When developing an application for a Windows system, there is a registry entry you can make on the client machine that sets a 'protocol handler' in the system. In the same way that mailto links work you can have it launch your application when a specific url (ie. myapp:) is put into a web browser address bar.

This registry entry seems to work for the common browsers and does not require specific setup for each possible browser.

I have in the past, set a custom protocol handler in Firefox on Linux however... I was wondering if there was a way to do it system wide so that it would work the same for Chromium, etc as well?

2 Answers 2


With GNOME 3.0 and Ubuntu 11.10, things changed compared to the accepted answer to this question.

You can find more details at "Creating custom URL handlers in Ubuntu 11.04, 11.10, GNOME 3.0".


Not system-wide. But the Gnome registry thingy has entries for that. Use gconf-editor and edit sub entries for /desktop/gnome/url-handlers. See also here http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=710780&postcount=6

KDE obviously has a different URI handler database. There is also xdg-open worth looking into. But I'm not sure if it uses a standardized handler database, or if freedesktop.org is working on it. Sparse docs.

Personally I wish they would just use the xdg-mime (and application) database for that. There are pseudo uri/* types in it anyway. And it was somewhat more systematic if you could define handler applications and preference lists for them like with regular MIME types. </rant>

  • "Not system-wide. But the Gnome registry thingy has entries for that." Does that mean Yes and No at the same time?
    – Sam
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 11:18
  • @Sam I suspect it would affect Gnome applications only and the KDE half of your applications won't honor it.
    – mario
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 12:23

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