I'm trying to change the default applications in Ubuntu 11.10 and I fail to do so.

I go to system info > default applications and I make some changes. If I close and reopen the system info window, the changes have reverted to the old ones.

Also if I go to a .avi for example > properties > open with and I try to set as default something else, I get

Could not set as default

Error while setting "VLC media player" as default application: Failed to create file '/home/george/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list.WCOC3V': Permission denied

  • I have not tested this because I do not want to mess with my system, but are you logged-in as a standard user? Does your user have administration privileges? Oct 16, 2011 at 12:37
  • Yes I'm logged in as a standard user. Why should I need administration privileges to change the default application for something for my user? Oct 17, 2011 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


I found a solution myself. Not sure if it's the best one.

The /home/george/.local/share/applications directory was owned by root. Not sure if it was meant to be that way. Anyway after I changed owner, I can now set some other program as the default without problem.

sudo chown -R george:george /home/george/.local/share/applications

As an addition, now the changes from system info work as well

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