Keyboard Selection and the Copy/Paste Buffer

Vuples Velox VVfdol1 at
Thu Jun 24 02:55:53 EEST 2004

On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 15:50:34 -0400
"Jamethiel Knorth" <jamethknorth at> wrote:

> There appears to be no current standard for how to treat keyboard 
> selections, as opposed to mouse selections, in regards to the
> cut/copy/paste buffer.
> As far as I can see, there is no good reason for having a difference
> between the mouse and keyboard selection. The primary selection
> buffer represents what is selected or was last selected. Since
> selecting something by keyboard removes the mouse selection, it
> seems that it would also change what the primary selection buffer
> is.
> I would like to recommend the following three additions to the 
> specification/explanation on treatment of
> cut/copy/paste buffers. [1]
> The following paragraph should be added after the summary of the
> proper behavior and before the bulleted list describing the problems
> with the improper behavior:
> Regarding how keyboard selections, no standard has yet arisen. To
> clarify usage, selections made by the keyboards should be treated
> the same as selections made by the keyboard. The PRIMARY selection
> is treated as the current selection, not the selection last made by
> the mouse.
> The following point should be added to the list of things
> application programmers should do to support this standard (likely
> as the second point):
> - selections made using the keyboard should be treated the same as 
> selections made using the mouse
> There is likely a need for some reference to keyboards in the
> historical section of that document as well.
> For examples of where this is currently being done differently:
> OpenOffice: treats mouse and keyboard selections the same.
> Mozilla: treats mouse and keyboard selections the same.
> Qt Widgets: ignore keyboard selections.
> GTK Widgets: fail on both keyboard and mouse selections.
> AbiWord: treats mouse and keyboard selections the same.
> KWrite: treats mouse and keyboard selections the same.
> The GIMP: fails on keyboard selections.
> KWord: ignores keyboard selections.
> This is a significant inconsistency problem in how the
> cut/copy/paste buffer is treated, and it is apparently not addressed
> anywhere.
> I previously raised this issue on the kde-usability mailing list [2]
> but we were unable to come to any concensus. Many people disagree
> with this position. Although I think that it is better to have
> keyboard and mouse selections treated the same, I think it is more
> important to have them be treated consistently between applications.
> Even if there is reason not to follow what I recommended, the
> guidelines should at least give mention one-way-or-another.
> Another thing that came up from the usability discussion of this was
> that the guidelines do not address non-implicit selections. I'm not
> sure they need to, as everyone appears to do that the same, but it
> might be worth adding. That is, a selection which the user does not
> do implicitly should not affect the buffer. For example, if I hit
> tab and that moves me to a new combo-box, it also selects the
> contents of the combo-box. The selection was not implicit in my
> action, so it should not affect the primary selection.

Well if you want a quick fix grab a program for providing keyboard in
put from the cli and use xclip to feed it... then use what ever hotkey
program you are using to run the script...

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