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RE: Selection changes in revno 100822

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Selection changes in revno 100822
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 12:29:29 -0700

> > Emacs has traditionally associated mouse-2 pasting with yanking the
> > head of the kill ring.
> Drew, you make a convincing argument that you would like selecting
> text to set the clipboard with that text.

I did not say that in what you quoted - read it again.  Does it say anything
about mouse _selection_?  No.  It speaks about mouse-2 _pasting_ as yanking the
kill-ring head.

I asked, "What is gained by losing the ability to yank from the kill ring using
the mouse?"

You yourself said "Does this mean I have no way of pasting from the primary
selection without using a mouse?  That's hardly a Good Thing."  That speaks
about the other direction.  You expressed concern about being able to use the
keyboard to paste something that might have been selected using the mouse.

I'm concerned about both directions.

Yes, I did say that "I often use C-y to yank text that I have previously
selected using the mouse.  And I often use mouse-2 to yank text that I have
previously selected using the keyboard."  Both directions, for the mouse and for
the keyboard.  Just what Emacs has always offered.

I don't care so much what you call the kind of saved selection that can be
pasted/yanked by the mouse or the keyboard.  Calling it primary or clipboard,
and saying that one or the other is "supposed" to be lightweight etc. according
to the X std does not weigh heavily as an argument.  For me.  X-standardization
is not the goal, for me.

Express what will change for _users_, operationally, and why it is a good thing.
Don't just say that the change is good and the traditional behavior is "bogus".
State clearly what is to be gained by changing.  And say clearly and completely
what the change is.  Whether the change will be a change in default or just an
option - same need to explain it clearly.

> It turns out others don't want that.

Some others who are promoting this change, sure.  _I_ might not want it either,
once you explain the advantages of something different.  My guess is that most
people here are not even clear on what is being proposed - what the change is.

That's my point: Make clear what the stakes are for users: What will be changed
_from a user point of view_.  And why it is a good thing: advantages,
disadvantages.  Do not just argue about what X conformity demands - argue about
what you want for Emacs users.

How do you expect any of us to decide what we think is best if it's not clear
what behavior changes are proposed?

I said clearly that my preference for the traditional default behavior is only
tentative, based on familiarity with it and a fuzzy idea (ignorance) of what
changes are being proposed.  I like what Emacs has always let me do, and so far
it doesn't sound like I would prefer what has been hinted at vaguely.

But tell me the advantage of not being able to use C-y to yank what you have
selected with the mouse and not being able to use mouse-2 to paste what you have
selected with the keyboard.  I'm ready to be persuaded, just let me know what
the advantages are.

This is no different from any other change to Emacs in this regard - we deserve
to have an idea where we're headed.

> Assuming that we have or will have an option to get you
> what you want, this becomes an argument about the default behavior.
> Is it still worth our time to have that argument?  Does it really
> matter if you are part of the majority or not?
> Instead of arguing about the defaults, I'd suggest to discuss the
> various preferences of users regarding this, and see that we have one
> or two clearly defined options to get everyone what they want,
> including on X/ns, on Windows, and on text-only terminals that support
> the mouse.

We agree that users should at a minimum have the ability to get back the
traditional Emacs behavior, and that that possibility is more important than
whatever the default behavior might end up being.  That's always the case, for
any proposed change.

Is there a clear proposal to change the default behavior?  It seems that such a
change is being made, but I've seen no real proposal for that.  If there is such
a proposal, then let's hear arguments in favor of it - and primarily in terms of
benefits (and costs) to Emacs users.

I'm open to arguments about the default behavior, and I'm sure others are too.
I was quite clear that my feeling about the default is only tentative, "until I
hear some actual arguments (reasons) wrt the _benefit to users_ of such a
change".  Let's hear the arguments for changing the default.

Let's not just say that the traditional behavior is "bogus" or act as if we must
make Emacs fit the X standard.  Let's have a real discussion in terms of
behavior for users: what are the benefits and costs of the proposed behavior

So far, we've gotten actual changes (implementation) with no arguments
supporting them.  When people complained, they were sometimes told that the
changes (but which ones?) are only temporary bugs that will soon be fixed (and a
few have been).  But sometimes it seems that some of the implemented changes are
intended (which ones?), and no real reasons have been given for them beyond

And it really doesn't matter at this point whether the issue is the default
behavior or optional behavior.  Even if the new behavior will be optional, we
still deserve a clear explanation of it and arguments letting us know its
advantages and disadvantages.

It's amazing to me that we've gotten this far along with no proposal,
discussion, and argument about pros & cons for users.

That's not the way to proceed.  If great, positive changes are in store, then
please discuss them openly.  State clearly what will change from a user
perspective, and what benefits and costs you see for users.

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