The clipboard is a feature of the computing desktop that many people took for granted and hardly thought about. The cut/copy/paste operation is ubiquitous, and it can be jarring and upsetting when it don’t work like you think it should.
Case to point, just a few Ubuntu versions ago, the Ubuntu clipboard worked “less well” than in Windows. For example, you copied some texts in gedit (gnome text editor). Before pasting the text to another application, you close gedit. Then, when you tried to paste the text, it didn’t work. The copied text was deleted once gedit closed. There was a quite some complaints about this behavior a few Ubuntu version ago, but fortunately, this problem is now fixed.
A small, but significant feature is the middle-click paste. In Ubuntu, you can copy/paste texts by selecting the texts, then middle-click on the destination. There is no need for directly invoking the copy/paste commands (i.e. CTL+C and CTL+V).
Glipper the clipboard manager
In Ubuntu Hardy, the glipper application was made into an applet. If you need a clipboard that have more features than simple copy/paste, glipper provides multiple clipboards and some clipboard customizations.
To enable glipper:
- Right-click on a panel
- Select “Add to panel…”
- In the list of applets, select “Clipboard Manager”
- Click “Add”
Usually, I don’t find the need for multiple clipboards. Most people rarely need to copy multiple block of texts at once. And when you do, you simply open an empty text file as a temporary clipboard.
However, it can be inconvenient if you do this more often, and have to open empty text files all the time.
Strip text formatting
There is one feature of glipper that I do appreciate: it allows fast and easy stripping of text formatting from the clipboard. This “annoyance” is apparent when you copy/paste texts to a WYSIWYG editor. For example, try copying a line of text from Firefox to OpenOffice Writer. If you copy a bold text, the bold attribute would be retained. Most irritating was when a hyperlink is copied intact, though you almost always wanted to copy the link text only.
Glipper provides a quick solution to this. First, copy the text you wanted. Then, left-click on the glipper applet. A pop-up menu will appear with a history of items in the clipboard. Select the text you have just copied. Now, the formatting and hyperlinks in the text have been removed.
Unfortunately, glipper suffers from an annoying bug. This might not actually be a bug in glipper itself, but of the gnome desktop, which affects glipper. During boot-up glipper might occasionally fail to start, and you are presented with this error message.
If you see this message, click “Delete”. Then, enable the applet again (as described above).
Of course, it is annoying after a while if you keep having to do this. A workaround can be found in the bug page for this problem. The workaround add an eight second delay before starting glipper.
Edit /usr/lib/glipper/glipper with root privilege.
gksudo gedit /usr/lib/glipper/glipper
At the top of the file, after the comments (lines starting with #), add these two lines:
import time time.sleep(8)
With this change, you will have to wait eight seconds after you add the glipper applet before you see its icon appear on the panel. If the problem is not solved with the workaround, try increasing the eight seconds delay.