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Does Your PC Really Need a SysRq Button Anymore?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-don't-even-use-vowels dept.

Input Devices 806

An anonymous reader writes "Ever wondered what the SysRq key on your keyboard does? Lenovo has decided it's so rarely used that it has started removing the key from some new Thinkpad Edge laptops. We already know that Lenovo are something of the fastidious scientists when it comes to keyboard design. Last time they fiddled with the age-old key layout, it was after painstaking research to count exactly how many times users press the Delete and Escape keys. Now it seems another relic of computer keyboards is starting to disappear."

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I don't recall ever using it... (4, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764112)

I don't recall ever using that key although I have coded my own "terminate and stay resident" (TSR) programs back then in order to achieve some level of multitasking in DOS.

With TSR programs, you could intercept the timer interrupt and do some amount of computation in the background before returning to the running program. You could also intercept the keyboard interrupt in order to switch from one application to another on the fly but I have never actually intercepted the Sysrq key. I used some other hot key combination definition. Maybe back then I though that it wasn't a good idea to fool around with that key but this page says other TSR programmers were using it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_request [wikipedia.org]

Debug key (5, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764134)

Ever wondered what the SysRq key on your keyboard does?

Introduced by IBM with the PC/AT, it was intended to be available as a special key to directly invoke low-level operating system functions with no possibility of conflicting with any existing software.

In Linux, the kernel can be configured to provide functions for system debugging and crash recovery.[4] This use is known as the "Magic SysRq key".

Microsoft has used SysRq for various OS- and application-level debuggers. In the CodeView debugger, it was sometimes used to break into the debugging during program execution.[5] For the Windows NT remote kernel debugger, it can be used to force the system into the debugger.[6]

So it's a handy debugger key for those who need one, functioning in the same key as print screen, but you need to hold alt key. What's the harm having it there, since it already is? It's not like it's an extra button on your keyboard.

Re:Debug key (1)

mschirmer (1619591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764224)

Maybe they are going to replace it with an "Terminate Process" key? Wouldn't that be nice.

They're remapping something else (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764236)

So it's a handy debugger key for those who need one, functioning in the same key as print screen, but you need to hold alt key. What's the harm having it there, since it already is?

Because they're probably remapping print screen too. Notice how "print screen" doesn't cause ink to get committed to paper in either Windows or GNOME.

Re:They're remapping something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764418)

But at least print screen saves a screenshot to the clipboard in Windows (haven't tried GNOME as I don't have a print screen key on my mac keyboard)

Re:They're remapping something else (1)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764618)

On GNOME, it takes a screenshot and pops up a dialog box asking you where to save it (or you can send it to the clipboard if you prefer).

Re:They're remapping something else (1)

atomicdoggy (512329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764534)

No, but I did notice how it copies my screen to the clipboard.

Re:Debug key (5, Funny)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764270)

Lenovo doesn't need to do any debugging so the key is superfluous to them.

Re:Debug key (3, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764356)

In Linux, the kernel can be configured to provide functions for system debugging and crash recovery.[4] This use is known as the "Magic SysRq key".

I guess there will be no more Raising Skinny Elephants on a Lenovo anymore. And while I have only used it a few times in the last year, I have used it.

Re:Debug key (4, Informative)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764654)

This conflicts badly with Ubuntu's decision to make Alt-Sysrq+K the default way to kill X (as opposed to control-alt-backspace which is too easy to press by mistake), too.

Re:Debug key (3, Informative)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764492)

Oh heck, I use the SysRq key on an almost daily basis whenever I screw up a kernel compile (and that's often). At least on my keyboards, it's on the same key as PrntScrn. Looking at my keyboard, there's nothing that I don't use on a fairly regular basis:Num Lk - *almost* always on when using a laptop. Almost always off when using a regular keyboard. Pause/Break I've mapped to bring up my task manager. I've also noticed that the paint is actually wearing off the hjkl keys on one keyboard (too much nethack...er vi).

Re:Debug key (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764606)

So if you happen to get a Lenovo slaptop, make sure you have a handy AT-to-USB adaptor around and use your favourite keyboard instead. What's the problem?

Re:Debug key (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764530)

On a laptop, it is an extra button on the keyboard. They made the print screen key an alt-key on the insert key.

So it saves them some space, which is valuable in the specific market they are in.

Print Screen (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764160)

On my (and I do believe most) keyboards it doubles as a Print Screen button, which I use regularly.

