I'm having a little trouble understanding exactly how MIME works on the desktop. The specific issue I'm having is that certain file types (C++ source, PHP source, and a couple others) open with Geany by default. Ideally, I'd like them to open up in Gedit, my text editor of choice.

So, I'm trying to clear up a few things in order to hopefully better understand how the process works.

  1. xdg-open is used to open the default application for a specific mimetype, correct?
  2. xdg-open doesn't have any default program for file of type application/x-php or text/x-c++src, so why is Geany used by default?

I have a feeling I'm missing a piece of the puzzle here somehow, so any clarification of how this all fits together would be great!

1 Answer 1


Xdg-open when run under any of main DEs, does nothing by itself, but delegates all request to that DE tool, namely gvfs-open. And it does have a default setting to open code in Geany after it is installed.

  • This doesn't appear to be the case. I looked at the gvfs-open man page which says that it uses ~/.local/share/application/mimeapps.list. Those two mimetypes don't show up there at all. The only place I actually see a reference to these types and Geany is in the /usr/share/applications/geany.desktop file, but that simply indicates it can open those files, not that it should be default.
    – Chuck R
    Nov 3, 2014 at 22:29

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