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Re: The Real Problem With Debian

I'm able to find the docs I need by searching either on google or TLDP. I went through all my newbie pains with BSD and SunOS back in the 80's. But there's a problem I've never been able to solve.

This problem isn't debian-specific, but with X and the different desktop systems.

I find the clipboard utterly incomprehensible, and nearly useless.

Try this for example:

Copy some text from a gnome-terminal and then highlight some text in the URL box of mozilla and paste to replace it with a URL you got out of the terminal.

Or copy some text from a window, close the window (to make space on the screen) and then paste. The text disappears, because X doesn't really have a concept of a clipboard, but uses selections instead, and if the selection disappears, so does your text.

It's especially difficult with a one-button ADB mouse on a Macintosh, but at least there is a workaround available.

Mozilla manages to do it in a way that I find comfortable, but it only works when transferring text within mozilla or from mozilla to other applications. And it only works as long as mozilla is still running. What mozilla apparently does is maintain an internal clipboard buffer that it declares as the selection to the rest of X, rather than supplying text that is selected in a window but has not been subjected to a "Copy" command.

I had an email exchange with Richard Stallman a while back about what I thought Free Software needed in order to succeed with the masses, and I named the mysterious clipboard as the number one problem.

(I understand why it should be this way, because what you would ordinarily want to do is have the X server provide a clipboard buffer, but historically X servers had very little memory, as with X terminals. But that's really not the case now on a linux system. There's also the issue of the speed of transferring lots of clipboard data across the network, but in most cases people are using X on a single machine.)

Michael D. Crawford
GoingWare Inc. - Expert Software Development and Consulting

     Tilting at Windmills for a Better Tomorrow.

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