Re:Print Screen (2, Informative)

REggert (823158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764456)

If you look at the pictures in TFA, you'll note that they've moved Print Screen to share space with the Insert key. To invoke Print Screen instead of Insert, you have to hold down the Fn key.

Re:Print Screen (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764566)

Oh well, for SysRq you need shift+PrintScreen. So Fn+Shift+Insert - no problem here. It's not used frequently enough to be "at most one bucky bit away"

Re:Print Screen (0, Offtopic)

bustamelon (1721100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764486)

ditto

Uhh, YES? (1, Informative)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764162)

Magic SysRQ key [wikipedia.org] command for the *NIX world.

Terminals? (3, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764164)

I'm pretty sure SysRq is a left over from the terminal days, though I don't recall which terminal (the VT100 doesn't have it). It was basically the equivalent of CTRL-ALT-DEL.

Ahh, Wiki to the rescue; it was from the IBM 3270.

How about the even more useless keys? (1, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764172)

Caps Lock
Num Lock

Both of these keys should die a firey death before you get rid of the SysRq key, which is very useful for Linux users.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764208)

How about the stupid "Windows Key" while we're at it?

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764446)

What's wrong with that? It's a useful additional modifier key for mapping keystrokes to window manager functions. I use it for switching desktops.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

thecross (1313393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764644)

But windows+tab lets you alt+tab in 3D!!

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764660)

Windows Key is useful enough, and I haven't actually hit it by accident in years while gaming
 
http://www.seoconsultants.com/windows/key/

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764222)

both of those keys are absolutely essential to people in the data entry business.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764318)

both of those keys are absolutely essential to people in the data entry business.

Why do you ever need to turn off Num Lock? Ever since the 101 key keyboard was invented back in the last century all the Num Lock-off functions got their own seperate keys.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764548)

You can use numlock and the accessibility feature to use the number pad as a mouse, I do that with my wireless keyboard as using a wireless mouse on furniture sucks.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

SithLordOfLanc (683305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764296)

I have physically removed the CapsLock, NumLock and Ins keys from my keyboard at both home and work. IS keeps offering to replace my "bad" keyboard. NO, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764544)

Same here. First task in a new job is usually taking a Leatherman to my desktop keyboard...

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

mugurel (1424497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764302)

since /. wouldn't let me, you will have to imagine here the inevitable caps lock key joke...

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

Chameleon Man (1304729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764322)

Seriously? Before either of those, it's the Insert key that needs to go first.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764374)

I use vim, you insensitive clod!

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764524)

CAPSLOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL!

filter error: don't use so many caps. it's like yelling.

Re:How about the even more useless keys? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764560)

I love the caps key now, I rebound it and turned it into an additional CTRL key. It's much easier to access now, it does cause so drawbacks when I use a different computer though.

http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/disable_caps_lock/ [johnhaller.com]

Get rid of unnecessary one and zero keys (4, Funny)

shoppa (464619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764180)

When I learned to type we didn't have these extra "one" and "zero" keys. We used lower case "ell" and upper case "Oh" and we were happy, dang it!

Re:Get rid of unnecessary one and zero keys (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764212)

You had a keyboard? Luxury!

Re:Get rid of unnecessary one and zero keys (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764572)

I know you're being sarcastic, but I vaguely recall having to use a lowercase L as a 1 key during typing class for some reason. I'm sure the typewriter had a 1 key, but I distinctly remember that the 1 and lower case L on that keyboard had the same footprint... dangit.. now I'm going to spend the next several days trying to figure out the significance of this.

-Restil

As it is just about never used... (5, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764182)

On my laptop, I use it to toggle VMs. It's perfect because on my machine, it does absolutely nothing. Double scroll lock is the next best bet for me, but my keyboard requires me to press the Fn key simultaneously.

Is Lenovo leaving any "useless" keys? Some of us actually NEED keys that are otherwise never used and the OSes recognize by default.

MOD PARENT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764268)

MOD PARENT UPPITY I SAY!!

Re:As it is just about never used... (1, Informative)

thorsen (9515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764532)

Sorry, but no you don't. You can easily use some set of modifiers for it instead. Win-space does nothing on my machine and is even easier to get to than SysRq because you don't have to move your hands from the normal position.

