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Re: Whatever happened to the Secondary Selection?


I read the textual description, mostly because after 20 years of using
X11 I've never even seen an implementation of the SECONDARY selection
protocol outside of Motif applications. GTK+ itself does not implement
anything with the 'SECONDARY' atom, unlike the 'PRIMARY' one —
unfortunately, if I may add.

The GTK+ team is pretty much following the behaviour set out by the
freedesktop.org clipboard specification:


which was written down in 2000-ish and has been the de facto standard
for the free software desktop since then.

Again: I think it's perfectly fine to let applications take care of
this, especially on X11. The whole PRIMARY/SECONDARY shenanigans are
pretty much the definition of unportable X11 behaviour anyway — i.e.
the Windows and macOS backends do not have any support for
PRIMARY/SECONDARY selections, even if they are part of the available
atoms in GDK, and Wayland had to get an additional protocol extension
to implement PRIMARY behaviour — again, unfortunately.


On 21 August 2016 at 12:07, Paul Davis <paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Emmanuele,
> did you watch his video?
> On Sun, Aug 21, 2016 at 3:07 AM, Emmanuele Bassi <ebassi@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Hi;
>> thanks for your email.
>> GTK+, as a project, tracks bugs and enhancements in Bugzilla -
>> https://Bugzilla.gnome.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=gtk%2b - instead of the
>> mailing list, which is only meant for discussion.
>> Additionally, the latest stable version of GTK+ is 3.20, and we plan to
>> release GTK+ 3.22 by next month.
>> We still (optionally) support the PRIMARY selection on the X11 backend,
>> and some compatibility layer for it on Wayland, but we have no plans on
>> adding support for the SECONDARY selection, as it's both barely specified
>> and, like the PRIMARY, highly confusing for anybody who is not well-versed
>> in 20+ years of use of textual interfaces on the X Windows System.
>> Personally, I would have jettisoned the PRIMARY selection a long time ago as
>> well, but apparently a very vocal minority is still holding tight to that
>> particular Easter egg. Adding support for the even more esoteric SECONDARY
>> selection on the X11 backend when we're trying to move the Linux world
>> towards the more modern and less legacy-ridden Wayland display system would
>> be problematic to say the least, and an ill fit for the majority of
>> graphical user experiences in use these days.
>> It should be entirely possible to add support for the SECONDARY selection
>> inside specific applications, like text editors; or in specific libraries,
>> like VTE for terminal emulators. It would definitely make more sense than
>> trying to apply it to all text entry widgets in GTK+.
>> Ciao,
>>  Emmanuele.
>> On Saturday, 20 August 2016, Charles Lindsey <chl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> For over 20 years, I have been using the secondary-selection (a standard
>>> feature of the X-Windows system) when editing texts, using the Solaris
>>> operating system on Sun Hardware. Recently, I have switched to Linux on i86
>>> hardware, and have been horrified to find that this valuable feature is not
>>> supported by modern toolkits and editors. The world seems to have forgotten
>>> what it was meant for, and yet I believe it is the best thing since sliced
>>> bread.
>>> This is not the place to explain what the secondary-selection does, and
>>> why it should be used more widely. To see that, I invite you to visit my
>>> website at
>>>     http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~chl/secondary-selection.html
>>> which I hope will persuade you that something needs to be done about it.
>>> Furthermore, to illustrate how it is used, I have implemented an
>>> Experimental Extension to GTK-3 so that people can try it out for themselves
>>> and to see how useful it can be for constructing texts (and particularly
>>> program texts, where there is a common requirement to grab existing bits of
>>> code - perhaps even just identifiers - from other places, whether in the
>>> same document or from outside).
>>> My implementation is based on gtk+-3.10.8, because I am using Ubuntu
>>> 14.04LTS "Trusty Tahr", though it may well work on other Linux versions. Yes
>>> I know 3.10.8 is ancient, but I don't expect my code, which is pretty hairy,
>>> to be fit for immediate incorporation in current versions of gtk. But it now
>>> works well enough for it to be tested more widely, and if people like it,
>>> then I would be happy to join the Developer Team and to do the job properly.
>>> So I invite you guys to look at my website, download my code and give it
>>> a try. I am also making this known on various other lists, because unless
>>> people try it out (and hopefully like it), there can be no pressure to take
>>> it further.
>>> Share and Enjoy!
>>> --
>>> Charles H. Lindsey ---------At Home, doing my own
>>> thing------------------------
>>> Tel: +44 161 436 6131                         Web:
>>> http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~chl
>>> Email: chl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx      Snail: 5  SK8 3JU, U.K.
>>> PGP: 2C15F1A9      Fingerprint: 73 6D C2 51 93 A0 01 E7 65 E8 64 7E 14 A4
>>> AB A5
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> gtk-devel-list mailing list
>>> gtk-devel-list@xxxxxxxxx
>>> https://mail.gnome.org/mailman/listinfo/gtk-devel-list
>> --
>> https://www.bassi.io
>> [@] ebassi [@gmail.com]
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