
XFilterEvent returns: False

Then, on the remote machine, use xmodmap -e 'keycode [KEYCODE] = [KEYSYM] to create the mapping, where [KEYCODE] and [KEYSYM] are the values retrieved from xev. Try setting the default 61,0x2f first to see if it just needs to be reset. (i.e., xmodmap -e 'keycode 61 = 0x2f')

If that's a no-go, try mapping a different key. For example, I tried keycode 105 (right control) to 0x2f. That worked locally and in an ssh session for me.


You may also want to set the question mark. Extend the previous command to xmodmap -e 'keycode 61 = 0x2f 0x3f'. You can see a complete list of keysyms here.

share|improve this answer
xmodmap doesn't matter here, as X is not being used. – Renan Apr 2 '12 at 11:28

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