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GNOME Developers Hate the Mouse, Remove Middle-Click Paste (softpedia.com)
65 points by jbk 1371 days ago | hide | past | web | 125 comments | favorite

Lets all just agree to ignore Gnome. They can go sit in their cell, and draw unusable user interfaces on the walls in wax crayon, and mumble about how, with all the features removed except one big bright button that you can't click because it recognises neither mouse nor keyboard, Gnome is finally complete.

Why are non-gnome users always so pissed about Gnome when there apparently are so many excellent alternatives?

We may not use GNOME today, but many of us did happily use it before the GNOME 3 disaster. After that happened, though, we had no choice but to move to other environments.

Some of us even hoped that maybe someday the situation would reverse itself, and GNOME could once again become a viable desktop environment. Unfortunately, it has become clear over time that this is not the case, and likely never will be.

It's disappointing to see a project that was once quite useful, yet still with a lot of potential, be destroyed so quickly and unnecessarily. And it's perfectly acceptable and understandable for us to voice our displeasure with further degradation of what GNOME once stood for.

Because I, for one, could give two shits about the GNOME desktop environment as a whole, but find that there are occasionally useful applications written for it.

Most recently, GNOME Terminal, ironically enough (it's about as non-GUI as you can get for an application, but it's a reasonably nice terminal emulator, and does a few things my trusty old rxvt doesn't: dynamic rescaling, dynamic color themes).

Rhythmbox comes to mind. A few others.

I really don't care where the hell my apps come from, in terms of toolkit. But if they break very-well-established Linux / Unix behaviors, it really pisses me off.

I've also seen GNOME disease utterly fuck up perfectly good applications (the Galeon Web browser comes to mind).

Worse, occasionally unaffiliated developers look at what GNOME is doing after a few too many hits on the crack pipe themselves and think it's a good idea.

GNOME's utter user hostility and imperviousness to any level of logic or reason had already gotten old a decade ago.

/shrug, I love my konsole and clementine.

It can get old. Just use something else. I tried gnome3 when it happened and jumped ship like a sinking Titanic. I'm now heavily invested in kde, and version 5 isn't going to change direction into this minimalist nightmare, its still all about choice, except under the hood it gets much faster and cleaner with qt5/ gl accelerated qml.

I have been trying to use KDE lately. I can configure it in every way imaginable, which scratches an itch for sure, but: it takes forever to start up. After login, the gnome desktop will come up almost instantly, but KDE will sit on the splash screen for a solid thirty seconds. Is there some 'go faster' setting that everyone knows about but me?

Disable the splash screen, I always do. Its in system settings around sessions, I think. You get to the desktop in a third the time but it might need a few seconds to be fully responsive. Also, nepomuk starting up will drastically slow down the boot time, so if you don't need the semantic search features disable it.

Really? It's 2013 and the login experience in Linux is that of windows 98? Login, but don't do anything until the disk led stops blinking like mad. Depressing...

Me, I've gone i3wm, but it's not for the faint of heart; And it still depends on lots of gnome utilities, like the network manager or the settings daemon.

It's 2013 and the login experience in Linux is that of windows 98? Login

It really depends on your WM. Some of the heavier desktops, yes. With the lighter ones (again, I use WindowMaker), I'm up and running in a couple of seconds (there are some apps and utilities which take a few seconds to launch).

The mouseless / tiling WMs (such as i3wm) are pretty cool as well.

In neither of these cases am I particularly wedded to the tools, and I've tried a few other terminals (the xfce4 terminal app also seems pretty sane). I actually like most of the ideas behind KDE, I just can't stand the implementation of the desktop, but it doesn't go out of its way to piss the hell out of me. I find its PIM, Kontact, is hands down the best such tool I've encountered in any environment (though for straight email, mutt still wins).

No, the problem is that perfectly serviceable applications get utterly buggered by the brain-death of the underlying toolkit. By changing functionality as fundamental as middle-click mouse behavior. And it's reached the point that being a GNOME application is a liability: I'm going to look at it cross-eyed and search out an alternative if at all possible.

As another poster noted, his use of a venerable old window manager, in his case, Enlightenment DR16, means he isn't subject to an entire class of insults: "creeping featurism/bloat slowing down or interfering with overall responsiveness, or this recent distressing trend to remove well-established features and behaviors."

The simple fact is that the basics of a GUI desktop were established 40 years ago[1], and most of the changes since have involved price, performance, graphics rendering quality, and a very small number of behavioral modifications.

