> The cons in the marked line is of the mark and the variable
> `mark-active'. This variable doesn't have a coherent definition,
> but it causes the region to be highlit. It is "defined" as
> Non-nil means the mark and region are currently active in this
> As I have pointed out before, this is Humpty Dumpty language,
Not at all. Active regions and the terminology go back twenty years
or more. If the mark is non-nil, then the region exists. The region
may be active, in which case operations on the region will succeed, or
inactive, when such operations will fail. In transient-mark-mode,
it is possible for the region to be inactive. Outside of transient-
mark-mode, the region is always active. (Or something like that,
that's how zmacs-regions works in XEmacs, transient-mark-mode has some
tiny differences that I never understood very well.)
It sounds to me like there's a bug in desktop.el, and maybe a lack of
documentation of active regions. But the term is well-defined.
 This is the same terminology used for GUI elements. But I guess
you would say that the whole concept of "GUI" is a "category error".<wink>
 I guess, as you say, it should record and check for
transient-mark-mode before going ahead and highlighting regions.
Personally, I would prefer desktop to have an option such that mark
status is always reset across sessions.