Primary/Clipboard behavior for copy with no prior selection

Greg Hudson ghudson at MIT.EDU
Fri Jun 18 20:24:33 EEST 2004

This mail is in reference to the excellent documents at:

Both documents seem to assume that an explicit "copy" command happens
after text is selected.  But there are cases where text is "copied"
without being selected.  The examples I've collected:

  * Click on 'select' in xfontsel
  * In gnome-panel, right-click on clock applet and select "Copy time"
  * In Evolution, right-click on URL and select "Copy link location"
  * In Mozilla, right-click on link and select "Copy link location"
  * In Mozilla, right-click on mailto link and select "Copy email address"

Empirically, the behaviors I've observed are:

  xfontsel		Update primary, not clipboard
  gnome-panel		Update clipboard, not primary
  Evolution		Update primary and clipboard
  Mozilla		Update primary and clipboard

Obviously, xfontsel is just old and is doing the wrong thing.  It
would be nice if I could point at these documents and say that
gnome-panel is also doing the wrong thing by only updating the
clipboard.  (Unless people feel that Evolution and Mozilla are doing
the wrong thing.  My users seem to feel that they should be able to
"Copy time" from the gnome-panel clock applet and then paste the
result with the middle mouse button.)


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