Technology offers diminishing returns to scale, and there's only so much benefit any graphical environment can offer by changing. And in doing so it loses its key benefit: familiarity. NO graphical environment is fully intuitive, it's all learned. Tossing out that learning on a regular basis is an anti-feature.

And so pdkl95 uses the decade-old E16, I use WindowMaker, clone of a 1989 desktop. A highly skilled hacker and repeat entrepreneur I know uses twm -- a very heavily hacked configuration, but twm all the same. It BLAZES on modern hardware. First released in 1987.

Even Apple has made relatively few modifications to its OS X interface, Aqua (and most were met with much gnashing of teeth). Microsoft's UI changes are a large part of the negative response to its recent Windows and Office offerings. Really, the improvements simply aren't worth the cost.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_Alto

Because we used to like it.

Actually, I rather like Gnome as evident in the version that came with Gnome Ubuntu 13.04, but that is besides the point.

RHEL 7 will ship with a Gnome desktop on desktop clients, and whatever Red Hat release will be cloned into CentOS, Scientific Linux and Springfield Linux. That, I gather, in total, is rather a large number of screens. The users of those screens in various organisations will not be able to install a different DE as they (may) not have admin rights and (may) not have access to repositories with alternative DEs available. Red Hat have already suggested that they will be releasing the RHEL 7 desktop with gnome classic as the default to minimise training costs.

If anyone here knows of a RHEL type managed system with a large number of screens, it would be interesting to see how RHEL 7 is accepted over the next few years (of course, they may decide not to upgrade until RHEL6 is EoL).

Because it leeches potential talent away from other projects?

I don't really have a big ax to grind with Gnome, but I don't understand why it remained relevant after the KDE/Qt licensing issue was resolved.

A lot of us are Gnome users.

Looking at the commit in question, they're not only removing it, they're planning to have a new function for middle clicking:

> The middle-click will be used to start selections, and provide text contextual menus (such as word definitions, sharing, etc.)

This seems wrong. They're removing a slightly obscure feature to replace it with a completely obscure one. I wouldn't call myself an UX expert, but this seems to violate at least two important principles:

1. Affordance/User expectations: How is anybody going to figure this out, if not by accident? Worse, users who knew the middle click will probably be irritated by this.

2. Consistency: Are only Gnome applications going to support this? It very much seems like that. So their new function for middle clicking won't even work consistently across applications.

I know I'm being an armchair critic here, but I honestly wonder why they think it's a good idea.

2 doesn't really matter because other desktops might not want this at all. If they do, someone should make an effort to create a freedesktop.org standard codifying the (shared) behaviour in an agnostic manner. Can happen, but if you want to run a KDE program in Gnome you're bound to see inconsistencies all over the place. Both of them think their way is best.

There's nothing obscure about middle-click paste. It's been a standard on every UNIX workstation going back to SunOS and IRIX

Imagine, if you will, that Gnome developers had control over keyboards. The first key to be removed would be sysreq, then scroll-lock, and break. And it was dubbed Keyboard 2.0

In Keyboard 2.1, the caps lock key was removed as you can use the shift key. The Windows key was surplus to requirements, there's a perfectly good alt key.

Fast forward to Keyboard 3.0. There is no longer a control key (hold down alt for 2 seconds!), numlock is gone (the top row has numbers), cursor keys gone (you can use a mouse to move around).

In Keyboard 3.1 they removed the shift key as stylistically capitals aren't necessary.

in keyboard 3.2 they removed the comma and semicolon. these really aren't necessary as you don't need to pause when reading.

in keyboard 3.3 there is no need for single quotes because you should not use contractions. that just causes confusion and besides the amount of debates and derision around it were getting ridiculous. justification: world peace and an end to grammar nazis.

in keyboard 35 they are seriously considering removing the enter key the exclamation mark and any characters that require umlauts also they have removed the full stop because ideas dont exist in a vacuum so why should sentences as these are constructs of a narrow mind not to mention this will help with a cleaner text rendering codebase

It's funny that in your comment meaning to be as ridiculous as possible there are a few very sane ideas i.e. getting rid of caps lock and num lock keys which nobody uses and everybody is pissed of when they pressed accidentally.

I find it funny that you think that "nobody" uses the caps lock key!


I shall now write a blog post with dozens of links as to why my "no capitals" stance is the one and true way and you are wrong and unenlightened.

Oh, no! This is one of the most useful Linux/X features. People want the feature on OSX, even with quirks.


