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I find this command

sudo update-alternatives –config x-www-browser

I choose Chrome. It works for xpdf, but Evince still starts Firefox after click.

I feel Linux is not standard. I use Linux Mint 8 (Helena) LXDE.

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this question is not well phrased , what do you mean that evince starts firefox ? Having seen this, now I am not so sure about my answer. – g24l Dec 16 '11 at 0:12
I think the question is about which browser starts if you click on a URL in a PDF document. – erik Oct 24 '13 at 9:51
For MATE users: – Martin Thoma Oct 7 '14 at 11:52

Solving your issue is like voodoo, even when there are "protocols" regarding how and which applications are supposed to open a specific kind of file. You'll see that they're very inconsistent between systems and different desktop environments.

So there's no really a "right" answer. I had a similar problem with firefox, so I'm giving you my solution:

  1. Create a ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list if it doesn't exist
  2. Add the following

    [Default Applications]

    ...or just the last line if there's something before.

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I've heard that mimeapps.list is the new filename for… – Ciro Santilli 巴拿馬文件 六四事件 法轮功 Mar 30 '15 at 19:42
It works like Voodoo, magical, but just simply works =) – Shi B. Jul 30 '15 at 3:54

As far as I understand LXDE uses xdg to do calls to applications. This command should fix your issue:

To find out which application opens a pdf file :

xdg-mime query default application/pdf

To set the application to evince

xdg-mime default evince.desktop application/pdf

This should work if your application is registered to the desktop (i.e. if there is a launcher)

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this should actually be xdg-mime default evince.desktop application/pdf – xubuntix May 14 '12 at 17:26

You can edit your $HOME/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list file. If this file does not exist, create one.

For illustration's sake, if you want Chromium to be the default browser, add the following line:


That's all.

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Worked like a charm on Arch Linux. – Rudy Matela Jul 10 '13 at 2:35

I had a reverse problem - I want firefox to open the links, but evince started chromium no matter what.

I used strace -o /tmp/output evince to see what functions are called and found this in the log:

open("/home/koniu/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop;", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open("/usr/local/share/applications/firefox.desktop;", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open("/usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop;", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open("/home/koniu/.local/share/applications/chromium.desktop", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open("/usr/local/share/applications/chromium.desktop", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open("/usr/share/applications/chromium.desktop", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 16

No idea why there's a semicolon included in the firefox.desktop but I created /home/koniu/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/firefox %U

And now evince starts firefox as desired.

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To change Gnome applications you need to use gconftool:

$ gconftool -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command -t string 'chromium-browser %s'

To check the changes:

$ gconftool -g /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command

Other Gnome applications:



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you keep telling the guy to setup gnome, but he is using LXDE... – g24l Dec 16 '11 at 0:00
@g24l: Evince is a GNOME program, though. (However, it doesn't use GConf for URL handlers anymore.) – grawity Dec 16 '11 at 0:17

Set the default browser in Gnome applications with gnome-default-applications-properties.

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you almost killed my system! after apt-get gnome-control-center, the system is almost broken. – chenge Jun 14 '10 at 9:22
define "almost broken" – msw Jun 14 '10 at 11:10
The issue may be you are telling him to install gnome stuff when his window manager is probably LXDE. – Jarvin Jun 14 '10 at 17:40
i report it: it write file .xsession-errors with "fcitx signal 11", and eat the hd space. – chenge Jun 15 '10 at 10:40
@Dan keep in mind that evince is "gnome stuff", and has gnome dependencies; that said, I don't know what the right answer here is. (Also, LXDE is a desktop environment, not a window manager, not that matters here.) – frabjous Aug 31 '10 at 2:31

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