[Annoyances] X-Windows Copy & Paste

Havoc Pennington hp at redhat.com
Tue Aug 19 16:57:10 EEST 2003

On Tue, Aug 19, 2003 at 12:42:20PM +0100, Richard Boulton wrote: 
> Two problems with that:
>      i) It requires users to know about some secret method for
>         putting the copy into the clipboard.  Secret in the sense that
>         users have to read the documentation to know about the
>         shortcuts, and most users never do that.  In applications with
>         menus, the user can look at the shortcut listed beside the menu
>         option, but xterm, pterm, etc don't have such menus.
>         I don't think we should be aiming just to make it possible to
>         use the clipboard - we should be aiming to make it easy.

So add menus to these apps! The solution is pretty clear.
Oh wait, they don't even use a toolkit... ;-)

>     ii) It requires the key shortcuts to be captured by the terminal - I
>         know that the developers of pterm are always concerned about
>         capturing any more keys than neccessary because it risks
>         breaking applications running in the terminal by stopping them
>         receiving key presses the user might have intended for them.
>         Key shortcuts, like menus, aren't always appropriate.

Terminals are a freaky special case. Still, if the developers can't
figure out a way to present available commands to the user, you've
thrown all learnability out the window. Clipboard is hardly the only
such case.

Since there are at least two properly learnable, reasonable UI,
menu-bar-enabled terminals available, I don't think this is a huge
concern for the Linux/UNIX desktop as a whole.

Basically, xterm is busted UI-wise. There's no fix for it, other than 
linking xterm to a real toolkit and adding real UI.


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