Some X developers decided that it's too easy to accidentally press 3 keys that are spread far apart on the keyboard and require 2 hands to press simultaneously (???), so they
got rid of disabled by default Ctrl+Alt+Backspace (also known as "zapping").
Some people within Ubuntu realized that this makes no sense since X really likes to lockup.
At UDS, they decided to keep zapping available, but they would disable it by default. Having a way to re-enable (from a GUI) zapping was also agreed on at UDS.
Alberto Milone has provided us with a way to re-enable zapping from the command line and from KDE. But where's GNOME? Well, he did add a checkbox for it to the Screen Resolution tool, but it seems it won't be accepted into Ubuntu, since it's an "expert" option (according to Mark). EDIT: The discussion is on-going.
I'm with Alberto and Jordan. There are plenty of people who use ctrl+Alt+Backspace who are not experts. They use it because that's what we've recommended for years when X (inevitably) locks up. They are not going to want to muck about with xorg.conf or installing extra command line apps for it.
It wouldn't be so bad if X was actually stable. It wouldn't be so bad if our TTYs worked reliably. As it is, you have to try to switch to the TTY twice before it works, if it works. Sometimes I seem to just not have any TTYs at all. Alt+SysRq+T usually does not take me to a TTY like it should. Until Alberto posted how to fix this from the command line, the only thing I could do when X locked up (multiple times a day!) was Alt+SysRq+B: reboot the system. Things I could've fixed by just Ctrl+Alt+Backspace and waiting 5 seconds now require waiting a full reboot cycle (about 45 seconds til the desktop's usable, if I type my password really fast). Even the smallest X lockup is just as disastrous as a kernel panic now. It's like Windows.
I liked how Jordan summed it up when we were chatting: "apparently X is perfect, we have ttys all the time, and a checkbox is too complicate for users to think about."
What do you guys think? Are the TTYs reliable enough that we can count on non-experts to be able to go to TTY1 and "sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart"? Can we even count on non-experts knowing how to do that? Or do you think X is stable enough that nobody ever needs to do that?