Mod parent down (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764594)

An obvious troll

Re:As it is just about never used... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764640)

Getting rid of floppy drives was considered a drastic move at the time because some people used them. Just because "some" people use it doesn't mean its useful

Has to be said a bit differently this time ... (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764188)

"You can have my SysRq key when you pry it from my cold dead ThinkPad!"

Linux, Specifically Ubuntu (4, Informative)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764196)

I use the "busier" backwards or "reisub" combination with the sysrq key in order to gently shutdown Ubuntu when it locks up. So yes, I use it, but that has only been in the last couple of years or so. Not sure what else it is used for...

Re:Linux, Specifically Ubuntu (1)

Tweezer (83980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764506)

This is slashdot, Linux never crashes. Crashing is something only Microsoft operating systems do.

Re:Linux, Specifically Ubuntu (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764624)

What are you doing with Ubuntu such that you so frequently lock it up that you have a key set aside to mitigate that particular frustration? Not that I've never locked up a linux box before, but it's rare. Then again, most of my boxes don't even have a monitor, so I'm probably not pushing the envelope much.

-Restil

Randomly I noticed that key today... (2, Informative)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764204)

randomly I noticed that key earlier today, because some people have been given new usb keyboards instead of PS2 and they dont have that key (hp keyboards).... and now it appears here...

Weird.

From having read TFA... (1)

Archaemic (1546639) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764214)

I also notice the Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys are missing. I know you can use the Scroll Lock key in conjunction with Excel, but I'm not sure anyone else ever does. Although I have actually used it on the command line to, shock and awe, lock the screen from scrolling while it was booting up so I could see error messages before they disappeared into the dust.

Also, switching the F keys with the functionality usually relegated to Fn-F*, as mentioned in TFA, is nothing new. Apple has been doing that on their laptops for years.

Re:From having read TFA... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764620)

scroll-scroll is the defacto key combo to bring up the OSD for KVM's. Pause/Break is great for stopping that information window that scrolls by during POST, but on modern computer's it's largely unneeded since PCI resource sharing generally just works.

I've used it (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764218)

If linux freezes, then Alt-SysRq-S+U+B will do an emergency sync of the disks, unmount them and reboot the system.

Re:I've used it (5, Funny)

mm_202 (1569029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764314)

Yep... just confirmed that it also works even if Linux isnt frozen...

Re:I've used it (2, Informative)

Victor_0x53h (1164907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764326)

I figured you were joking. "How do I hold all that down at once?" I thought.

Alt+SysRq then press S, U, then B one at a time. R also looks like it might be necessary?

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/fix-unresponsive-or-frozen-computers-with-keyboard-shortcuts/ [makeuseof.com]

Re:I've used it (1)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764354)

I'm not a Linux User... .but how on earth do you press all of those keys down together?!

Re:I've used it (2, Informative)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764632)

You don't. You keep Alt+SysRq pressed, and you press S, U and B in sequence.

Re:I've used it (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764430)

If linux freezes, then Alt-SysRq-S+U+B will do an emergency sync of the disks, unmount them and reboot the system.

Bah! That almost looks like an emacs keycombo. M-x-Ctrl-v-p-o-k-l-m-z-w and then press your spacebar with your nose, and it'll do the same thing by the way. It's really handy to have such a shortcut, but the odds of your cat walking over the keyboard and hitting that particular combo are pretty high.

Caps Lock Key (1, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764234)

The only people I know who use the Caps Lock Key are AOLers. Anyone who needs a Caps Lock Key for legitimate technical reasons can buy a specialized keyboard for that purpose. That's no reason for the key to be inflicted on the rest of us.

Re:Caps Lock Key (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764286)

I use the Caps Lock for entering software serial numbers where you get a long string of capital letters and numbers.

Re:Caps Lock Key (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764408)

Because I learned how to type on an actual manual typewriter, I've learned to use the shift key for such tasks. Maybe that's why the caps lock key is still around. It's all you young whipper-snappers and your electronic input devices.

And while I admit that using the caps lock key for inputting the occasional series of all caps is easier, its so rare that I would do that, that the occasional and rare advantage does not make up for the annoying disadvantages to me.

As I said, if you spend a lot of time inputting long series of all caps, you can always buy a keyboard for that task.

Laptops (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764310)

Anyone who needs a Caps Lock Key for legitimate technical reasons can buy a specialized keyboard for that purpose.

And install it into the laptop's chassis how?

