Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

man xclip says:

 -selection     specify which X selection to use, options are 
                "primary" to use XA_PRIMARY (default), "secondary" 
                for XA_SECONDARY or "clipboard" for XA_CLIPBOARD

Why do we have 3 types of X-Selections? What are their purposes?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Historical partly. I'm not sure secondary is used for anything at all anymore.

"cliboard" is what is used by most ctrl+x/c/v, it is the clipboard you put things into on purpose

"primary" is what holds whatever text is currently selected, it is how X keeps track of what is selected and conveniently may be pasted by middle clicking (or, if you're awesome, clicking right and left buttons at the same time) or by shift+insert in xterm

share|improve this answer
I'm not sure that secondary was ever really used... – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 22 '10 at 20:34
Left and right clicking at the same time only works if your system is set up, so that left+right click simulates a middle-click, right? – sepp2k Oct 28 '10 at 18:04
Right. It's just my preferred configuration :) – singpolyma Oct 29 '10 at 20:51

Check here and here.

tl;dr: See Singpolyma's post.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .