Zapping the Xorg server

Miles Bader miles at
Thu Aug 26 00:25:04 PDT 2010

Wolfgang Draxinger <wdraxinger.maillist at> writes:
>> I'm one of those who's work would be severely disrupted by a hardwired
>> CTRL-ALT-Backspace Zap.  CTRL-ALT-Backspace is hardwired in my fingers
>> from nearly 30 years of editing using Emacs and kin.
> Just curious here, and don't want to start a editor war. But please
> tell a hardcore Vim user: What hotkey/command of Emacs collides this
> with?

Bindings like Control-Meta-foo are generally used in Emacs for
navigating by and operating on s-expressions (an s-expression is
basically a word or parenthetically-balanced text); so C-M-f goes
forward by 1 sexp, C-M-b goes backward, C-M-u goes up, etc.

Following this pattern, C-M-backspace _should be_ "delete previous

Only instead, it kills your X server...  :(

This hit me regularly because I'd get very very used to the "hold down
control and meta with one hand, and hit f/b/u/etc with the other to
operate on sexps" pattern, and then, naturally, hit the backspace

I would also occasionally hit it simply by accident, I think because I'd
try to hit M-backspace (delete previous word), but would be slightly too
slow in releasing the control-key from a previous command... man, _that_
was annoying!!


In New York, most people don't have cars, so if you want to kill a person, you
have to take the subway to their house.  And sometimes on the way, the train
is delayed and you get impatient, so you have to kill someone on the subway.
  [George Carlin]

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