(lemacs.info)X Cut Buffers

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X Cut Buffers

   X cut buffers are a different, older way of transferring text between
applications.  Lucid Emacs supports cut buffers for compatibility with
older programs, even though selections are now the preferred way of
transferring text.

   X has a concept of applications "owning" selections.  When you select
text by clicking and dragging inside an application, the application
tells the X server that it owns the selection.  When another
application asks the X server for the value of the selection, the X
server requests the information from the owner. When you use
selections, the selection data is not actually transferred unless
someone wants it; the act of making a selection doesn't transfer data.
Cut buffers are different: when you "own" a cut buffer, the data is
actually transferred to the X server immediately, and survives the
lifetime of the application.

   Any time a region of text becomes the primary selection in Emacs,
Emacs also copies that text to the cut buffer.  This makes it possible
to copy text from a Lucid GNU Emacs buffer and paste it into an older,
non-selection-based application (such as Emacs 18).

   Note: Older versions of Emacs could not access the X selections, only
the X cut buffers.

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