So I've been trying to get back to using Linux as my primary OS. I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 with Gnome 3. I've tried multiple terminal emulators, but they all seem to have a common failing: you need to hold the ctrl key down while left clicking to open links in a browser, or right click and select the context menu option "Open Link".

This is sub-optimal for me. The machine I'm using as a Linux desktop environment is the laptop I use for work. I use this when I'm working from home and I'm in my bedroom as opposed to my office; in my office I have my Windows gaming rig and my local Linux server (which I usually access over SSH from the laptop or the gaming rig, and run tmux inside). I often use this when my wife is sleeping and I don't have the space to use an external mouse. I know that's a lot of extra details (bordering on off-topic), but I'm trying to give a clearer picture of the reasoning behind my use case, and rule out certain solutions that won't work.

Right clicking and selecting open link and even holding the ctrl button down are easier when I can use the external mouse, but when I'm using the track pad, it's really uncomfortable to do so. Part of why I work from home and use the laptop in bed is because I have chronic pain conditions, so finding a way to customize my environment for my comfort is important to me, to help manage my disabilities.

I've tried gnome-terminal, terminator, guake, and several others that I can't remember at the moment. rxvt doesn't even seem to recognize links (in regular or unicode versions), same for xterm. Unicode also seems to be important so that tmux draws correctly (there might be config tweaks to work around that, but that's just what I noticed when testing now).

Any suggestions for how to configure one of the popular emulators to work with this, or another emulator to try? I've been using Guake lately since it seemed the best of them, but I'm definitely open to switching if it gets the job done. I would prefer not to hand-patch code, as I prefer to manage everything through apt if possible, but I will if it's necessary. I've avoided KDE-specific apps so far because of the extra overhead to get a single KDE app to run inside Gnome, but if there are no alternatives and it performs well enough, that's worth exploring as well.

I'm sorry if this seems like a trivial concern to folks, but this is actually the single-most annoying thing I'm dealing with trying to use Linux as a desktop environment (which in my opinion says a lot of good things about the state of the Linux desktop). However, with my disability, I'm getting tempted to set my default boot back to Windows as a result. I got very used to using putty-url which handles this perfectly.

Thanks for your help.

  • It might be possible to write a custom plugin for Terminator, but I'm not sure how to do it. – Scott Severance Aug 15 '12 at 3:16

urxvt is probably the single most configurable emulator out there. Install it with

sudo apt-get install rxvt-unicode

Then edit the ~/.Xdefaults file adding the following:

URxvt.perl-ext-common: default,matcher
URxvt.urlLauncher: xdg-open
URxvt.matcher.button: 1
URxvt.matcher.pattern.1: \\bwww\\.[\\w-]\\.[\\w./?&@#-\[\]]*[\\w/-]

Using xdg-open allows you to use whatever browser you have specified in system settings (works for Gnome at least, unsure about KDE). Unfortunately, the default looks of urxvt are not, shall I say, very convincing, it's more like the old xterm than the modern gnome-terminal, and the configuration runs through config files rather than context menus. There is a tutorial on how to configure it, however.

Personally, I don't mind such configuration mode, in my experience you rarely want to reconfigure your terminal.

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