I use PopClip (http://pilotmoon.com/popclip/) on my Macs. It's not quite as seamless as having everything you select automatically available for middle-click pasting, but it's pretty close.

Yeah; this is about the only thing I think X11 does better than MacOS.

MacOS apparently does not do focus follows mouse. The thought makes me shudder!

Can you elaborate on this?

When I tried it, this feature made me feel very unsafe, in that a small, "unrelated" movement of the mouse could lead to huge modifications to my current desktop workspace (and snap me out of concentration at the very least).

Seems a feature that leads to surprise, a bit like if "i" worked as a toggle both in command mode and insert mode in vim.

I'll note that I'm not bashing the feature, nor a personal preference. I'd like to know what advantages are there, from a knowledgeable user.

> When I tried it, this feature made me feel very unsafe

I use it to switch between windows without having to fiddle with something like alt-shift, or clicking on the target window each time I want to move. It's about speed, not safety. Once you get used to it though, I don't think you end up in the wrong window very often.

By focus, do you mean automatically making the window containing the mouse the active one? It will send scroll events to whatever window the mouse is over, which I find really nice when I have two open, typing in one but reading from something else (like a PDF or web page). It saves me two clicks to not change focus just to scroll, but not let the other window take over. I guess it's all just a preference then.

I'll add that OSX has a wonderful focus behavior.

As you said, scrolling under pointer is a huge boon, but also clicking on background windows (in most well-behaved apps) usually focuses the window without sending the click to the window (possibly triggering an unintended destructive action).

But the best part is that cmd-click allows interacting with windows without focusing them, allowing all sorts of things like translating your IM window out from under a movie player without covering the video.

jaw drops

I didn't know cmd+click. I can't think of a good use case in my world, but I'm pleased as punch that it exists, and that I've learned something new about OSX today.

That, is a different story. As I have the habit of moving out the cursor to an edge to keep the window clear when I type, I never use this in any WM settings.

There is likely a "hide mouse pointer while typing" setting somewhere

Before this thread starts to become a rant about Gnome developers again, I'd like to mention that I find middle-mouse pasting annoying and I would appreciate an option to disable it in X. What the Gnome devs did was just inverting the setting without providing an option for it, which is a pretty awful idea.

> What the Gnome devs did was just inverting the setting without providing an option for it, which is a pretty awful idea.

Gnome devs don't like to give the user options.

Agreed in that this needs to be an option. I'm using the middle mouse paste very often, it's such a nice and easy thing to have.. Do i want a "text context" menu? No. I'd enable the mouse-click paste again..

I'm interested in why you'd like to see an option to disable it, considering that you could just as well not click the button. Is there something in your daily workflow that leads to lots of accidental presses?

My mouse has a scroll wheel which also doubles as the middle button when clicked. When scrolling through text, a little too much pressure and you end up pasting code all over the place. It's a monumental pain in the ass when dealing with code and requires minute checking all of changes in case an errant paste makes into the repository.

> My mouse has a scroll wheel which also doubles as the middle button when clicked. When scrolling through text, a little too much pressure and you end up pasting code all over the place.

I would submit that this is not a problem with middle click to paste, but rather a problem with a bad hardware design for the particular mouse you are utilizing. The true solution is to replace the badly designed mouse with a better mouse.

Hm, I had the same problem now with several mice. I mean scroll wheel = button seems to be pretty standard this days. And I even fight with the same trouble often enough - accidentally pasting stuff into code without noticing. The only problem with disabling the middle-mouse button for me would be that it's the only way to copy-paste from consoles. Which again already doesn't work when trying to paste into the browser so I already must often do something like - copy with middle mouse button from console to some texteditor, copy it there into that other buffer - and then paste in the browser. Not to mention the regular guessing about which application will work with middle mouse button and which won't and which won't work with the other copy-paste. It's rather a mess right now in X.

Most mice I've used require a substantial amount of pressure on the scroll wheel in order to depress it and count as a click. Additionally, there's a noticeable (both tactile and audible) response when a click on the scroll wheel happens.

If the mice you're trying don't have those, and it's very easy for you to inadvertently press the middle button, then that does seem like a pretty major design flaw. If you're always buying mice from the same manufacturer, perhaps investigating a different brand is in order?

If getting better-designed hardware isn't an option, then I guess the alternatives would be improving your finger control so that you don't accidentally click the button while scrolling, or disabling it in software so that it doesn't matter. Honestly though disabling it and missing out on that functionality entirely seems like the worst of those choices.

