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Re: On cut, copy, paste etc...

From: David De La Harpe Golden
Subject: Re: On cut, copy, paste etc...
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2008 20:01:45 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla-Thunderbird (X11/20080724)

Eli Zaretskii wrote:

> Do you mean literally the clipboard (as opposed to X selection, that
> is)? 

See below...

> Because C-w does set the X selection, and yank does look at the
> X selection.  Isn't that what other GUI applications do on X?


There are many X Selection "objects", some of which have basically
nothing to do with any user-visible "selection" (e.g. mediating who's
the current compositing manager...).

Under fd.o conventions, the PRIMARY X Selection is supposed to
correspond to the last selected-by-the-user thing (the thing currently
highlighted on screen, typically) and be inserted with middle-button
click.  Another, the CLIPBOARD X Selection, is supposed to correspond to
the last explicitly cut/copied (typically C-x/C-c) thing and be inserted
with paste (typically C-v).  The two are supposed to be essentially


With unpatched emacs, no matter what settings you set, there /is no way/
to get it to do the exact "right" (w.r.t. fd.o) thing. Emacs tends to
set and get the "wrong" one, or set and get both, and generally
irritates and confuses users used to fd.o conventions.

Some long-time (often pre-fd.o or even pre-ICCCM) X/emacs users like it
that way and dislike fd.o conventions in the first place (the fd.o
conventions make X app cut/copy/paste seem much like other platforms,
with the highlight/middlebutton PRIMARY interaction as a "bonus").

I supplied rather invasive patches some time ago (Feb 2008) to allow
emacs to _optionally_ better support fd.o conventions in addition to all
existing possible emacs bahaviours, discussed ad nauseum on-list in
monster thread "Improving X Selection?". They probably need more work
before even I would think they're suitable for inclusion though (and
we're in feature freeze now :-) ).

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