My head exploded.
I packed all the pieces back in so I could tell you about how it happened. It starts out like a n00bie post, but seriously – it's not. For the sake of brevity, I wish the story were shorter. :-\
Opened Firefox to DL TunesViewer.deb from SourceForge, but the dialog box suggested VLC Media Player as the default installer. That's not right. That should be some sort of package installer, not VLC.
(Note: is this a FF issue or an Ubuntu issue? I'm pretty savvy, but this has me scratching my head. Other google searches seem to indicate the same state of mind as others attempt to answer the same question. It's incredibly simple, and incredibly confusing. Google searches uncover similar questions back to at least 2006.)
So in Firefox I go to the Helper Apps tab, and .deb files is set to "Always ask." So I delve further.
I notice as I'm about to DL it, the dialog box reads
"Firefox should open it with a package installer" my inside voice says. When I select
Choose Helper Application
dialog box suggests recently used documents and folders, but nothing to point to a willing install helper application. (Note: These are documents and directories – not applications. The dialog box is entitled "...Application." Therein lies a clue.)
In a moment of brilliance, I double click the DLed .deb file and get what I think is just a generic
dialog box. (At this point, I hadn't noticed that it was GDebi Package Installer that was running. That was a complete disconnect that I can't explain. Fatigue, perhaps.)
I'm now google searching for what to set as the default install application for .deb files.
I google search "ubuntu package installer" and find
but there's also
the waters are muddied, and I'm feeling more lost than before. *sigh*
More google searching. This URL
got me straightened out. Right click the .deb file, select the sequence
and the list of
GDebi Package Installer
as an option, the rain stops, the sun shines, and birds are chirping.
Here's the moral of the story, presented as a feature request: When encountering this dialog box:
and you're presented with the Select Helper Application dialog box (note the Cancel and Open buttons at the bottom):
can you also provide a
button somewhere similar to the choices offered when right clicking the .deb file in the desktop? This would change the above dialog box to something like this (note there are now three buttons at the bottom):
More simply, can the sequence
Open With... Other Application...
simply show the application selection dialog box instead?