Feature #5460

Keyboard shortcuts conflict

Added by Tails over 6 years ago. Updated almost 6 years ago.

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My keyboard layout in Tails changes all the times, I though randomly. But I recently discovered where it comes from: there is a custom keyboard shortcut in Tails to change keyboard layout, which is ALT+MAJ. Unfortunately, it conflicts with two standard GNOME keyboard shortcuts: ALT+MAJ+TAB which changes window backwards and ALT+MAJ+ARROW which moves active window to another desktop.


This was introduced by this commit (which apparently missed the Alt+Shift+Tab shortcut, or it was added after that time):

commit 6a3183316e3548d119cc1bf6f43d8ec64eb77c32 Author: Tails developers Date: Thu Dec 8 15:12:54 2011 +0100

Add Alt+Shift shortcut to switch keyboard layout.

This is the default layout switching shortcut used in Windows, which
probably is what people are used to. Note that this causes a layout
switch to occur for other keyboard shortcuts using Alt and Shift,
which is annoying. In Tails this currently only accects the
Shift+Ctrl+Alt+&lt;arrows&gt; shortcuts for moving the selected window to
another virtual deskop, so this is IMHO acceptible.


I propose to remove this conflicting keyboard shortcuts. I see two options:

  • either we just remove the shortcut to change keyboard layout (I don't know anybody using it as a feature) ;

Such a shortcut is essential for users of layouts with non-latin-based alphabets (e.g. Russian) as they frequently use it for switching to English for entering URL:s, etc and then switching back again.

  • or we map it to something else, e.g. ALT+CAPSLOCK which is the first choice proposed by GNOME "Key(s) to change layout" preferences dialog.

That'd be non-obvious for users with a primarily Windows-background, which I assume is a large portion of our users. Even if we'd document such a (dare I say?) "non-standard" shortcut the few users that'd actually read it would be betrayed by their muscle memory all the time.

What do you think?


The best would be if we could configure GNOME (or whatever) to only trigger the shortcut when Alt+Shift is released so it could co-exist with overlapping shortcuts.

Any idea if the "Alt-Shift conflicts with Alt-Shift-Tab" issue also affects GNOME3 in fallback mode, run on bare metal?

Short of that, I strongly believe we should not alter the layout switching shortcut; I strongly believe the amount of annoyance caused by doing so far exceeds the current annoyance caused by the issue you describe.


I found the reasoning that led this conclusion pretty convincing.

Me too :)




#1 Updated by intrigeri over 6 years ago

  • Priority changed from Normal to Low
  • Starter set to No

(No assignee => downgrading priority, as proposed in the "Quarterly tickets gardening: outcome and proposals" thread on tails-dev.)

#2 Updated by BitingBird almost 6 years ago

  • Subject changed from keyboard shortcuts conflict to Keyboard shortcuts conflict

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