I also loved the feature once madly, just lost that love at some point. Maybe I'm just more used to pressing middle-mouse all the time for other reasons as Blender uses it for navigation (as well as other 3D tools I'm working with).

Gnome terminal accepts Shift-Control-C and Shift-Control-V for copy/paste.

Buy a better mouse, a B100 is just $13 at Newegg. The cheapest is almost $5 and it'll probably work just fine.

Middle mouse button is used for a lot things - paste, new tab click, scroll. If your mouse is prone to misclicks it's a shitty mouse. Disable middle button at all then.

I've accidentally pasted lines with --username --password into source files because of a sensitive scroll wheel... That's pretty embarrassing in code review.

Wouldn't your own personal pre-peer-review review have caught that?

Plus you should be checking diffs before committing anything.

It's generally a good idea to use git add -p, even without a sensitive scroll wheel.

In most web browsers, middle click closes tabs, opens links in new tabs, and on Windows, starts an automatic "scroll follows mouse" mode. I seem to remember that at one point, Chromium on Linux would interpret middle clicking on an unclickable part of the page to mean "interpret the text stored in the clipboard as a URL or search term, and go to it." Imagine the fun I had with the occasional misclick of a link before I found an extension that implements Windows-like middle click scroll.

The only time I ever intentionally use middle click paste is when using the terminal where, you know, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V are already taken. An option to disable middle click paste for everything but terminal emulators could only be a benefit, removing a rare but ever present source of confusion and mistakes.

> Chromium on Linux would interpret middle clicking on an unclickable part of the page to mean "interpret the text stored in the clipboard as a URL or search term, and go to it." Imagine the fun I had with the occasional misclick of a link before I found an extension that implements Windows-like middle click scroll

Opera does that, too, and I love it. No need to focus the address bar after selecting text, just click and go :)

For me: a touchpad as the primary pointer input device. I use two fingers for scrolling and a two-finger tap as middle mouse button clicks. I really like that setup for web browsing, but it frequently messes up code in the editor.

I guess it depends on the hardware used – I mostly use one of these external Thinkpad-like keyboards with three dedicated buttons and a track point and never accidentally middle-paste.

But I guess if middle-click never does anything useful for you (Windows, Mac), you might prioritise it less in your hardware design :|

It does do useful things on Windows. There are the browser behaviors I mentioned above. Most image editors use middle click to pan, and I think 3D modeling programs use it to rotate and pan as well. It's only in dedicated text boxes that middle click does nothing useful, but we're all so used to Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V that we don't have any desire to use that button for pasting.

Certainly, but those are all related to holding the middle mouse button and moving the mouse, not clicking per se. Similar behaviour is available on X with something like:

  	Option		"EmulateWheel"		"on"
  	Option		"EmulateWheelButton"	"2"
  	Option		"XAxisMapping"		"6 7"
  	Option		"YAxisMapping"		"4 5"
Which is exactly the way I scroll: Hold the middle button and move the trackpoint.

I was going to respond to a link detailing how to disable it, but was shocked to find no answers after a few minutes of Googling. I like the feature but absolutely agree with you: there should at least be a way to disable it in xorg.conf.

I have tried many times over the last decade or so to retire my current window manager of choice (Enlightenment DR16). The software hasn't been maintained significantly for most of that time, and several incompatibilities and problematic behavior with modern[1] software.

I initially assumed this was only familiarity with my current environment and dependence on the various settings, tweaks, and shortcuts that build up over the years. Jumping into any other WM was obviously going to take some time to get used to, and finding out how to re-enable stuff like my preferred keys for switching virtual-desktop should only take a weekend to figure out and port over.

All of the replacements ended up being reverted back to my working E16, usually because of either: creeping featurism/bloat slowing down or interfering with overall responsiveness, or this recent distressing trend to remove well-established features and behaviors.

What's particularly distressing is that these problems seem to be getting worse with time. I gave up attempting to find a sane configuration for GNOME years ago due to their overall bloat and confusing and rarely-consistent style. Misfeatures like this mouse button change suggests they are now embracing the Microsoft-style "Principle of Maximal Surprise" style of software design.

If you told me a decade ago that I'd be using the WM traditionally described as "unnecessary eye-candy" because it is faster than the other options, I wouldn't have believed you. If crap like changing the mouse buttons becomes wide-spread, though, I guess I'll be stuck using E16 for _another_ decade.

