AllowEmptyInput and HAL

Russell Whitaker russ at
Tue Apr 28 17:00:16 PDT 2009

On Tue, 28 Apr 2009, Phil Endecott wrote:

> 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....
Here's how I would have done it:

   Take new box with new drive and install an operating system of your 

   Make sure it works the way you want it to.

   Now install old drive as 2nd drive and mount it at /mnt/hd
   Pick and choose files to copy from old to new.

Hope this helps,

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