Alt key not working in emacs

I’m using the latest nightly x86_64.

I’m running emacs in a terminal, but when I try and use a shortcut (for example Alt-x) to run a minibuffer command, nothing works.

Does the Alt key work differently in Haiku?

Try to use the strg (ctrl) jey instead of alt and check the keyboard settings, because you can switch this

Hi Lelldorin, thanks for your help.

Alt appears to be working like Ctrl would on a BSD or Linux, but nothing appears to be working like an Alt.

(scratches head)

I’m not fussed about having to use a different key, but I do need an equivalent of Ctrl and Alt to be able to use Emacs effectively.

I’ve been messing around in Keymap and the Terminal settings, but I’m not really getting anywhere. Got any ideas on what to do?

I could be wrong but i believe i’ve had this same problem in nano (a long time i forgot all about it) where shortcuts that combine the Ctrl key work as expected whereas the ones involving the Alt key don’t, it could be a bug in our ncurse port or just that the alt key is not mapped to anything when using ncurse based editors, please try to confirm that with another editor and file a bug report., if it is the case.

Ctrl works fine with nano…

That’s what i said! but the Alt & Windows keys don’t, one of these 2 keys is suppose to act as a Meta key.

you can use ESC-x and works like Alt-x


I think Terminal currently does not forward the alt key to console applications, and keeps it for its own usage (menu shortcuts).

Sorry to necro this thread, but I found that if you set “Use left option as meta key” in the terminal settings you can use the Win key (ugh) as Alt.

Thank you for all of the suggestions.


Maybe it’s working soon. Looks like there is official support for Haiku since a few days back.;a=commit;h=85a078e7853d708e599f97a3de06aed3a1c090ea

Is this someone from our community or is it done by someone in the Emacs team?

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The new Haiku support is looking great, just need ./configure --with-be-app and you’re good to go!


Doesn’t work with alt-key by default, and captures app server keybindings (like zoom). Maybe a nice config could allow passthrough for some?

EDIT: Nevermind, it uses B_NO_SERVER_SIDE_WINDOW_MODIFIERS, there’d need to be a patch.


Why is the scrollbar in the left side? And what is that rectangular shape beside it which looks like a second scrollbar?

Even is it is a native UI it looks really alien to me.


Emacs is alien (its good with spacemacs addition though) :slight_smile:

Maybe reach out to the emacs team?

Welcome to Emacs Country :smiley:

WOW. This month is full of good news for me:

  1. SBCL Common Lisp get some improvements recently and is on its way to be packaged.
  2. Emacs GUI is sort of available in Haiku
  3. Tk is available.

Now, I would like to play with Emacs + SLIME/SLY + SBCL + LTK + Tk to write GUI in Common Lisp.

But Haiku wasn’t really meant for running obscure fragments from a past which should have been already forgotten (like unix), or does it?

If this refers to Emacs, it is not. Emacs is under active development presently. Its user interface actually looks alien in any modern OS, even in Linux. But this is not because of being outdated. As @konrad already mentioned, perhaps Spacemacs port of Emacs would look more naturally. However, it anyway depends on Emacs availability.

I meant specifically and generally in the same time. Emacs is just a superb example.

Supporting and running those programs simply elongates the vegetation / dying of those systems, theories, concepts and solutions. Basically you keep the past on life support with this, influencing generations and infecting other operating systems which promotes change for the sake of change. Which is basically the normal way of life.

I understand the point “But i can/want.” and “You can’t eliminate the unixy past from any modern OSs.” But exactly this way of thinking what made the desktop computing so terrible as we see nowadays. Do we really have to pretend nothing wrong with it and it is even useful to continue maintain this thought-school? While the linux-advocates telling everybody who not want to learn unix is simply lazy, they are unable/unwilling to learn anything different since the '70s. What does tell this about the scene?

Maybe some don’t like how emacs looks, but it’s nice to have another project offering Haiku support.


I am not sure I fully understand your point, but it seems I disagree with you.

I am not for keeping things “because I can/want”, neither because “You can’t eliminate the unixy past from any modern OSes”. Neither I agree with “changes for the sake of changes”.

Actually Emacs was born way before Linux. It never was default Unix text editor, nor is it default text editor in any OS I am aware of.

The point of Emacs, which keeps it relevant and actual for present day computing is its features, its niche still uncovered by any existing software. As an example, you can consider Eclipse IDE for Java / C++ / Web (and many other domains) programming. However, with almost each new release of Java, Eclipse needs a new release to support the language new features. In Emacs very same is achieved by installable packages (even not plugins), so you can use the same version of Emacs to efficiently program in new standards of C++ / Java / Web / etc.

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Or the section where you explained it got features.

Something being under development doesn’t say anything about it usefulness for the mankind. Something rooted in the way past, originates from a different OS, written in lisp not necessarily good thing to support. Even if some people cannot imagine to work with something else, see the long standing ideology war between the vim and emacs users.

Is the program as is fits in the worldview in the Haiku ecosystem or is it just an alien thing? If the answer is negative, it should been replaced with something else. For the sake of change, because it is 2021, and the '70s are over. Even if some people deny this.

I would counter-argue: how much of the problems for which emacs provides solution resulted from the thought-school which resulted emacs?