AllowEmptyInput and HAL

Daniel Stone daniel at
Tue Apr 28 17:09:05 PDT 2009


On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 10:01:25PM +0100, Phil Endecott wrote:
> 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.

AllowEmptyInput does not mean that your keyboard and mouse configuration
is being ignored; conversely, it means that it's not a fatal error to
have no keyboard and mouse configuration whatsoever.  So if AEI changes
anything, you don't have a keyboard and mouse configured.

> 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?).

Cool.  Could you please send xev output?

> 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.

Yes, it is.  NewInputDeviceRequest failing sounds like the evdev driver
isn't installed.  BTW, attaching complete logs instead of two-word
snippets often leads to significantly more happiness.

> 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?

The Debian guys can explain that much better than me.

> - 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....

Well, not upgrading guarantees there won't be any changes. :)

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 197 bytes
Desc: Digital signature
URL: <>

More information about the xorg mailing list