Default applications

Erik Harrison erikharrison at
Sat Aug 25 03:02:14 CEST 2007

On 8/24/07, Steve Cayford <cayfo001 at> wrote:
> Erik Harrison wrote:
> > On 8/24/07, Steve Cayford <cayfo001 at> wrote:
> >> Hello, I'm running a Xubuntu 7.04 (Feisty) system.
> >>
> >> When a user right-clicks or double-clicks on a file icon, what controls the
> >> preferred application that gets listed in the context menu? (eg. Open with...)
> >>
> >> I know I can change it under the file "properties" and the setting will then
> >> show up in ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list. However, I would like to
> >> set the initial default so users don't need to mess with this when they first
> >> login. Specifically, double-clicking a text file opens it with emacs by
> >> default, which is a bit technical for my new users.
> >>
> >> It seems that this should be controlled by
> >> /etc/xdg/xubuntu/applications/defaults.list, but there is no entry in there
> >> specifying emacs. In fact the entry for text/plain is mousepad.desktop.
> >
> > Not sure exactly what you are seeing, as it works for me here, same
> > distro and all.
> >
> > Did you check the local defaults.list file, to make sure that it
> > wasn't altered to open Emacs? Is this a completely fresh user on the
> > system?
> Yes, I start out with a new user, verify that the
> ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list file only contains "[Default
> Applications]" with no entries. But I get emacs when double-clicking a text file.

Exactly the same setup, and nada.

> I've done a fair bit of system modification since I'm using it for an LTSP
> server so I may have tweaked something by accident, but I can't figure out what.

Alrighty. Let's dig a little. What is the value of $XDG_DATA_DIRS in
your environment?

If you strace Thunar starting up, grepping for opens, do you see it
open any defaults.list file in any new locations?

After running thunar, and opening a text file with Emacs, what is the
contents of the user's defaults.list?

Xubuntu shouldn't have emacs anywhere in the system defaults.list. Does yours?

Does Mousepad run on this machine?

If you run Thunar from a terminal, does it bitch when trying to open the file?

And, what is the exact mime type of the file as reported in the
properties dialog?

Not saying that I have any idea what the culprit is, but I'll try to
help you hunt it down.

> -Steve
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