I can copy and paste in eeschema between stable and nightly, same goes for pcbnew. Very cool! I can also copy from the footprint editor in stable and paste it into the nightly footprint editor, but strangely not the other way round. Is that intended?
KiCad should always be able to read files made by older versions, but beyond that there is no effort made to keep compatibility, simply because of the limited resources (developers and time) avialabe for the KiCad project.
Copy and paste also uses text buffers. You can copy graphical items from KiCad, and paste them into a text editor.
Because there are not enough resources for maintaining two way compatibility, copying and pasting parts is an interesting method if parts have to be ported to an older KiCad version for some reason.
I hope that someday there will be some “best effort” filter in KiCad, in which it interprets parts it understands, and generates a list of problems for the incompatibilities it can not interpret. I guess it would be relatively easy to do this with S-expression based formats. But as it is now, the KiCad project is doing quite well.
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