Cut, Copy, Paste Nightmare

Gordon Messmer yinyang at
Thu Jun 1 03:56:41 UTC 2006

Tim wrote:
> I find the Linux way of doing it a right pain in the bum.

There's no "linux way".  X offers you the flexibility to use multiple 
clipboards, but doesn't force you to use any one, particularly not one 
that's a pain.

> First
> -----
> Linux:  I have some document with a word I'd like to replace.  I *have*
> to delete the word, find and highlight its new replacement, paste it
> into the document.
> Windows:  Highlight the word to be replaced, and paste the new word over
> the top of it.

Yeah, you can do that in X, too.  Use the clipboard (ctrl+c or "copy" 
menu item) instead of the primary selection.  If you behave like you're 
using Windows, you'll get the results that you want.

> Second:
> Linux:  I've highlighted some details from an e-mail that I want to put
> into the email configuration.  I open up the configuration, and the
> first editable data in it is already highlighted by the application.
> It's now in the copy buffer, and I can't paste what *I* had previously
> copied.

If that's true, it's a bug in the application.  The primary selection is 
only supposed to be replaced if the user selects something.  If you open 
a window and something is automatically highlighted, it does not also 
magically replace the primary selection.

Since I don't know of any application that does that, I'll note that if, 
in Firefox, you press "Ctrl+l", the location bar's contents are 
highlighted, but the primary selection is not replaced.  If you try to 
paste the primary selection, you'll get whatever was selected before you 
pressed "Ctrl+l".

Even if the application that you're using *is* buggy, you should still 
be able to copy text to the clipboard (rather than the primary 
selection) before you open the configuration, and paste the text.

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