Default File Manager

Christian Dywan christian at
Wed Aug 27 00:13:13 CEST 2008


I used to say, when users in the IRC were asking how to change the
"Preferred File Manager", that there is no such concept, and programs
or Xfce components just open Thunar unless they provide an option to
tweak that behaviour.

Apparently I'm wrong, and this can even lead to problems with programs
that do acknowledge the default file manager. For instance if you, like
me, had the fancy idea of trying out GIO a little, despite it being
effectively alpha quality, you could have tried:

gvfs-open /path/to/file

Works, so far so good. Now try something else:

gvfs-open /usr/share/icons

Unfortunately it will merely report an error and *not* open the folder.

What is the Default File Manager now?

There's the file ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list

It's the one containing user defined application associations based on
the MIME type. Guess what, there *could* be one for the folder, yet
there normally isn't.


This is what should go in there in a usual Xfce setup.

Now try again:

gvfs-open /usr/share/icons

Voila, Thunar pops up happily on the screen.

Now two options come to mind, one is obvious:

Put something in that file. Otherwise any coming programs respecting
that MIME key will be broken by default.

Second option:

Let's add the File Manager to the Preferred Applications dialog.

I know everybody prefers Thunar, of us Xfce enamorados anyway.

But even if you only ever use it to fix a missing or wrong
assocoiation of the file manager, it's already way better
than having to hunt down the MIME information.


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