I installed Ubuntu 14.04 and use fvwm as the windows manager. The Ctrl+space does not set mark in Emacs. It seems that Ctrl+Space does nothing. I use Ctrl+Alt + F2 to go to the console, and Emacs works correctly there. If I use the Ubuntu default windows manager, emacs also works correctly. Does anyone have ideas what could be wrong? Thank you very much.

  • You might want to update the title as it's not specific to fvwm. I had the same problem with awesome-wm as well. May 17, 2014 at 23:34
  • 1
    @LesterCheung yep, it is a problem with Ubuntu 14.04 and emacs. (I use KDE for eg.)
    – bfootdav
    May 18, 2014 at 15:12
  • 1
    General problem affecting many applications, see askubuntu.com/q/243639. Oct 29, 2014 at 9:59

2 Answers 2


I had this same issue and it looks like it's a problem with ibus. From the commandline run: ibus-setup

Under General::Next Input Method you should see <Control>space. Click on the three dots and change it to something else. Hit Apply and close out. ctrl-space should work in Emacs now.

  • 3
    OMG!, Ubuntu (or whatever is going on) should not override such a basic editing command in Emacs! Aug 23, 2014 at 19:39
  • @brady-trainor Although ctrl-space is very important for emacs users it is unused by the majority of ubuntu users and having a nice global shortcut for switching language is important, too, at least for non-english users.
    – user829755
    Jun 20, 2016 at 5:55

For kubuntu users:

  • go Global shortcut
  • add this control+space shortcup to any (undefined) action , (ie: keymap switcher)
  • then a popup will tell there is a conflict with other definition
  • confirm to reassign
  • delete shortcut

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