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Old 03-07-2010, 01:32 PM   #1
tennis_slacker
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letter 'e' doesn't work in Terminal


Very very very strange problem.

I've been using Slackware for awhile now on my laptop without a single issue (well except that I can't get the screen brightness to change, but that's a separate issue).

I logged in today and went to the terminal and when I type the letter 'e' it is not shown or recognized. It works when I 'su -' and enter my root password which contains the letter 'e' twice, but otherwise is not recognized.

I have no idea where to even start with this problem. I've logged out and back in. I've restarted twice now, but the problem is not going away. Obviously, my keyboard is working properly as I am typing this message with the letter 'e', but in the Terminal it is not recognized.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
/bob
 
Old 03-07-2010, 01:44 PM   #2
paulsm4
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Hi -

Please don't assume that "obviously my keyboard is working". Please definitely verify it (for example, make sure you can type an "e" and see it in your boot screen).

But I agree: it sounds like "configuration".

Two prime candidates:

1. X windows key mappings (e.g. your $HOME/.Xdefaults file)

2. Your tty settings (e.g. /etc/initrc or $HOME/.inputrc)

These links might help:
http://www.ibb.net/~anne/keyboard.html

http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO...ole-HOWTO.html

SPECIAL NOTE:
Quote:
"\e[3~": delete-char
"\e" means "the escape key". If you see something like the above, and you're missing the "\" back slash before the "e" ... well, then that's probably the problem Fix it, and you might have your "e" key back again!

'Hope that helps .. PSM
 
Old 03-07-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
tennis_slacker
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So, I restarted and hit 'Tab' to go to lilo prompt and 'e' letter worked there. Then during boot I kept hitting 'e' and seeing it displayed on the boot screen. Was that where you wanted me to check?

I don't have $HOME/.Xdefaults or $HOME/.inputrc or /etc/initrc. I did look at /etc/inputrc and it has the following lines:

Code:
# for linux console
"\e[1~": beginning-of-line
"\e[4~": end-of-line
"\e[5~": beginning-of-history
"\e[6~": end-of-history
"\e[3~": delete-char
"\e[2~": quoted-insert
I also went to another tty, Ctl->Alt->F6 and at the login prompt I could type 'e' and login as root with a password that has 'e' twice, but once logged in then 'e' is not recognized.

Sorry, if I'm not making sense or helping the troubleshooting. I'm pretty new to linux and not sure what I'm doing or need to do.

Also, I have no idea how to make changes to anything in /etc because I can't type 'e' once logged in.

Thanks for the help.
/bob
 
Old 03-07-2010, 03:08 PM   #4
paulsm4
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Hi -

Exactly what I asked you to do - thank you:
Quote:
So, I restarted and hit 'Tab' to go to lilo prompt and 'e' letter worked there.
I apologize for a typo: I said "/etc/initrc"; I actually meant "/etc/inputrc". Here is the complete list, from this link:

http://www.ibb.net/~anne/keyboard.html
Code:
This table summarizes the modifications needed in the different environments, 
and the tools it is done with:

                   Configuration files  
Environment     user              systemwide                    Configuration
-----------     ----              ----------                    -------------
Terminfo        N/A               terminfo                      infocmp/tic   
Xterm           ~/.Xdefaults (*)  /etc/X11/Xresources           xrdb ~/.Xdefaults (*)
X               N/A               /etc/X11/xinit/.Xmodmap (**)  xmodmap .Xmodmap  
Bash            ~/.inputrc        /etc/inputrc                  export INPUTRC=/etc/inputrc  
Tcsh            ~/.cshrc          /etc/cshrc                    bindkey (shellcommand)  

* or .Xresources
** /etc/X11/XF86Config also affects the keyboard settings under X
So look at these files. For example, "~" means "your home directory": it's usually equivalent to "$HOME".

Try these tools: bindkey, xmodmap, etc.

