If I want to log in to the traditional text shell, I can only use the right side control and alt keys, the left side ones will do nothing. Once I switch to another shell, I now have to use the left ctrl and alt keys if I want to switch back to the graphical shell (or a different text shell).

I'm using Fedora 16. What gives?

  • 1
    Did you mean one of those to be left?
    – Kevin
    Apr 17, 2012 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


You probably have a keyboard mapping where one of the keys labeled Alt does not actually act as the Alt modifier. For instance, some layouts will map the right-Alt key to AltGr instead.

To find out what is happening, try running the xev program in your X session. It will display all of the keyboard events that it receives.

  • I'm getting Alt_R and Alt_L, as well as Ctrl_R and Ctrl_L. So they definitely are distinguishing between left and right for some reason. Apr 18, 2012 at 2:40
  • @davidglanzman That's normal, so it's not the cause of your problem. Apr 18, 2012 at 20:59

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