At least I have a (mostly) working WM to fallback on, I suppose. The feature-removal drama in Firefox is quickly becoming far more problematic...

[1]: "modern" being defined as "some time after Rasterman started teasing us with very-early E17 prototypes"

You've just described my situation, though my window manager is WindowMaker, not E. The lack of development is a feature. It works, its fast and stable, and there are very, very few surprises. I've tweaked it modestly with some appearance, behavior, and keybinding settings, otherwise its a very low-fuss configuration.

And I've been using it for 16 years. That's a lot of familiarity.

Congratulations on managing to still have E16 running. I used it, then windowmaker, then gnome. When I tried to go back from gnome to E, all sorts of little things broke. I finally settled on i3. It is first strange, then estranged, then really great (it disappears, as any good desktop environment should).

Have there been many examples of GNOME devs removing or substantially changing a feature, then reversing the decision based on community outcry?

This seemed to be a trend 10 years ago or so - I haven't used GNOME on a daily basis since then - and it seemed the GNOME team has almost always had a "this is how it will be, no arguments" attitude. It's probably a perception more than anything else, but perception is reality, don't they say? Trying to make radical changes then hiding behind "Human Interface Guidelines" - even when the new behaviour is demonstrably bad - seemed to be their MO all those years ago, but my memory may be a bit hazy now.

So... we'll have a thread here of people saying "no, don't do it!" or "give me an option to toggle!" but I suspect the damage is done and this is how it will be. What decisions have been overturned by community feedback?

Yes, sort of. Epiphany developers for a long time resisted adding tabs to the browser and instead insisted that handling multiple viewports was the job of the window manager. In theory, they were right, in practice it just doesn't work.

Then somewhere around GNOME 2.12 or so, Nautilus fell in love with the "spatial" concept. So each directory opened would open its own window and also remember the window position so it would be opened in the exact same location the next time. Leads to the user having 30+ windows open if you want to drill down to some files a few directories deep.

No way to undo the suckyness except to edit some gconf registry key.

The User Interface Designers thought it was great. Everyone else thought it was a disaster. Fortunately it was changed to something more sensible a few releases after and the spatial desktop horse is (for now) dead and buried.

Btw, while I sound really critical of GNOME, I'm not. I think it's great that they try new and wacky ideas that no one likes. Sometimes they strike gold and then progress is made benefitting all of us.

IMO, it's the perception of attitude when introducing new and wacky ideas. People seeing these new ideas say "that's wacky/bad/misguided/wrong/etc" and the defense (used to, anyway) fell back to "our HIG says this is the best way" (paraphrasing). To then recant years later and reverse things just makes it harder to accept any new ideas that come out as received wisdom.

If they had a 'wacky new ideas' branch for people to test on, I suspect the whole thing would be received a lot better.

> What decisions have been overturned by community feedback?

A few, AFAICS.

E.g. Gnome 3.10 is returning to a conventional multi-option power dialogue box[1], after the merging of 'suspend' & 'power off' into one menu item was roundly rejected by everyone (the extension giving them back as separate options is the 3rd most downloaded of all time on extensions.gnome.org).

Most obviously, Gnome 3.8's 'classic mode' (which is just a collection of extensions which replicate gnome 2 interaction models) wouldn't exist without community feedback (possibly combined with pressure from RH with an eye on conservative RHEL customers).

[1] https://raw.github.com/gnome-design-team/gnome-mockups/maste... (feature page: https://wiki.gnome.org/ThreePointNine/Features/SystemStatusM... )

I'm more than okay with that. Middle click paste is one of the weirdest user experience elements and it does not even safe much time and is very easy to miss execute.

Don't forget that it is one of two buffers, called PRIMARY for whatever reason (there is no secondary). If you select and press Ctrl-C, the content goes to CLIPBOARD. I can't count the number of times I've yelled expletives when I pasted the wrong buffer by mistake.

There should only be one clipboard.

I have xclip installed (it copies/pastes from the X11 clipboard as a commandline utility), and having long had 'xc' and 'xp' shell scripts, finally added 'xpc' to paste from the 'CLIPBOARD' buffer after getting frustrated once too often that I wasn't able to do so.

I'll use these to "read in" files:

    xc < filename
And then in vim (faster than toggling paste mode):

    r ! xp

    r ! xpc  # for CLIPBOARD buffer

hm, why not just



That doesn't seem to paste from the X11 primary clipboard buffer.