Re:Laptops (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764514)

"And install it into the laptop's chassis how?"

If there is a market for having a caps lock key (there are still plenty of AOLers out there) someone will continue building laptops for that market. Don't get your panties in a bunch. You'll still be able to write your rants in all caps well into the future.

Re:Caps Lock Key (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764612)

hey there are still people who need to do FORTRAN code... And most likely they use the same computer to write real documents as well.

Print Screen (5, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764240)

That is the Print Screen key. Don't ever remove that key from the keyboard! I don't care that the word "SysRq" is written below "Print Screen" on that key. Feel free to remove that "SysRq" word from there, but do NOT remove the handy print screen key! Thanks.

Re:Print Screen (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764346)

That is the Print Screen key. Don't ever remove that key from the keyboard! I don't care that the word "SysRq" is written below "Print Screen" on that key. Feel free to remove that "SysRq" word from there, but do NOT remove the handy print screen key! Thanks.

But if we drop the sysrq key we'll finally have room for the any key.

Re:Print Screen (3, Informative)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764476)

Ditto. Alt+PrtScn is your current-dialog-capturing-friend!

Although, it still amazes me the amount of people who still install 'freeware' utilities to take screengrabs of dialogs, when Windows has had that functionality built in for many versions... ... and I kid you not, I did once have this conversation:

User: I need Photoshop CS2 installed, here's my Cost-Code.
Me: Why?
User: I write documentation that needs screenshots.
Me: You know you can screengrab via windows and paste directly into Word?
User: I don't care, Bob has Photoshop, and I want a copy as well.
Me: *sigh* Ok, I'll buy a copy and charge your dept...

-Jar

Re:Print Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764658)

does Alt+PrtSc allow you to manually select any *section* of screen ?
didn't think so..

Re:Print Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764502)

On laptop keyboards, you usually need to hold down [Fn] in order to use Print Screen. SysRq is bound to another key+[Fn].

Re:Print Screen (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764586)

Is your name Max Cohen [imdb.com] by any chance?

Um, I use a Macbook Pro... (1)

jarocho (1617799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764256)

...Anybody know where I can find the sysrq key on it? :)

Re:Um, I use a Macbook Pro... (2, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764308)

...Anybody know where I can find the sysrq key on it? :)

It's the eject key.

Re:Um, I use a Macbook Pro... (3, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764324)

I don't know, but having different keys for backspace and delete on mine would be very nice...

At least on Mac mini and iMac (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764328)

They're talking about the key sequence that's labeled "Option-F14" on Apple's desktop keyboards.

Re:Um, I use a Macbook Pro... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764394)

Its called Caps Lock on Macs.

Re:Um, I use a Macbook Pro... (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764400)

Lenova making Macbooks now? Does Jobs know about this?

Delete/Escape? (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764280)

Windows Key, Esc, CTRL, Alt, Delete, Page up/down, print screen - i use these all the time.
Home/End/Scroll lock/Insert (annoying)/ Page break (only for dos type screens)/ num lock I either don't use or rarely use.

Re:Delete/Escape? (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764426)

It's time to adjust the environment variables again! *Presses WinKey+Pause*

Re:Delete/Escape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764556)

home and end? 1 button that takes you to the top or bottom of a long ass document is annoying?

use home or end once in a while, they are great

You insensitive clod! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764292)

You insensitive clod, I use Linux and the magic sysrq feature!

Is this company going to implement a new kernel sysctl to allow one to change the key for magicsysrq?

argh (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764320)

As far as I'm concerned, the 101-key keyboard layout was handed down from on high by the FSM, and anyone who changes it should be boiled in oil.

(Yes, this includes whoever was responsible for Windows keys, which I'm still pissed about 15 years later.)

Say what? (2, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764330)

"Ever wondered what the SysRq key on your keyboard does?"

No - since I own a Mac....you insensitive bork........

First they came for my Gold key... (2, Insightful)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764338)

I keep seeing these, and I wonder how long it will be until we have nothing but a blackberry style keyboard.

I guess I can't complain since I still use my Model M and LK463 keyboards, but laptops are getting to the point that the function keys are all remapped to random tasks (brightness, volume, etc) and we keep seeing random multi-media keys... yet stuff like num lock, scroll lock, print screen, break is getting pulled.

Maybe most suits don't spend anytime dealing with text? Powerpoint doesn't recognize break?

