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When you do shift-f with less, you can see the file update in real time, and you get the "Waiting for data...(interrupt to abort)" message.

The updating works fine, but what is the interrupt? nothing seems to work (Ctrl-C, Esc, Ctrl-I etc). I always have to kill the terminal which is a pain.

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Ctrl+C works for me. When I use the F command in less, it says "(interrupt to abort)". The "interrupt" that it's referring to is whatever key is bound to the terminal interrupt. The command stty -a shows the relevant terminal settings:

speed 38400 baud; rows 50; columns 80; line = 0; intr = ^C; quit = ^\; erase = ^H; kill = ^U; eof = ^D; eol = ; eol2 = ; swtch = ; start = ^Q; stop = ^S; susp = ^Z; rprnt = ^R; werase = ^W; lnext = ^V; flush = ^O; min = 1; time = 0; -parenb -parodd cs8 -hupcl -cstopb cread -clocal -crtscts -ignbrk -brkint -ignpar -parmrk -inpck -istrip -inlcr -igncr icrnl ixon -ixoff -iuclc -ixany -imaxbel -iutf8 opost -olcuc -ocrnl onlcr -onocr -onlret -ofill -ofdel nl0 cr0 tab0 bs0 vt0 ff0 isig icanon iexten echo echoe echok -echonl -noflsh -xcase -tostop -echoprt echoctl echoke

It's the intr = ^C that shows that interrupt is generated by Ctrl+C.

If you do stty -a what does it show?

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it says intr = ^C. Aha!! it's actually Ctrl-shift-c - ie upper case. Thanks for the help – Daniel Oct 25 '09 at 13:05
That's weird - I've never known Ctrl+Shift to be different from just Ctrl. Mine shows upper case C, but Ctrl+c (without shift) works fine. – Randy Orrison Oct 25 '09 at 13:21
I've never used a system that treated ctrl-c and ctrl-C differently, either. Just a data point. – CarlF Oct 25 '09 at 13:45
I'm having the same issue, and neither ctrl-c nor ctrl-shift-c works. Could this have something to do with the fact that i'm running less inside a screen session? – jenming Dec 13 '13 at 22:35
This works for me: 'ctrl-shift-c' switch to normal mode and simply enter q to quit – Mohammad Ali Akbari Mar 30 '15 at 20:00

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