Ever since I started using Linux, one thing in particular has always bugged me, and that is the clipboard. The main problem I have with it is this: open up a document, and copy some text. Now close the program and open it up again. Now paste what you previously copied. You can’t! Linux (GNOME Linux specifically, although KDE might behave the same way), doesn’t keep the clipboard contents available after the original program has been closed. To my mind, this is just dumb. I’m sure there are good reasons for this behavior, but they’re beyond me. So one of the first programs I install every time I’m on a new Linux system is a clipboard manager. In addition to giving me the ability to paste text long after the program I copied the text from has been closed, a good clipboard manager also allows me to copy more than one thing at a time. I used to use Glipper, then Parcellite. I’ve been quite happy with Parcellite for more than a year, but lately I heard about a new clipboard manager, called Glippy, so I decided to try it out.
Glippy is pretty good. It doesn’t necessarily have as many options available as Parcellite, but then I don’t use a lot of clipboard “features” in my daily computing life. What features does Glippy have? (I’ll get to what’s missing in a bit). Well, Glippy allows the user to decide how many clippings are saved in memory. By default the number is 10, but it can be set higher if you want. You can also choose how wide the Glippy window is. This is useful if you copy large, similar blocks of text (where the differences might not show up for a few words). You can also enable or disable using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V keyboard shortcuts to add text to the clipboard, as well as enabling middle-click selection with the mouse. If you want, you can assign hotkeys, which allows you to show the clipboard with a keystroke combination. Finally, if you want your clipboard saved between sessions, Glippy can do that.
What options is it missing? I’ll compare it to Parcellite, my standard clipboard manager for at least three Ubuntu releases. First, Parcellite can do everything I just mentioned. Every feature Glippy has… Parcellite has. It also provides the ability to show the clipboard in the order you captured the text, or in the opposite order (doing so changes whether the newest clippings are at the top or bottom of the window). It also supports custom actions, which allow you to perform actions on the clipped text. For example, if you have captured a URL, you can have a custom action that calls up WGET and downloads the contents of the website.
Glippy, as I see it, has two advantages over Parcellite. First is that as of a few months ago, development on Parcellite has ended. The developer announced he was done with it; whether someone else picks up the project remains to be seen, but as the months and new releases go by, it’s likely that something will “break” Parcellite, making it completely unusable. Glippy, on the other hand, is new and under development, so should keep pace with new frameworks and system features. The second big advantage Glippy has over Parcellite is the ability to copy images. If you’re working in an image editor, and you copy a piece of an image, you can close the editor, open up a new document and paste in the image, even if using a different program. It’s a fantastic feature.
So, I’m not sure. At the moment – in spite of the image support – I still prefer Parcellite (and Glipper for that matter). But Glippy is definitely a project to keep an eye on. It’s new and fresh, development seems active, so more stability and added features are sure to come down the pipe.