Lenovo not the first it seems (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764348)

Reading through the discussion I looked down to remind myself where on my keyboard it was, only to find that my Logitech keyboard I've been using at work for the last 2 years doesn't even have a Syr rq key.

My work laptop does though as an alternative on the delete key.

Still, I didn't even realised it'd gone from my main keyboard!!

Probably not. (2, Insightful)

lorg (578246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764372)

The people in the market segment for the Lenovo Laptops probably don't need the SysRq button (nor Print Screen). I'm fairly sure you could remove a bunch of other buttons they don't need beyond that one to. 12 function keys? the "Scroll Lock" and "Pause/Break" probably doesn't do much either - but they might already be gone.

The question is what are you going to replace them with? I don't really need a shortcut button to check my email or whatever either. Plus removing keys and moving them around really screws up the layout and has a serious negative impact on my type-speed.

About the 'Delete' Key... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764386)

When you are using any PC with Windows on it, you will use the 'Delete' key a lot 'Ctrl-Alt Delete' to get to task manager to maybe make things work again?

Goodbye to the ThinkPad brand. (4, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764398)

If this change is indicative of what'll happen to the "serious business" series (T, X, R), then the ThinkPad has, after some 18 years or so, finally jumped the shark.

One of the main selling points of a ThinkPad was the keyboard. When all the other brands went completely nuts and placed the PrtSc/ScrLk/Pause/Insert/Delete/Home/End/PgUp and PgDn keys at a whim, on a ThinkPad you could blindly hit the spot where the key was supposed to be and actually hit it. They were quite [lenovoblogs.com] proud [lenovoblogs.com] of that, and nobody minded.
Now, you get a chiclet keyboard with the F-keys disabled by default and six rows. Well, congrats Lenovo, you've just went from top-of-the-line in 2010 to consumer-grade-sony-vaio in 1999 or so.

Another thing were the displays. Great, high-resolution, matte 4:3 screens one could work with. I own a 12" X61 with 1050 horizontal lines. Nowadays, it's WXGA with less than 800 lines in everything up to 14.1", and half of the models come in glare-type finish. Thanks to the shiny finish you can't see the screen contents anyways, so that slightly mitigates the lack of resolution.

What's next, Lenovo? Get rid of the high-quality finish of the Notebooks and switch to cheap plastic? Fuck up the support infrastructure IBM built? Oh wait, already happened. I guess it's down to the nipple mouse as the last true hallmark of a ThinkPad. And that, I won't give up 'til you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Esc and Delete key changes (1)

PetiePooo (606423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764422)

For those who missed the changes Lenovo has made to Esc and Del keys, this article [geek.com] has a nice picture.

Why Do I Need Two Delete Keys (1)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764424)

Why are there two delete keys on an Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad [apple.com] ?

Re:Why Do I Need Two Delete Keys (2, Informative)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764540)

Because the big delete key is actually the backspace key. Apple just had to be different I guess. The small delete key deletes stuff on the right side of the cursor. But I'm sure you already know this. I'm posting this for those that might not be familiar with what you are talking about.

Scroll Lock (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764432)

Slightly related: All those Scroll Lock LED lights that nobody uses on every desktop keyboard... How much cleaner our environment would have been if all those LEDs didn't have to be produced!

While they're at it.... (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764436)

The IBM PC keyboard has always had the stupidest feature of any keyboard... the GIGANTIC CAPS LOCK key. I started out on DEC and Commodore keyboard arrangements (some of the latter Commodore keyboards being influenced by DEC's, they were natural enough). And sure, over the years, I've mostly adapted to the PC layout, largely because it's difficult to find a decent keyboard with a better layout. Particularly one with a jog-shuttle built-in, but that's another story.

Sure, you can remove this or software-disable it. If there's 1% of users who find this anything but annoying, I would be surprised. The need to put something useful in its place, and move the CAPS LOCK somewhere else. Hey, maybe right next to the other rarely-if-ever-used keys: Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Pause/Break.

It's there to tell the OS (5, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764464)

that the user is pressing the SysRq key.

In fact, to *urgently* tell the OS that the SysRq. It's not supposed to be buffered or anything, it supposed to grab the OS by the collar and scream "THE USER JUST PRESSED THE DAMMNED SYSRQ KEY!!!!" at it.

But what is that supposed to mean?

It doesn't mean anything.

That's the whole point.

