bash has emacs key binding if you need to navigate around the current command and edit it … most novices ( that includes me as well) use the arrow keys to navigate and fix the errors or change the commands however i watched a nice screen cast on bash command line editing which explained how one could use the Meta key to navigate one word at a time instead of one character at a time using the arrow keys. on the pc keyboard the Alt key is mapped to the Meta key unfortunately when i tried to use the Meta key on the gnome-terminal on ubuntu hardy heron it interered with the predefined menu shortcut keys (Alt+F etc. ) that allow easy menu access from the key board. note the underlined letters in the menu bar of gnome-terminal in the following picture
now that Alt was being used for something else that i rarely used i was in a fix. i first tried using the Esc key as a Meta key but it is too far on the keyboard and keeping it pressed continuously caused some weird beeps and flickers so that was the end of it.
turns out that one can switch off the menu shortcuts in gnome-terminal as follows. go to the Edit menu and choose Keyboard Shortcuts and check the following options disabling the use of Alt key in menu shortcuts.
that is it you are are done 🙂
more power to the keyboard and more power to emacs 😀