Continuing my series of short tech notes for future generations.
The problem: ctrl key not working in VNC session. xev command doesn’t show any events coming after pressing ctrl key.
Cause: You’re using Gnome, aren’t you? Gnome has a feature that allows to locate the pointer: if you press and release ctrl key, it will show a small animation around your pointer. Unfortunately, it interferes with vncviewer.
Solution: Few websites, including BBC, offer a fix: System → Preferences → Mouse → Cursors tab…
Problem with the solution: Oh noes! Cursor tab is not there! I can’t change the setting!
Solution to the problem with the solution: Use gconf-editor to change the setting: Applications → System Tools → Configuration Editor. Press CTRL+F. Type: “pointer”. Tick “search also in key names” and press “Find”. Click /desktop/gnome/peripherals/mouse/locate_pointer. Untick the checkbox next to it, on the top right pane.