Burden of history

It's true that users shouldn't have to know how things like the X Window System clipboard/selection mechanism works. But really, they don't have to: as the freedesktop.org documents points out, users are really expected to use the CLIPBOARD mechanism which works pretty much like clipboards on the competing platforms and live happily without the select/middle click thingy. Jarno, you only have this problem because even without an unix beard, you've been using these things long enough to know the PRIMARY selection mechanism.

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I expect Jarno has heard about this already, but just to nitpick a bit: in X Window System, selecting a piece of text does not normally copy it to the clipboard, despite this being a widely-held belief. Or well, it does, but it's not the only clipboard, and in X parlance, it's usually called the PRIMARY selection. There are three standard selections: PRIMARY, SECONDARY and CLIPBOARD.

To copy things to "the" clipboard — the CLIPBOARD selection, that is — you usually have to invoke an explicit copy operation, typically via the menu choice Edit -> Copy (or your localized equivalent) or via a keyboard shortcut, typically Ctrl-C. You might notice some similarities to certain other systems. And the same goes for the opposite actions: middle clicking only pastes the PRIMARY selection. To paste the contents of the clipboard, Edit -> Paste or Ctrl-V is typically the way.

For more information, see the explanation at freedesktop.org.

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Straw 0.19

Yow. Just released it. Finally. It's bloody late. Late as in it was supposed to be out three months ago, and late as in it was supposed to be out earlier today. Or yesterday, really, seeing what the clock says. It involved adventures with CVS (My First Branch) and stuff like that. Plenty of new stuff there, though mostly rather minor. BTW, have I ever mentioned that doing releases is way too much a hassle? I announce them on the Straw news page (hasn't updated yet when writing this, but the updated pages are in CVS), Freshmeat and the GNOME Software Map (which I see still sports the old look), and it always feels like it takes ages.

I hope I didn't screw up too badly when fooling around with CVS.

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Straw and Dashboard

As you might have noticed if you follow these things, I actually did something about that Dashboard thing and now the changes to Straw are in CVS. I don't have screenshots of it myself, but Nat has.

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Groan like it's 1997

I used AIX today. The last time was in 1997. Except for the fact that the black POWER (tee hee) box packed quite a bit more punch than the horrible Apple-branded POS the size of a small fridge I had to use six years ago, it felt like nothing had changed. CDE. ksh. It all came rushing back.

Man, this old slow Linux box running GNOME feels good.

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UI infatuation

As an excercise in pain, I've been installing quite a bit of software on a old IBM ThinkPad 600 running Windows 2000 today. I only have to use the machine for two weeks or so, but for that time I do need software. Like a sensible browser. And because W2K makes Galeon and Epiphany non-options, the next choice was Mozilla Firebird.

It's not too bad. It seems to fit in a lot better in the Windows UI than Seamonkey, the previous version of Mozilla's browser, ever did in GNOME. Maybe because my Windows looks the same as every other Windows out there, but my GNOME is running non-default theme (oh, I just checked: Firebird is better at mimicking GNOME than Seamonkey is. Cool.) Mozilla does manage to assimilate some of the customizations, but not nearly all. It's fast, too; it feels faster than IE6.

And, man, I stumbled upon the coolest thing. The RadialContext extension is sexy: good looking, fast, functional. I've heard of pie menus before, but never used one. Partly because all the screenshots always looked butt-ugly. Well, not with RadialContext. In fact, in real life it looks better than in the screen shots. And it feels good to use. It does mostly everything gestures do, but better. Fast and easy gestures accomplish all the operations in the context menus, and you get visual help while still learning where everything is.

Highly recommended.

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