It's also a double pinky keystroke with a shift required (on QWERTY). Really awkward to type.

Try ':0r ! xp'

It does pretty much roll off your fingers.

It is not a buffer as such. Once the application holding the primary selection quits, you can't get the selected text, it doesn't exist anymore in any way. It doesn't get stored. In fact, you're just telling your application which content should it provide, when asked for the selection (not that it couldn't provide anything it likes).

Clipboard selection gets copied to a clipboard application and is accessible as long as you don't overwrite it (or even then, if you have more sophisticated clipboard app).

Funny, I really like having two clipboards and use the feature often.

There is only one clipboard. plus an additional text buffer.

As a multi system user with only one k/m input (windows/red hat), I love the differentiated buffer capability. It allows discrete usage of cntl x/c/v across systems and STILL allows me to manipulate c/p actions while multitasking.

There are lots of buffers in X, actually, it's just that only 2 are most commonly used. There're PRIMARY, SECONDARY and CLIPBOARD selections, and long-obsolete (but still accidentally used to implement cut/yank rings - a feature long forgotten by many) 8 cut buffers (CUT_BUFFER0 to CUT_BUFFER7).

Check yourself: http://tronche.com/gui/x/icccm/

You just taught me some weird new things about my computer. It tried what you said and, indeed, you are correct.

It's really useful when you have to paste many things repeatedly in a way that has some spatial ordering. But most of the time I dislike middle-click paste (and highlight-to-copy) because I will occasionally copy and paste things accidentally. Some kind of keyboard shortcut to toggle this behavior might be quite handy.

I recommend using something like Sublimes Multicursor instead.

1) Ctrl-alt-L: Give me a cursor at the end of all selected lines.

2) Select the line paces you want to paste using normal editor keyboard commands.

3) Ctrl-C

4) Go to the place in your lines where you want to paste (or click somewhere to get a new cursor and paste everything newline separated)

5) Ctrl-V

Scales to however many lines you want to do this to, with 'constant programmer time' ;-).

Its a beautiful command when all you have is a touchpad. Click both right and left to paste the last selected text.

Which is why I prefer Lenovo touchpads: three buttons.

Actually, mine has five:

Three at the top (corresponding to the mouse buttons), generally used with the trackpoint.

Another two at the bottom (two-button mouse), used with the trackpad (which I've, of course, disabled in BIOS like any sane user would).

For me it's one of Linux's killer features. When I program I use it a lot. It's much more comfortable than selecting with the mouse, pressing Ctrl+C, clicking on the destination and pressing Ctrl+V.

Every time I end up using windows, I end up frustratedly middle-clicking, expecting text to come out.

I have been using MATE to remain productive (gnome 3 and Unity really don't fit my workflow), so this won't really affect me, but it puts another nail in the coffin of the idea that I might transition to gnome 3 in the future.

Please don't.

It's ennoying enough in the "normal" case when pasting doesn't work with the middle-click, but in the past I've had several cases with X-forwarded windows where Ctrl+Insert used the paste buffer of the remote machine, and middle click used the paste buffer of the local machine. Removing the middle-click paste means I have no convenient way to copy&paste into "remote" applications anymore.

I've been using this feature for, let's see... about 16 years, and it's not just an ingrained habit, it's actually quite useful. Sooner or later it looks like I'm going to have to sit down and fiddle with the alternatives to Gnome.

It's kind of puerile, but for whatever reason this gave me a good laugh: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6282043

I thought same until I used other systems (mainly OS X and some Windows 7) for around 2 years. I've been using Linux full time again about the past 2 months and now realize it's more of a pain in the ass than it's usually worth.

I switched to xmonad and have been kicking myself for waiting so long to switch.

> According to a commit on this matter, it will [instead] be used to "start selections ...

You mean, like Plan9's UI, where buttons and menus are "just" text? That'd be something I'd love to see come to another desktop environment...

There are many over reactions in this thread and none of them mentioned they actually use the paste feature. What is the big deal? I like it. I don't know any one that uses the middle button for pasting. In fact the middle is more likely to be a scroll wheel and so clicking on that never happens. Overloading that something is okay with me.

>In fact the middle is more likely to be a scroll wheel and so clicking on that never happens. //

Almost every tab I close is by clicking on my scroll wheel.

Some inferior scroll wheels it seems don't click but I've bought quite cheap mouses and they all seem to have scroll-click.

I use it all the time, even with a scroll-wheel; far more than I use ctrl-C/V.

