default apps

Marty Jack martyj19 at
Sat Jun 18 09:49:22 PDT 2011

On 06/18/2011 11:33 AM, Matthew Monaco wrote:
> I'm finding inconsistent information about how to set system-wide default applications.
> Do I do it with mimeapps.list or defaults.list?
> In general is the default app part of the desktop spec or the mime spec?
> Is there a difference between doing it systemwide vs per-user (filenames, locations, etc)?
> I'm using GNOME 3, are there are special quirks here I should know about?
> Unlikely, but does anyway know of a way for firefox/thunderbird to honor the system settings for mime types? This in particular has been very frustrating for my parents, it seems like every day these settings change.
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This is somewhat unstable at this time.  Any answer could be correct depending on the specific desktop environment you were running.  I do not run GNOME so I am not familiar with the details of how they do it.

There is a standard that would be "draft proposed" if this were a standards body.  It uses mimeapps.list as its persistent store.  In that document, the system-wide vs per-user is handled in the usual way with the XDG_DATA_DIRS search list.

As to Firefox, they have their own way of configuring this in the Firefox profile and settings dialog.  You would have to raise it with any specific application you were interested in convincing to change their existing behavior.

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