I'm using xubuntu "precise".

I have set up my preferred applications (Settings/Preferred-Applications or $ exo-preferred-applications):

  • web browser: chromium
  • mail reader: thunderbird
  • file manager: thunar
  • terminal emulator: xfce4-terminal

However, some programs have their own ideas:

  • clicking the terminal icon in the xfce panel opens xfce4-terminal but Thunar's "open terminal here" opens NextStep terminal.
  • clicking a link in thunderbird or the terminal opens it in chromium, clicking a link in a PDF in evince fails with "Failed to execute child process "/opt/google/chrome/google-chrome" (No such file or directory)". Clicking a link in OpenOffice opens firefox whereas alpine prefers to open links in epiphany.
  • "Open containing folder" in evince fails with "Failed to execute default file manager - Failed to execute child process "/usr/bin/Thunar" (Permission denied)." (Doubly odd as said application exists and runs fine on the command line.) Other programs prefer to launch nautilus instead.

What settings to I have to set so that every application that needs a browser/terminal/file manager uses the correct one? Getting evince to open hyperlinks correctly and Thunar my xfce terminal are my priorities, everything else would be nice.

1 Answer 1


You may have to change "desktop specific" applications (e.g. Nautilus to Gnome, Dolphin to KDE, ...) via the desktop specific control applications.

So for Gnome use gnome-control-center and for KDE systemsettings and set the default applications.

  • Ok, after setting chromium as default in gnome-control-center, ckicling a link in evince fails with /usr/lib/chromium-browser/chromium-browser-sandbox: error while loading shared libraries: libpthread.so.0: failed to map segment from shared object: Permission denied. Chromium is installed and works fine.
    – user79163
    Jun 13, 2013 at 10:27
  • There is some bug: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/apparmor/+bug/964510
    – Manuel
    Jun 13, 2013 at 10:38
  • Another note on gnome-control-center: for some reason, when an XFCE session is running, most options in the center don't appear for me. I had to log out and in again with a "GNOME session" to get the settings button to appear in the control center. There doesn't seem to be an option to set the default terminal there though?
    – user79163
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:01
  • Does this work: askubuntu.com/questions/90214/how-to-set-default-program?rq=1
    – Manuel
    Jun 14, 2013 at 16:52

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