Standardized keyboard shortcut to paste PRIMARY?

Laurence Darby ldarby at
Sun Feb 18 08:13:09 PST 2007


I'm new to this list... maybe you'll think I'm beating a dead horse
that is really starting to smell, but IMHO it is still galloping round
the field.   I spent all yesterday and this morning searching for an
answer, and found nothing satisfactory.

Is there a standard that specifies a keyboard shortcut for pasting the
PRIMARY buffer?

If not, why not?

Why I want one:
Reaching for the mouse, moving the mouse to where I want to insert the
text (which is already where the text cursor is 99% of the time)
middle-clicking, then moving back to the keyboard again, is getting
really bloody tiresome.

Recently I learned exactly what PRIMARY and CLIPBOARD are and how to
display their contents, with xsel, which can also be used to copy
PRIMARY to the CLIPBOARD.  But that's a kludge around the problem, and
requires an extra keypress which may as well be Ctrl-C or Ctrl-Shift-C
or whatever the application thinks it should be to set CLIPBOARD, but
at least it would be a single key, configured in the window manager.

Other kludges like "shift-mouse"-select could work, but again with an
extra key press and impossible to implement consistently across all

Also I tried mapping the windows key to middle-mouse, but that was
pointless because it needed the mouse to be moved to where the text
cursor is first.

Lastly there are managers like klipper which take a whole 20MB ram just
to make selecting text set the CLIPBOARD, which is semi-acceptable to
me but breaks CLIPBOARD functionality.

Ideas on how to implement it:

 - Find the low level "paste(PRIMARY)" function in X11  (if such a thing
   exists) that middle-mouse seems to be mapped to by default, and map a
   key directly to that, instead of mapping a key to middle-mouse.

 - Change GTK and QT, and everything else that maps Shift-insert to
   paste CLIPBOARD, to paste PRIMARY.  This is technically possible,
   but politically impossible.  If I did go down that road I'd be stuck
   maintaining my own patches and being inconsistent with everyone
   else's desktop.

 - Create a standard that says: Key binding Shift-insert (or something
   else) pastes PRIMARY, and wait for everything to implement it at
   glacial pace.

Thanks for reading.


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