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Under KDE 4.7 I have "chromium-browser-chromium" set as my default browser in system settings.

This works for KDE apps, but not Thunderbird. I suspect that Thunderbird is looking for the default browser in a GTK type config place, rather than a KDE setting.

So while KDE apps open links in Chromium, Thunderbird (I am currently in tb6.0, but the same behaviour happens in previous versions) opens links in Firefox.

I know I can force the issue in prefs.js but I would like to get thunderbird to respect the system setting. How can I do this?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Thunderbird (at least version 6 here) appears to be using the XDG MIME actions specification. The preferences are stored in ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list, and all desktop environments are supposed to respect them.

[Default Applications]

Older versions of Thunderbird may still be using GNOME's Gvfs for this. You can check using gconftool-2:

$ gconftool-2 --get /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command
firefox %s

If that's the case, the best option is to configure Gvfs to use xdg-open for all URL schemes, which in turn should invoke the right program from mimeapps.list:

$ for scheme in http https about unknown; do
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/$scheme/command \
        --type string "xdg-open %s"

Or you could try xdg-settings, which... honestly, I'm not sure what it does:

$ xdg-settings set default-web-browser chromium.desktop
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Ah ok, this is tb6 so going by option 1, I have text/html=chromium-browser-chromium.desktop;userapp-Firefox-JWXOSV.desktop;. This suggests firefox is a fallback to chromium. The chromium desktop file definitely exists in /usr/share/applications/ and has the correct chromium-browser %u exec line. I'll try removing the fallback but strange tb is not respecting the primary option. – Paul Aug 24 '11 at 10:20
@Paul: text/html is only for HTML files. When opening http URLs, x-scheme-handler/http is used. – grawity Aug 24 '11 at 12:22
Interesting. I don't have that handler defined in .local. However, in /usr/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache I have x-scheme-handler/http=opera-browser.desktop;firefox.desktop;chromium-browser-ch‌​romium.desktop; Which suggests opera should be first. I get that KDE should honour the .local copy, but does it write to it? – Paul Aug 24 '11 at 14:17
I had to add x-scheme-handler/https as well. Otherwise, Thunderbird opens HTTP links with my preferred browser and HTTPS links with the default browser (for some definition of default). – cayhorstmann Oct 20 '12 at 14:50

Here's one thing that works for me:

Basically, the idea is to set network.protocol-handler.warn-external.http to true. Same applies to network.protocol-handler.warn-external.https for https protocol and maybe network.protocol-handler.warn-external.ftp for FTP. After applying that, Thunderbird will ask you which program to open the URL with and allow you to remember the choice.

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