Re: Whatever happened to the Secondary Selection?
- Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 07:28:18 -0400
- From: Paul Davis <paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: Whatever happened to the Secondary Selection?
I think you should forget about the X Window definition of PRIMARY/SECONDARY, since this isn't really about that.It is about issues with the normal selection model, that just *happen* to be addressed by some of the concepts in X's idea of SECONDARY selection, specifically what happens to the insertion point/cursor when making conventional selections. The suggestions really have nothing to do with the specifics of X's definition, but really distill down to two key differences with this "new" selection process:
1) selection itself does not move the insertion point/cursor
2) paste occurs immediately at the end of an uncancelled selection process
I agree with you that portability issues make it hard to consider adopting this sort of model. I didn't find the video terribly compelling - I can see the issues raised with the way conventional selection works, but they don't seem substantive enough to justify introducing an entirely new (for almost all users) model.
On Sun, Aug 21, 2016 at 7:19 AM, Emmanuele Bassi <ebassi@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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:
> did you watch his video?
> On Sun, Aug 21, 2016 at 3:07 AM, Emmanuele Bassi <ebassi@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> thanks for your email.
>> GTK+, as a project, tracks bugs and enhancements in Bugzilla -
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+.
>> 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
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> Tel: +44 161 436 6131 Web:
>>> 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
>> [@] ebassi [@gmail.com]
>> gtk-devel-list mailing list
[@] ebassi [@gmail.com]
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