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Learning the UNIX Operating System, Fourth Edition by Jerry Peek, John Strang, Grace Todino

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Working with a Mouse

Let’s look at some basics of using a mouse or other pointing device.

Pointer Shape

As you move the mouse pointer [1] from the root window onto other windows or menus, the shape of the pointer will change. For instance, on the root window, the pointer is a big X. The pointer may change to an hourglass shape to tell you to wait. When you resize a window, the pointer changes to a cross with arrows.

Pointing, Clicking, and Dragging

What’s “pointing and clicking”? That’s when you move the pointer to a place (usually over part of a window), then quickly press and release a mouse button (usually the first button). It’s the same idea as pressing a button on a telephone or another electronic appliance.

Something else you’ll do is “dragging.” That means moving the pointer to a place (such as the corner of a window), then pressing a mouse button and holding it down while you move the pointer. This is called “dragging” a pointer or object, because the object will be dragged along with the pointer until you let go of the mouse button.

Using a Mouse with xterm Windows

Xterm windows have an advantage over plain UNIX terminals in that you can copy and paste text within a window or between windows. To get started, move the pointer inside an xterm window and select the window (set the focus there). Notice that the pointer changes to an “I-beam” shape. There’s also a block cursor. As you type, notice that text you input appears at the block-shaped cursor, just like it ...

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