[Xcb] Few questions about the X selections

Barton C Massey bart at cs.pdx.edu
Sat Jan 26 14:37:45 PST 2008

In message <18071eea0801261054m4a8ab1a3l4e3b7d01bc368116 at mail.gmail.com> you wrote:
> > We could really use a good selections analysis and
> > conversion tool, as Maxim describes, though.  I've thought
> > about writing one myself, but haven't had the time.  You're
> > probably aware of xclip, but it only deals with text
> > selections and really doesn't provide much debugging.  I'd
> > love to see someone extend or replace it to support
> > arbitrary mime types and to give better information about
> > what's going on.
> Can you elaborate more on what you'd like it to do?

I like the xclip structure of being a "command-line
clipboard".  But I want to be able to say "xclip -selection
clipboard -show" to get a nice verbose dump of the selection
types supported by the current selection holder.  I'd like
to be able to say things like "xclip -selection clipboard
-out -type image/jpeg -noconvert" or "xclip -in -selection
primary -type UTF-8" to obtain, set, and convert data of
various textual or non-textual types.

Right now the state of the "selection target atoms" in ICCCM
is pretty fuzzy.  There's a set of standard atoms defined by
ICCCM, and many applications now also support mime types as
selection types.  This leaves some outstanding issues. Until
such time as we start to work on further standardizing
non-text and wacky-text selections, hopefully soon, we need
to be real clear about what applications are doing here.

So xclip is a really nice tool for moving text around
between X applications that often have broken cut-and-paste.
I want more than that, both for working on debugging
cut-and-paste in other applications, and for moving things
like images or even fonts around using the X clipboard.


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