I just *HATE* Hardware Abstraction Layer

I'm quite happy user of Arch Linux. BUT

Recent upgrade changed Xorg to new version which requires HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer).

Problem: when HAL is turned on, it totally breaks my keyboard – generates extra “key presses" when using “special" keys – I press windows key, and get letter “F" extra. I also lost ability to self-repeat keys by pressing them longer. Right alt – stopped working. Down arrow – generated also “M" letter. Right shift – doesn't work. All in all one big mess.

Solution was “trivial": remove hal, and add to xorg.conf section to disable hotplugging:

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option "AutoAddDevices" "False"

I just have to write it, because I might hit the same problem someplace else as well, so I will now know what to do.

Side note – I happen to use wireless Logitech keyboard, which apparently is a bad thing, because any kind of mention “I have a problem with keyboard and X" prompts questions about my Logitech – even if the same keyboard works flawlessly on console, or in X without this HAL thing.

Maybe I'm getting grumpy, but Linux on desktop actually worked for me much better 2 years ago, than it does now.

Slow vim startup

I had today a very weird situation.

From my laptop, I ssh to another system, and from there to yet another.

On this final system I noticed that vim starts relatively slow. i.e. this command:

time vim -u /dev/null -c “:q"

returned time in around 3.5 seconds, while on my laptop (which is much less powerful) it is:

=> time vim -u /dev/null -c ":q"
real    0m0.073s
user    0m0.056s
sys     0m0.016s

I tried to debug the situation, and it got weirder. If I did “su – another_user" (on the final system) – it became fast. What's more: if I did su – depesz (my account) back – vim was still fast!

After some debugging it occurred to me: I have automatic X11 forwarding turned on. I checked – and yes, in the shell that vim starts slowly, i had “DISPLAY" variable, set to localhost:10.0!

Quick unset DISPLAY, and suddenly vim starts 0.027s!

Lesson for future – do not use automatic X11 forwarding for long-distance ssh connections, or make sure you run vim with “-X" option.

Later I learned why it tries X11 connection – to get access to X copy/paste buffer (available as * register). Nice feature, but with quite problematic side effects.