After I upgraded from Debian Squeeze to Wheezy, the combination of Xfce and Xscreensaver doesn't seem to consider keyboard activity to be user activity.

Since I sometimes use only the keyboard for long periods of time, this means that eventually the screensaver activates because of a lack of mouse input. This is somewhat of an annoyance, but another key press (or a bump on the mouse) will cause the screensaver to go away and wait another period of time before kicking in again.

How do I make the system consider keyboard input to be activity? I looked at the screensaver preferences but couldn't find anything relevant.

Alternatively, how do I switch to a screensaver subsystem which does accept keyboard input as user activity? (All I want is a blank screen screensaver and monitor DPMI suspend and power-off after a configurable delay in X.)

In case it matters, I'm using a USB keyboard hooked directly to the PC (no USB hub in between). The mouse is also USB.

  • I switched to xautolock & alock for similar reasons. – frostschutz Oct 14 '13 at 22:42
  • @frostschutz That sounds interesting; would you be willing to elaborate on it? – a CVn Oct 15 '13 at 13:07

I don't know how to fix xscreensaver. It gave me similar trouble, except it was when watching movies using mplayer. Since I couldn't find a solution that worked, I switched to another system entirely.

I use xautolock (which detects user inactivity), alock (which blanks and locks the screen), and xeyes to warn me about the imminent inactivity timeout in case I'm just pondering at some text window or web page.

As an extra feature, xautolock is also able to register the position of the mouse cursor. I set it up to lock the screen immediately when the mouse curser goes into the upper left corner of the screen; and to prevent locking when it's in the lower left corner of the screen. So when I watch a movie, I simply move the mouse pointer to the bottom left and the lock will never come up.

Here's the full command I use (to go into your DM's startup scripts):

xautolock \
    -time 5 -locker "alock -auth passwd -bg blank" \
    -notify 10 -notifier "killall xeyes; xeyes" \
    -corners +0-0 -cornerdelay 10 -cornerredelay 10 \
    -secure &

The monitor also goes into standby for me after the screen is locked for a while, I don't remember if I did any additional configuration for that or if it just worked the way it should by itself...

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