[Pkg-xfce-devel] Bug#715049: xfdesktop4: drag-and-drop always copies files

Adrian Daerr Adrian.Daerr at gmx.de
Sun Jul 6 18:17:35 UTC 2014

In short: The current xfdesktop still shows the unexpected behaviour described in the OP, which is that drag-and-drop from/to the Desktop copies the files instead of moving it. This is observed on an up-to-date Wheezy distribution with xfdesktop 4.8.3-2.

In more detail: The most common behaviour of file managers on Linux (and some other systems) is that drag-and-drop file operations default to moving when the target directory is on the same device as the source, and defaults to copying otherwise. As such, for example dragging-and-dropping a file from the Desktop into a sub-folder should by default move the file, not copy it. The XFCE root-window Desktop instead chooses to copy by default (that is unless the shift modifier or the context-menu is used to specify otherwise). Note that in all tested cases the graphical feedback always corresponds to the resulting operation, so that the unexpected operation can at least be anticipated by the observant user.

Here is a detailed list of the default operation proposed by dragging and dropping a file '/home/user/Desktop/foo' onto a directory '/home/user/Destop/bar/'. Source and target icons are either on the root-window or in a thunar (1.2.3-4+b1) or a nautilus (3.4.2-1+build1) window showing the /home/user/Desktop directory.

root-window     -> root-window:   copy
thunar-window   -> thunar-window: move
nautilus-window -> nautilus-window: move

root-window     -> thunar-window: move
thunar-window   -> root-window:   copy

root-window     -> nautilus-window: copy
nautilus-window -> root-window: copy

nautilus-window -> thunar-window: move
thunar-window -> nautilus-window: copy

Note the asymetries (e.g. root->thunar vs thunar->root). The thunar->nautilus case shows that the root-window-manager is not the only component at fault, but clearly the whole is an unpredictable mess. It would be nice if 'moving' could become the default operation either unconditionally or at least via a configuration option.


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