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I have many key combinations involving Alt in Emacs. When I run it in gnome-terminal and press Alt, it invokes menu items like "File" or "Edit", instead of executing Emacs commands.

How can I change this behavior? Or should I go for another terminal emulator?

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This may depend on the version of gnome-terminal, but on Debian squeeze you can configure this under Edit > Keyboard shortcuts..., uncheck the first checkbox in the dialog ("Enable menu access keys").

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