I have a weird effect in one workstation: suddenly, the system does not allow me to copy text from a terminal to paste it somewhere else by simpling selecting it.

I can still paste into the terminal the text that I select in other windows. The problem is restricted to copying by selection from the terminal.

Also, I am aware of the ctrl+shift+v/ctrl+shift+c key shortcuts. They do work fine, and so does copying and pasting with right clicks of the mouse after selecting text and then clicking "Copy" or "Paste" in the menu. However, I want to recover the misteriously gone ability of copying text from the terminal by selecting it...

Thanks for any suggestions!

  • 2
    That's odd. Presumably, you use the same action (middle click) to paste when it works, right? And does it happen with all terminals or only the default (gnome-terminal)? I assume it's gnome-terminal-specific, but try installing xterm (sudo apt install xterm) just to double check. – terdon Jan 23 '18 at 18:02
  • Have you looked in the profile settings of your terminal ? I believe there is a section on behaviour/gestures. – Robert Riedl Jan 24 '18 at 6:14
  • Hi Robert. Yes, I made sure that the "Copy selected text into clipboard" option was switched on in the Propfile preferences menu, but it didn't help. – Arabarra Jan 24 '18 at 8:42
  • 3
    I have the same issue, but also right-clicking and selecting Copy doesn't work anymore. A newly started konsole works. This is most certainly a bug, because it just stops working after a while - more or less at random moments. – Carlo Wood Jun 11 '19 at 21:17
  • It starts suddenly on my unbut 18.04 and it affects other applications as well, like the IDE I am using. There if I click anywhere, release and drag in the IDE it starts selecting text as if I was holding my left-button even tho it is released. My right click stopped working in the IDE also. – Murilo Dec 13 '19 at 6:17

This might be a stretch but I have experienced something like this on my work laptop before. It tends to happen when I have many applications up and stacked on top of each other in the same window my terminal is. Even though the text is getting highlighted in the terminal, the click board doesn't end up with anything in it kinda like if one of the other windows was mysteriously between your mouse and the terminal window. What made it work for me is minimizing all the applications at once by doing the mouse shake. Sorry about the not so scientific answer.


This happened to me with Konsole as well.

Investigation of /var/log/syslog showed the following message each time I tried to copy: "QXcbClipboard::setMimeData: Cannot set X11 selection owner"

Following up on that message, it seems the issue was reported/fixed by: https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-65145

That issue matched my case, as my system had been up for 50 days before the issue started !

Looking at changelogs, that fix appears to be included in the 5.12.6 QT release.

Ubuntu 20.04.2 appears that it includes 5.12.8 currently, so should include the fix.

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