Request: Clipboard history

I miss a clipboard history on Gnome.

Why is it useful?

  • Recover accidentally overwritten content: You might copy something important, then accidentally copy something else over it.
  • Reuse recently copied items: Been copying and pasting a lot? No need to go back and find that specific piece of text or image again. You can copy several
  • Undo “cut” actions: Worried you might have cut something important by mistake? It allows you to paste it back if needed, without having to return to the original location again.

About privacy

One point against this is data privacy. There are some scenarios that can be seen:

  • Sensitive information (such as a conversation) has been copied
  • Any password has been copied

These could be mitigated with certain practices, such as emptying the clipboard when logging out, as is the case with the current two-entry clipboard (primary and secondary).

But there is a problem. Not providing an out-of-the-box solution will lead some users to look for third-party alternatives, generally extensions, which can be malicious and leak what has been copied.

For this reason, I consider that it’d be necessary to implement a solution that is safe and with good practices in the component (ex: shell) which it belongs.

What do you think?


I use the “clipboard indicator” extension, with it set to Super+V.

It does the trick for me, I’m wondering if theres anything I’m missing out of regarding the functionality of this sort of feature.

Not having to rely on third-party extensions regarding this is a really good idea. Not having to worry if the extension is malicious, or the next version would be compromised, and so on, would be great.

As far as privacy goes, I believe it’s up to the user to not put passwords in the clipboard. I personally use a script with secret-tool, ydotool, and zenity to fill passwords. For sure, not the best, but it avoids sending the password into the clipboard.

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Having the feature built in would be great, I’ve just upgraded Fedora 39 to 40 beta and the extension isn’t working yet. Perhaps an easy fix but still not wonderful. When I moved to a Linux OS from Windows two years ago, a password clipboard was the first “extension” I looked for. It was one of the few good features that Windows introduced post 8.x. The fact basic funtionality can go missing creates a kind of feature anxiety I hadn’t antipated from a platform that has no market driven development pressures.

I’ve not used secret-tool or ydotool, I’ll take a look. Yesterday I had a play with pass and it’s firefox extension, which seemed quite accessible and usable for a generally non-technical person like me.

I’ve been using KeePassXC as I’m a GUI person. It’s quite slow and clunky but the Firefox plugin works very well and the program has all the features you need to manage passwords. Sometimes I do leave passwords on the clipboard. As you say it’s up to the user. Adding little things like “the password only lasts 10 seconds” just means I’ll paste it into a text editor where it’ll likely end up in some plain text cache.

The xz thing confirms my belief that it’s backdoors all the way down. npm, rust crates, extensions, could be filled with anything.

Anyway I wonder if a secure clipboard could be a feature of whatever the Gnome Foundation is planning with this

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