Monday, August 12, 2013

Braindead X11 Clipboard Exposed

I've been using Linux with X11 as GUI system as my primary and only work system for like 6 years now. It's great, much better than another world - asymptotically.  But there're few issues which sustain - an  being hated - for years. One of them is how clipboard in X11 works. It works illogically, unpredictably, and non-reliably. Based on many years' background black-box analysis, there appears to be more than one clipboard buffer, and some apps apparently take clipboard with themselves when they quit.

It finally came a right moment to both be hit by it and have time to investigate. This blog post shares the same sentiment as I above, and confirms suspected design braindeadness.

To quote:

Three selections are defined in the ICCCM: CLIPBOARD, PRIMARY, and SECONDARY, each of which behaves like a clipboard in its own right:
  • CLIPBOARD: traditionally used when text is copied and pasted from the edit menu, or via the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V shortcuts in applications that support them.
  • PRIMARY: traditionally used when a mouse selection is made, and pasted with middle-click or Shift-Insert.
  • SECONDARY: ill-defined secondary selection. Most applications don't use it.

Be gone soon, X11, be replaced by something sane.

No comments: