SUMMARY: delay setting for autorepeating keys

From: Leon Koll (
Date: Sun Jan 10 1993 - 06:02:33 CST

my question was:

>Configuration is: SS2, 64M, keyboard 4, 4.1.2, olvwm under X11R5 server.
(yes, MIT !)
>Somebody knows how to set autorepeating delay value ?

Thanks to:

Paul DuBois (
Ian MacPhedran (
Ron D. Parachoniak (
Ed Arnold (
Daniel Trinkle (
Steve Harris (
Pam Skillman (

Ed Arnold wrote:

I posted a summary on this subject in comp.sys.sun.admin recently,
here it is:

Newsgroups: comp.sys.sun.admin
Path: samba!concert!gatech!asuvax!ncar!!era
From: (Ed Arnold)
Subject: SUMMARY:change keyboard repeat delay
Message-ID: <>
Sender: (USENET Maintenance)
Reply-To: (Ed Arnold)
Organization: Nat'l Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Boulder, CO
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1992 23:28:45 GMT
Lines: 102

About a month ago I posted this question in comp.sys.sun.admin:

>Can some kind soul tell me via email if there is a way to change the key repeat >delay (i.e., the time between when I press a key, and it starts repeating) on >a sparcstation under sunos 4.1.x? I've tried the 4.1.3 answerbook but came >up empty-handed.

The answers:


Use the -ar1 and -ar2 switches upon X server invocation; "man Xsun" for further info.


Change the keyboard driver's repeat rate and/or repeat delay parms, which are the kernel variables "kbd_repeatrate" and "kbd_repeatdelay". Repeat rate is the number of clock ticks (1 tick = 1/100 sec on SPARC) between repeating characters. Repeat delay is the number of clock ticks before a key starts repeating. These variables are changed by patching them in /vmunix with adb.


It's messy! The following material is taken from the FAQ, where /KeyRepeatThresh is the repeat delay, and /KeyRepeatTime is the (reciprocal of the) repeat rate.

This is the NeWS user profile file, read by OpenWindows (actually xnews) on startup. This is documented in the NeWS programming manual, near the back. The most useful thing to put here is PostScript code to change the keyboard repeat rate, although you must be very careful, since a syntax error in the PostScript means that xnews will either not start up at all or will get broken in strange ways. The NeWS manual gives code that is both incorrect and insufficient. WARNING: things in this file rarely work on both OpenWindows 2 and 3. Note that the mouse speed is best set in your .xinitrc with xset m; see the man page for xset ("man xset", and "xset -help") for more information. Here's what $HOME/ should look like if you want a delay of about a third of a second (300000 microseconds), and a repeat rate of twenty or so keys per second (30000 microseconds between repeats) for OpenWindows 3. You'll have to experiment a bit because the RepeatTime is the delay between keys sent, and thus doesn't include the time to process each key, which is probably higher on my 4/110 than on your SuperSPARC 10/51 GTi injection :-) Again, this is for OpenWindows 3... % don't want the demos - see p. xxxii of NeWS Toolkit Reference Manual % /IncludeDemos? false def UserProfile begin /KeyRepeatThresh 0 300000 timeval storetimeval def /KeyRepeatTime 0 30000 timeval storetimeval def % Note: 300000 and 30000 differ greatly... end You must also have a file in the same directory, like this: /NeWS 3 0 findpackage beginpackage /TNTCore 3 0 findpackage beginpackage /TNT 3 0 findpackage beginpackage ClassRepeatKeys pop % force to autoload endpackage endpackage endpackage If you change these parameters, you can test them without restarting the OpenWindows server like this: $ psh -i Welcome to X11/NeWS Version3 $ psh -i Welcome to X11/NeWS Version3 /classinit ClassRepeatKeys send %%% now press control-D You can also either of these two files ( and to make the root window be "retained", so that a PostScript drawing on the background won't be erased when you move windows: frambuffer /Retained true put will do this. Note that this may increase the amount of memory used by the NeWS server (xnews) dramatically.

-- ____________________________________________________ Leon Koll System Administrator Orbotech Ltd. (972) 8-433-664 Yavne, Israel ____________________________________________________ Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account.

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