Is it possible to allow a keyboard's volume keys to continue working when your desktop is locked? Currently, the default behavior disables all special-function keys until the desktop's unlocked. I like to use my PC as a music player and leave it locked when I'm not directly at the console, but I still want to let people to control the volume if a song's too loud.
Somewhat of a shameful plug, but since there didn't seem to be any existing solution, and since the task seemed relatively straight-forward, I wrote a simple Python daemon to fix the problem. It uses the python-xlib API to capture system-wide key presses and then runs custom shell commands. It assumes a basic Debian/Ubuntu setup, but would probably work on most Linux systems with a few tweaks.
For my case, the volume up/down keys map to the code 122/123, so the corresponding commands to lower or raise volume only when the desktop is locked are:
Admittedly, that's a bit verbose. The second grep is to find the active sound interface on systems that might have several (e.g. my laptop has a Master and Headphone interface, allowing these commands to control either).
This problem needs to be solved on a general level. A workaround is no solution. With older Ubuntu versions (from 2010 or so) the volume hotkey still worked at a locked screen.
I consider this a bug, especially since other hotkeys still work at a locked screen, like the WiFi key, screen brightness and sleep. For security reasons, I'd rather see the WiFi and sleep hotkeys locked, but not locking hotkeys at all - of course - is most convenient. Best choice is to have an option for this at "System Settings/Brightness & Lock" or in gconf.
protected by Community♦ Jan 10 '15 at 14:39
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