Difference between revisions of "Default applications"

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(Outsource xdg-open in own page.)
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==Changing a default application ==
==Changing a default application ==
Many applications invoke the {{Codeline|xdg-open}} command internally.
[[xdg-open]] is a desktop-independent tool for configuring default applications.
You can bind mimetypes to .desktop files in {{filename|/usr/share/applications}} with the xdg-mime command:
# This will make Thunar the default file-browser, i.e. the default application for opening folders.
xdg-mime default Thunar.desktop inode/directory
The best way to look up the MIME type is to read the {{Codeline|MimeTypes}} list in your application's {{filename|.desktop}} file.
You can put custom {{filename|.desktop}} files into {{filename|~/.local/share/applications}}.
====The config file====
{{Codeline|xdg-mime}} saves the configuration for {{Codeline|xdg-open}} in {{filename|~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list}}. Its format is as follows:
[Default Applications]
For example,
[Default Applications]
It seems that it is perfectly save to edit that file.
====Environment Variables====
export BROWSER=chromium # this will make xdg-open use chromium for any kind of URLs
export DE="xfce" # This will make xdg-open use the more user-friendly exo-open, because it assumes it is inside Xfce. Use exo-preferred-applications for configuring.
===Gnome 3===
===Gnome 3===

Revision as of 11:51, 8 January 2012

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Notes: please use the first argument of the template to provide more detailed indications. (Discuss in Talk:Default applications#)

There are numerous places to configure default applications on Linux. This page will attempt to address problems related to the following issues:

  • You need to change a certain default application (e.g. after switching desktop environments), but there appears to be nowhere to configure it, or an application ignores your configuration
  • You regularly switch back and forth between several desktop environments, and need to configure some applications (e.g. file manager) on a per-desktop-environment basis, but need to configure others (e.g. web browser) globally

Until there is more information/organization, it will just be a dumping ground of random tricks

Changing a default application


xdg-open is a desktop-independent tool for configuring default applications.

Gnome 3

The xdg-open settings are usually recognized by Gnome, but if they aren't, there are still other methods.


As far as I can tell, on Gnome 3, there are two configuration systems, GConf (older) and dconf (newer). GConf can be configured with Template:Codeline; in particular, you can try messing with the Template:Filename key, but changing settings there didn't fix any problems I had. dconf can be configured with the Template:Codeline command.


To configure the default terminal for the package nautilus-open-terminal to Konsole, use

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec konsole
$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec-arg "'-e'"

The second command tells Template:Codeline to expect a command to be passed to it as part of the invocation. nautilus-open-terminal needs this because it passes a Template:Codeline command in order to switch to the appropriate directory. For example, opening a terminal in your Template:Filename directory will invoke something like

$ konsole -e cd "~/Desktop"

Web browser

To configure the web browser used by the AUR package gnome-gmail-notifier, run

$ gconf-editor

and edit the Template:Filename key. You may want to change Template:Filename, Template:Filename, and Template:Filename keys while you're at it.

Exactly how the config files mesh together

This is not necessary reading, but here is, as nearly as I can tell, xdg-open looks for the following sections in the following files.

~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list, [Default Applications] section
~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list, [Added Applications] section
/usr/share/applications/mimeapps.list, [Default Applications] section
/usr/share/applications/mimeapps.list, [Added Applications] section

Note that ordinarily, if a higher-precedence config file (or config file section) specifies an application that is not installed, it will fall-back to a lower-precedence config file (or section). However, if a non-existent application is specified in any Template:Filename file, then all of the Template:Filename files will be ignored for that MIME type.

See also this page on freedesktop.org, "Default application ordering" section.

Maintaining settings for multiple desktop environments

More info later...


Applications don't appear in the Open With... context menu (of a file manager)

Sometimes, a certain application will not appear in the right-click Open With... dialog. To fix this problem, locate the Template:Filename file in Template:Filename, edit it as root, and add Template:Codeline to the end of the Template:Codeline line. For example, Kile currently has this problem; you need to edit Template:Filename and change the line reading Template:Codeline to read Template:Codeline. Also, please file a bug against the upstream project if you notice this problem.

You may also have to edit the Template:Codeline list in the Template:Filename file if you install extensions that allow an application to handle additional MIME types.