Everyone suggesting to use ctrl-c/v is not often using a terminal i guess ;)

So now in the future i have to select test in a terminal with the mouse, right click, click copy and then hit ctrl-v or right click again, whereas now i just select text and hit the middle mouse?!

Please, leave the middle-mouse-paste an option or atleast make it a gnome-extension :(

well, it depends on what terminal emulator you use but both guake and terminator support ctrl+shift+c / ctrl+shift+v. i agree though that using the middle mouse-button is much easier

you can use Ctrl+C outside the terminal and then Ctrl+Shift+V to paste into it (similarly Ctrl+Shift+C for copying from terminal)

btw, I also use clicking the scroll-wheel to paste all the time

I didn't even know ctrl+shift works BUT also i like to keep my fingers in tact ( = pressing ctrl+shift+c feels like a complicated yoga-practice)

The nice thing with X is that you can use both! CRTL-C/V and the middle mouse button use different clipboards. I use both at the same time, it' quite handy when you need to copy/paste from different sources in the same app.

Using the middle button for pasting what's highlighted is one of the few things on X11 that's consistent across configurations and over the past 25-ish years.

It's one of those things that you fall in love with after having heard about it way too late.

At my last workplace (linux only environment), one day, somebody showed it to a second person while a bunch of other people were in the room. Two days later, everybody was using it as if they couldn't live without it. Turns out that before nobody knew the feature existed.

Geez, I use it all the time. I use it so much it's like breathing, I don't even think about it. In fact it's such a part of my way of working that I didn't realize that's what the article was talking about.

Double left-click and it's immediately in the buffer, because why else would you double click text? Middle click and you're done. Easy peasy, and I would hoist the black flag and start slitting throats if it disappeared.

Fortunately for me I use LXDE, where they seem to have resisted making a career out of churn. I really don't care what's in front of me except for what I'm working on, and I don't want to be aware of my DE. To me it's like adding features to a coffee cup. Once you're drinking coffee why would you care at all, as long as the handle still worked.

That's the problem. The gnome guys would have removed the handle.

> don't know any one that uses the middle button for pasting.

Well now you know several people who do. I use it all the time, and hate using windows which doesn't have the feature.

You can't use keyboard shortcuts in terminals, so that's not a replacement of middle click.

Start using it - you'll quickly find it indispensable.

> none of them mentioned they actually use the paste feature

Everyone with a terminal uses the feature. I've been using it every day for the past 17 years.

It's somewhat inconsistent and unreliable between applications, but it's a huge timesaver.

removing a feature for the sake of removing a feature, if you don't use it doesn't mean noone else uses it.

I use it all the time. Literally.

Middle paste has never been a reliable feature, (are you pasting from X clipboard or GNOME clipboard? - it changes depending on context). For that reason alone, i can see a case can be made for this change.

At first glance it seems like a backward move to me, but i'd be at least willing to give the idea a try.

GNOME 3 takes a lot of heat, they're one of the few actually pushing the envelope so it's to be expected i suppose.

A little more encouragement and a little less boring complaints "stating the obvious" would go a long way.

I've hated this feature for 10 years. Clicking ny scrollwheel us supposed to do something scroll related, like it does in certain programs, but this stupid paste thing makes inconsistent. Sometimes I've even seen the middle button paste into the address bar and send me off, loosing whatever unsaved work I had on a website. If I want to paste I'll use the keyboard, Ctrl+Shift+V is perfectly fine. Why don't all you non gnome using gnome haters go somewhere else to complain?

The wheel came after the button (ie there were 3 button mouses first and the middle button morphed into a button/scroll wheel hybrid later, there was nothing strictly scrolling related to the middle button before.)

Why would your scroll wheel be a button? Sounds like hardware UX fail.

Well there go the last Gnome users… Since Ubuntu abandoned it, Gnome seems to be getting less and less usage (I can't blame anyone for it, seeing as how it's become completely unusable…).

I hope this is from an Onion article, otherwise I fear for the safety of GNOME developers world wide.

Well, although I also think that established default behaviour should only be changed with great care and the option to turn it back easily, I wouldn't form an opinion about such a huge change just based on one article. It doesn't give much context. Reading in the Issue and the commit it's also possible that the Gnome community is against this change as well and it was a decision by a Bastien Nocera withouth the community's consent. This might mean it gets reverted before the user sees it or shortly after. So there is not much to get upset about right now.

I find the GNOME project fascinating to watch.