Two other troubleshooting tips might be:

1. Log in as a different user (I presume you're *not* logging in as "root"!)
<= If "e" works as a different user, we know the problem is probably in a local, per-user configuration file

2. Go to a different (text mode) virtual console.
EXAMPLE: <Ctl-Alt-F1> (go to text-mode "virtual console" #1).
<= If "e" works in text mode, we know the problem is probably in X Windows or your GUI desktop configuration

'Hope that helps .. PSM

PS:
If you're feeling Really Brave and/or Really Frustrated, one easy solution might simply be to re-install X Windows and/or Gnome. There's a risk (especially if you don't feel entirely comfortable with the command line), but it's probably a "sure thing".

IMHO...

Last edited by paulsm4; 03-07-2010 at 03:17 PM.
 
Old 03-08-2010, 07:02 PM   #5
tennis_slacker
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Sorry about the delay. Got busy.

I'm too new to linux to follow all your instructions, but I tried what I could. Like I said before I don't have $HOME/.Xdefaults or $HOME/.inputrc in my home directory. I checked /etc/inputrc and it does have the line 'export INPUTRC=/etc/inputrc'.

I looked up xmodmap and bindkey, but I'm not quite sure how to use them. Plus it's kind of hard to type "bindk'e'y" without access to the letter 'e'.

I'm definitely not logged in as root. I did login as root and try 'e' which did not work there either. I also tried logging in as my regular user to xfce and fluxbox and found the same behavior no 'e'.

When I go to Ctrl->Alt->F1 I see the boot screen and 'e' works there.

So, I would call myself brave and frustrated at this point, but how do I reinstall X? I have no problem working with the command line, but it's hard to get anything done when the letter 'e' doesn't work. Things like 'slackpkg update', 'slackpkg clean-system', 'slackpkg reinstall X', 'vi /etc/*' are rather difficult to type without the letter 'e'.

I just don't understand what happened to cause this, it was all working fine before.

Thanks for any help you can offer to get this fixed! I hope I'm not forced to reinstall Slackware.
 
Old 07-08-2011, 10:33 PM   #6
tennis_slacker
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This is probably really poor forum etiquette, but I finally figured out the problem and wanted to post the solution. I did this:

Code:
# Added to /etc/inputrc
export EDITOR=/usr/bin/nano
This caused the problem, I guess I should have put that into ~/.bashrc but I must have read somewhere that to set it system wide to put it into inputrc.

Live and learn!
 
Old 07-08-2011, 11:34 PM   #7
catkin
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Thanks for sharing the solution to this otherwise mysterious problem

For future problem diagnosis, what did the bash builtin bind show when you had that line in /etc/inputrc?
 
Old 07-09-2011, 12:10 AM   #8
tennis_slacker
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Sorry, I'm too new to linux, I don't understand your question. Unfortunately I probably won't be able to answer it either since I couldn't figure out how to correct the problem without reinstalling. When you can't type 'e' it's kind of hard to edit files in /etc.
 
Old 07-09-2011, 12:15 AM   #9
catkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennis_slacker View Post
Sorry, I'm too new to linux, I don't understand your question. Unfortunately I probably won't be able to answer it either since I couldn't figure out how to correct the problem without reinstalling. When you can't type 'e' it's kind of hard to edit files in /etc.
OK. How did you discover the problem? Usually when problems are solved by re-installing we never get to know the root cause. To run bind, just type it at a command line prompt and press Enter. Not having an effective e key is limiting (!). No possibility to copy and paste it?

EDIT: not to worry; I tried it myself and sorry for not doing so earlier. bind -p shows nothing for the e key, presumably because export EDITOR=/usr/bin/nano, beginning with e starts defining e but is an invalid definition. In conclusion, running bind -p would have helped identify the cause of your problem.

Last edited by catkin; 07-09-2011 at 12:28 AM.
 
Old 07-09-2011, 12:27 AM   #10
tennis_slacker
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Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Idaho
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Well, because of the 'e' issue I left Slackware about a year. Then I came back a few days ago and everything was working perfectly. I was then looking over my configuration notes which said to put the EDITOR configuration in /etc/inputrc. Then at some point shortly after doing that I had the same 'e' issue and realized that the only thing I had done is make the inputrc change.

Maybe if I could have logged into root, I could have browsed to the file and changed it. But I had just installed a day earlier so hadn't done any real configuration.
 
  


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