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Re: emacs24 X primary selection changes

From: Jason Rumney
Subject: Re: emacs24 X primary selection changes
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2013 06:18:39 -0800 (PST)
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Saturday, 5 January 2013 07:11:43 UTC+8, Bob Proulx  wrote:

> But X Window applications have always expected dragging mouse-1 to
> copy text and mouse-2 to paste text.

Which is what Emacs has always, and still does.

> I am becoming more convinced that it is a poor description.  But that
> modifying word "modern" is a "weasel word" that makes it harder to
> nail down.  It allows for "modern X app" to be different from "X app".
> If modern X applications are becoming more MS Windows like then it is
> true even if it is less X Window like.

Modern X applications are not becoming less X Window like.  In the bad old 
days, you had applications like xterm that only supported PRIMARY, and other 
applications (CDE ones especially, probably also Motif where they came from) 
that only supported CLIPBOARD.  There was no standard, and Emacs way of doing 
things was only one of many.

Now things are standardising - PRIMARY is for the currently selected text, and 
CLIPBOARD is for text that you explicitly put there.  It has been that way in 
Emacs for some time, except that the Emacs kill-ring (C-w/M-w/C-y) put PRIMARY 
are the front of the kill-ring, even though use of the kill-ring is an explicit 
action, so fits better with the CLIPBOARD.

In summary:

Selecting text with the mouse or keyboard: puts the text in PRIMARY for as long 
as the selection remains active and some other application does not override 
it.  In earlier versions, the text could remain in PRIMARY even after the 
selection became inactive.

mouse-2: inserts the text from PRIMARY (in previous versions it inserted from 
the kill-ring, which was often the same thing due to Emacs putting PRIMARY at 
the head of the kill-ring).

C-y: inserts the text from the kill-ring. In Emacs-24, CLIPBOARD from other 
applications is automatically placed at the head of the kill-ring, in previous 
versions, PRIMARY from other applications is automatically placed at the head 
of the kill-ring.

C-w/M-w: kill/copy to the kill-ring.  In Emacs-24, these also put text on the 
CLIPBOARD for other applications. In earlier versions, they put non-selected 
text into PRIMARY (which is non-standard behaviour - I don't think any other X 
application does/did this).

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