Many users, myself included, have railed at the removal of things we have grown accustomed to. Some time ago, however, I decided to just give up and go along for the ride. Why not? These people surely have more UX experience than I do. Perhaps I don't really know best in this regard, even though I know what has worked for me in the past. Perhaps there are better ways.

In fact, I find GNOME 3 is actually quite usable if one can manage to remove one's expectations based on prior versions. After the initial pain of "giving up" features I had become used to over the years, I found myself enjoying its simplicity.

GNOME is a singular case study in its dogged determination to rapidly cull beloved features; indeed, I can't think of any other UI project of this size that has been so aggressive and so blind to user input. There are few things the GNOME team seems to hold sacred, and likewise they seem more than willing to alienate existing users and violate user expectations in the name of progress. I find this kind of blind determination and adherence to design goals at the cost of popularity admirable in its own way, although it seems that the project is doomed to find only a small niche due to this approach (which, honestly, is kind of a shame, since I find it quite pleasant to work with).

Like everybody else who has integrated middle click paste into their workflows, I'm going to feel the pain from the removal of this feature. But I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to get my work done without it, and eventually I'll forget about it completely, and I'll be OK with whatever replaces it.

I hated this feature of Gnome, but I will probably hate what they're replacing it with even more. I use the middle click to open links in new tabs and to close said tabs, and every other window manager I've used does it that way. What's next? Draw a small circle around the things you want to select with the cursor instead of left clicking on them?

From the bug report:

(In reply to comment #2)

> Breaking a default that has been in X forever is not desirable. In this case,

> it is a good default. Leave it alone. Bastien, please do not do this.

Disabling broken behaviour by default is a good thing. It would be a GTK+ specific XSetting, which would only be disabled by default based on your XSettings manager. If you use gnome-settings-daemon, then it would be disabled by default.

The people that paste their passwords to IRC will thank us.


And there you have their use case. People who use IRC. Instead of giving an option of disabling middle clicking in the IRC application (or per-application) they will, instead, be removing this commonly used feature, because "won't someone think of the users?"

I'll miss this feature, but I realize that for the "average user" which only uses ctrl-x/c/v it is probably a good thing.

Personally, I've long been planning to switch back to a tiling wm anyway.

You really think that average users use the keyboard shortcuts? I'd wager they use the menus or icons. Chorded keyboard shortcuts are not that easy, especially for novices.

I wonder how you copy and paste with a touch device? And how easy it is.

Who is this average user you are talking about?

Its a myth, a fantasy, an excuse for all things gnome and other "lets make a product for idiots" does to butcher itself into oblivion, many startups do the same mistake.

The idea "for the average user" or "for your grandmother" is a mind-trap that leads to poor choices and poor products. Dont make products for someone not interested in using it, make them for someone like a child instead of an old person like a grandmother. Just give a kid a smartphone or KDE and look how they learn and use the devices (Ive seen it with my own eyes, a kid use KDE to start his games, save pictures form the internet, view them in dolphin etc, and he was just 4-5 years at the time.), and give a smartphone or KDE to a grandmother and see basically nothing happen.

Mddle click paste is one of the things that made me install Linux on my MacBook whrn I geniunlybtried to switch to OS X.

For me at least, this feature significantly improves the UX. I use many times every day.

They are not simply removing middle-click paste function, but replacing it with something presumably more useful.

What I learned from my own experience with GNOME 3 (I really like it) and from observing other people's reactions, is that we tend to overestimate the importance of our old habits and are willing to put more effort to protect them than it would take to change them (e.g. spending all day figuring out how to customize the UI while it would take an hour to get used to the defaults).

It takes about 30 minutes top to install Xfce…

And then spend the rest of the day configuring it to match the habits acquired with whatever desktop environment that was used before installing Xfce.

If they "hate the mouse" why do they actually add more functionality to the middle mouse button? The article headline makes no sense.

This issue has got blown out of proportion, and the facts have been totally lost.

Nothing has been changed. Those of us in the GNOME project were working towards a slightly different solution, which would allow middle-click paste like functionality. That solution didn't work out for the next release (3.10), so we reinstated the old behaviour.

Everyone needs to calm down. We're not going to simply remove middle-click paste.

They'd probably be better off trying to jettison the keyboard to simplify the computer interface.

... and the mouse, and the display... just SSH in.

This closely resembles the herd of servers at my disposal. I find it a highly productive desktop environment / user interface.


What a stupid article.

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