AllowEmptyInput and HAL

Paul Menzel paulepanter at
Tue Apr 28 14:15:35 PDT 2009

Am Dienstag, den 28.04.2009, 22:01 +0100 schrieb Phil Endecott:
> Hello again,
> My efforts to recover from a dead computer continue.  I have 
> resurrected the old disk in a new box, but the new box has a different 
> graphics chip and installing the (Debian packaged) driver for that has 
> brought in new bits of everything, and it has all gone bad.
> Specifically, when X started I had no keyboard or mouse.   After 
> power-cycling [no other way to escape!] I found a message in the log 
> saying that "AllowEmptyInput" was enabled and that my keyboard and 
> mouse configuration was being ignored.  Having looked this up in man 
> xorg.conf I see that this mode is the default.  I'll try to be polite: 
> This does not seem like the most useful behaviour.
> Having set AutoAddDevices to false in order to disable the unhelpful 
> AllowEmptyInput, I now have a functioning mouse.  But I have a keyboard 
> where every alternate keystroke produces the right letter and the 
> others produce garbage (maybe top-bit-set characters?).
> I also noticed some messages in the log where "config/hal" complained 
> that "NewInputDeviceRequest failed".  Presumably this is because of my 
> AutoAddDevices.  I had noticed that Debian installed "hal"; I had not 
> previously heard of it.  It looks like something that sits on top of udev.
> So I've now spent most of three days on this.  I just want a computer 
> that works, preferably as well as the old one did, and while I don't 
> have one I can't do much work [I'm self-employed].  So could someone 
> please suggest what I should do:
> - Is there some simple set of xorg.conf settings that will make it just 
> work like it did before, without any AllowEmptyInput and HAL stuff and 
> with a functional keyboard?
> - Or would I be better off trying to learn how this HAL thing works?
> X is something that I only have to understand once every few years when 
> I have some new hardware.  By the next time I need to understand it, 
> either I have forgotten something vital or it has all changed....

What Debian release do you use and what version?

If you run unstable with xserver-xorg 1:7.4+1 you should be able to just
delete your xorg.conf file and everything should work out of the box.


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