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I have run update-alternatives as well as gnome preffered apps selection thing. And all point to have chromium browser as default. Yet when I run xdg-open firefox is launched! Similarly emacs and bzr also launch stuff in firefox instead of chromium.

Are there any additional settings which affect xdg-open functionality?

Something is definatly broken:

I have purged firefox:
update-alternatives - uses chromium browser
sensible-browser - opens chromium browser
xdg-open & gnome-open - opens using google-chrome which kindly tells me "it's not default browser"


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Chromium also has an option in its preferences to make it the default browser:

alt text

That should work, but it if doesn't, read on:

There are several keys in the GConf database that determine what browser is launched by xdg-open:

  • /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/unknown/command
  • /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command
  • /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/https/command
  • /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/about/command

Make sure they are all set correctly:

  • Hit Alt+F2
  • Enter gconf-editor
  • Navigate to the above keys, they should be set to /usr/bin/chromium-browser %s.

alt text

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This is better. I have removed firefox package and guess what? $ xdg-mime query default text/html firefox.desktop – Dima Dec 21 '10 at 19:52

In my situation I installed Chromium and made it default. Before that Chrome was default browser.

I tried all I was able to do: setting Chromium default browser, changing gconf settings to run Chromium with %U variable (, changing alternatives to use Chromium as default x-www-browser (, but nothing helped, xdg-open opened new Chromium window with start-page ang couldn't open given link, sensible-browser opened Chrome. I tried to purge Chrome (Chromium was automatically set as default and auto in update-alternatives) and install it again, because I need Pepper flash from there, and it became default x-www-browser alternative again, and again was open with sensible-browser command. Then I've googled some pages and drew my attention on priority and also discovered that there is gnome-www-browser symlink in /etc/alternatives/ too and google-chrome was default there. Chrome had priority set in 200 and Chromium - 40. Google Chrome's priority is higher, so update-alternatives utility installs it as default web-browser automatically as "better version".

I've removed both Chrome and Chromium from x-www-browser and gnome-www-browser:

sudo update-alternatives --remove x-www-browser /usr/bin/google-chrome
sudo update-alternatives --remove x-www-browser /usr/bin/chromium-browser
sudo update-alternatives --remove gnome-www-browser /usr/bin/google-chrome
sudo update-alternatives --remove gnome-www-browser /usr/bin/chromium-browser

Then I've installed new alternatives with other priorities:

sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-www-browser x-www-browser /usr/bin/google-chrome 40
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-www-browser x-www-browser /usr/bin/chromium-browser 200
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/gnome-www-browser gnome-www-browser /usr/bin/google-chrome 40
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/gnome-www-browser gnome-www-browser /usr/bin/chromium-browser 200

I don't know are '40' and '200' default priorities for all computers or you will have other numbers. It's better to look before by entering

sudo update-alternatives --display x-www-browser
sudo update-alternatives --display gnome-www-browser

Upd. I've tried to do the same things on completely different system, and priorities were the same as here.

Upd2. If you'll run google-chrome just once, it will change it's priority back to 200 but chromium-browser will stay as default.

This worked for me. Chromium was set up as default automatically and sensible-browser is launching Chromium. But still xdg-open is opening new blank window.

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Please, try to improve your answer. You shared a good resource, but you should clarify the information. e.g. you can research the reason of the 40 and 200 numbers. – Lucio Nov 30 '12 at 1:40
Thank You. I tried to write about it a little more. – mackuz Dec 3 '12 at 20:22
Great! And welcome to the community. – Lucio Dec 3 '12 at 21:09
Thank You! Hope, I'll find a complete way to fix this problem some day. – mackuz Dec 3 '12 at 21:40

sensible-browser is the command to launch default web browser from the terminal.

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Sure. But I have no clue what $bzr lp-open is using behind my back. But whatever it uses, firefox gets selected. I think it is using xdg-open which also is selecting firefox. – Dima Dec 21 '10 at 19:24
After using DoR fixes, chromium is now opened by sensible-browser. – Dima Dec 21 '10 at 19:54
Glad it worked :) – karthick87 Dec 21 '10 at 20:00

For me the solution was to run this two commands. Then you only have to select the desired browser from the list.

sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser
sudo update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser

Sources: Launchpad, Bugzilla

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