After not doing so for a few months, I recently dist-upgraded my Debian testing system. Since then when I move my mouse cursor a transparent rectangle with black borders is shown around the cursor. The rectangles also remain on the screen with a delay effect until something is changed (mouse click, arrow keys, etc.).

mouse rectangles and delay

For creating the screenshot I moved the mouse cursor in a spiral and then took a photo. The effect wouldn't show in gnome-screenshot (either it would disappear or the entire screenshot would be black except for the last rectangle).

System information:

  • Debian testing with GNOME.
  • Same effect under Wayland or Xorg, even in GNOME Classic.
  • Version information (uname -a): Linux paninaro 5.8.0-1-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 5.8.7-1 (2020-09-05) x86_64 GNU/Linux.

I used the same machine and setup successfully for years and just ran apt-get dist-upgrade (and also updated the firmware) last week for the first time in a couple of months.

Any insights as to what might cause the problem and how it can be fixed would be much appreciated.


A colleague pointed me to this bug description for GNOME under Ubuntu:


So far (as of today) there is no proper fix to the problem there but they have found a workaround:

  • Open the "Settings" (gnome-control-center).
  • Go to Universal Access > Seeing > Zoom.
  • Turn the zoom "Off".

Clearly, this disables zoom and may thus be problematic for many users. But it does avoid the problem with the trail of rectangles and may hence be an acceptable workaround for some users (like me).

  • 1
    If anyone is aware of a complete fix, please consider answering here and/or posting on the Bugs Launchpad linked above. – Achim Zeileis Sep 21 '20 at 13:03

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