When they were designing the keyboard, they thought of all the things that you might want a keyboard to say ("STOP SCROLLING", "Show me that last page", "Get me the hell out of this input mode"). And after they'd mandated keys for everything anybody could think of, they had a stroke of genius. They mandated a key that did nothing anybody wanted to do.

Why is that a stroke of genius?

It is something rare in engineering, which thrives on bravado and feverishly inflated self-confidence. It is an admission of the limitation of human foresight, an acknowledgement that there are more things under Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies; a semiotic *memento mori*.

This key is mandated to mean nothing, therefore it can mean anything, or indeed, everything.

They've already been removing keys... (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764470)

...since I can't find the "any" key on my keyboard anywhere!

You insensitive clod! (1)

Lew Perin (30124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764480)

It's been easily half a dozen years since, afflicted with an Emacs-induced sore left wrist, I switched to a Kinesis keyboard that uses thumbs, not pinkies, for chording. It has no SysRq key. I'd forgotten all about that long-lost, alluring key, and now you go and remind me!

PrintScreen (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764504)

I don't care about SysRq but I don't mind it sharing space with PrintScreen. And don't you dare taking my PrintScreen.

If it ain't broke ... (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764522)

It really should not be necessary to point out that removing ANY key from the standard keyboard is a really strange idea. By now there will be thousands of programs here and there that use that key for something. And a keyboard without the key will not work with any of them. Is the idea that things that are not broken should not be busted without really good reasons utterly alien to the programming/engineering mind?

Assuming that "mind" is the right term.

If there is an easily discoverable way to generate the SysReq key codes on this fine new keyboard, disregard rant.

Some thoughts... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764538)

There indeed are many residual keys on a PC keyboard. The three-button row of SysRq, ScrLk, Break could be eliminated. All locks too. I neither use the numpad or Windows keys, though some people seem to need them.

The Mac keyboard is really nice, pretty much no unnecessary buttons can be found.

But here's a cool idea: make it so that the layout ("language") of a keyboard can be auto-detected. I can't believe this hasn't been implemented yet (or has it?). It's probably possible to add some extra data in the USB signal, for example.

This is not your father's Thinkpad Lenevo! (2, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764546)

They would do better to remove the CAPS LOCK key, which is more bulky and - as far as I know - useful only to morons who don't know how to keep from SHOUTING on the internet. If CAPS LOCK functionality is really needed, they could just allow holding the Shift key for a period longer than t(x). The SysRq key is both the same key as "Print Screen" which is often used and useful, and is a major component of debugging for the most used operating system in the server market (Linux). (Bear in mind that the kernel that runs on those servers gets developed on laptops and desktop workstations, not servers.)

As a Linux developer this move screams to me: "HEY! WE'RE LENEVO, AND NOW THAT WE HAVE BOUGHT THE RIGHTS TO THE THINKPAD NAME FROM IBM, WE ARE SHOUTING HOW CLUELESS WE ARE BECOMING FROM THE VIRTUAL ROOFTOPS".

This is NOT
their father's Thinkpad.

Save the SysReq key! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30764558)

Put a Microsoft trademark on it and it will never go away!

I had to look (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764564)

I honestly had to look down at the keyboard to see if there was such a key printed on mine. There is, but I certainly never noticed it before (I use print screen which is the same key, but I just press it without thinking - I don't read the text :)). Truthfully, though I once used them back in DOS, I can't say that I've used Scroll Lock or Pause/Break in about 15 years for their intended purposes either. I say "intended purposes" because until about 3 years ago the KVM I was running allowed you to tap scroll lock twice and then use your arrow keys to select the active computer, but on my new unit I just have it on the desk and use the on-unit switches to switch systems.

Truthfully though, when they start to remove keys or rearrange the layouts, it usually throws me off. Sure, if you just removed those two keys, that'd be fine, but I'm pretty used to the spacing and positioning of the traditional IBM 104-key layout. If removing some keys means changing that layout around to "save space" or something similar then I don't want it. I'm stuck in my ways I guess though. Desktop keyboards that feel like laptop keyboards seem to be all the rage now and I still spring for true mechanical switch units (there's modern ones out there if you look).

Mainframes (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30764602)

If you're using something that expects an IBM 3270 client, that key is important. Now, are ThinkPads used in that role very often? Perhaps not. If they remove that functionality, they certainly wont be. I suppose a good term emulator should be able to map some other key or combo to send System Request.

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