Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 259/2022
Author(s):

In Kernel News; Retargeting the Magic SysRq Key; and The Seventh Circle of Bug-Tracking Hell.

Retargeting the Magic SysRq Key

Andrzej Pietrasiewicz pointed out that not all computers had a "Magic SysRq" key on their keyboard. The SysRq key is generally the same key as Print Screen (PrtScn) on QWERTY keyboards, and the Linux kernel uses it to perform various operations even when the computer is completely locked up. It's invoked as Alt+SysRq+another key, where that other key is how you tell Linux what you want done. For example, Alt+SysRq+B will immediately reboot the system, without unmounting any drives or syncing any data.

Andrzej's patch allowed the user to configure a different key to have those magic powers instead of the SysRq key. By default, he felt that the F10 key would be appropriate.

He had submitted a similar patch in June 2020, which got a lukewarm reception, and now Andrzej was trying it out again, rebased onto the latest Linux kernel.

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