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I'm an old-school dinosaur, and I'd like to understand how drag and drop works on the X window system under Linux. Is it build into the X protocol? Is it a function of the window manager? Do applications have to be aware of drag and drop? Is it both the applications and the window manager?

I'm looking for a general technical understanding. If I have specific questions about how to modify an app to support drag and drop, I'll ask them over on Stackoverflow.

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In Windows, the object the dragged thing is released on to gets an event when it happens, and grabs info from that event (typically path to dropped file) and acts on it. So WDM has to support this as far as to send the event, and the program needs to take it from there by handling the event. I assume it's similar in X – jcrawfordor Aug 16 '11 at 8:04
up vote 1 down vote accepted

XDnD (also on wp) is the most widely used protocol, supported by GTK and Qt. It involves both applications and, to a certain extent, the window manager and the program switcher (e.g. GNOME Panel) if one is running.

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