Whenever I click a download link in Firefox (Ffox 38, on Ubuntu 12.04LTS) such as a PDF, I get

screenshot 1

And there's nothing more sensible than GVim in the Open With menu.

When I look in about:preferences, I see

screenshot 2

Which seems to imply it's aware of a document viewer application, but then it's not giving me that option when it opens a PDF...?

I've used PDF here as an example, it's the same with other formats, e.g. it also offers to open tar files with Gvim...

How can I get Firefox 38 to correctly populate the Open with drop-down?

(nb. I'm aware that this has been asked before but those solutions only work for earlier versions of Firefox, so are irrelevant.)

EDIT: To be clear, my desktop system (Gnome Shell) does not have a problem opening files; it's just Firefox.


$ xdg-mime query default application/pdf
  • Try reset firefox to default settings, helped in some cases (different from your problem). I was lazy exporting bookmarks etc. but it helped. OR try creating new profile (which is very unlikely to help, but...) – RiddleMeThis Jun 16 '15 at 15:20

By using " xdg-mime " you should be able to change the default application from browsers. Please look at this link for more info.

EDIT: I wrongly pasted some comments here (Thanks artfulrobot for pointing that). Removed them now. Please look at the link mentioned above for changing the application preference.

  • 1
    Thanks. Specifically for me, inspecting ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list showed that under application/octet-stream I had gvim and totem (?!) listed. As that mimetype is going to match all binary data it was taking over, unless there was a more specific match. Deleting that line from that file and restarting Firefox fixed the issue. – artfulrobot Jun 17 '15 at 8:56

Delete or rename your mimeTypes.rdf file, then restart Firefox. The mimeTypes.rdf file will be located somewhere in the ~/.mozilla directory.

  • Thanks for suggestion. I tried that (find ~/.mozilla -name mimeTypes.rdf -delete) but it didn't solve the problem :-( – artfulrobot Jun 17 '15 at 8:21
  • Actually, it's fixed it for PDFs, but not other files (e.g. .tgz) - still wants to open these with Gvim! – artfulrobot Jun 17 '15 at 8:34

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