Directories keep opening in Firefox when I use xdg-open. I do not want this.

I did:

xdg-mime default dolphin.desktop application/x-directory


xdg-mime default dolphin.desktop inode/directory

Yet, when I try

xdg-open /local

I still get a firefox window. Why is this? I even double checked with

xdg-mime query default inode/directory


xdg-mime query default inode/directory

and both of those commands result in


I don't know if it would make a difference If I have used ssh to control the machine that I am referring to (I am not working on the machine that I am giving these commands, I have used ssh to control it via the terminal of my current machine).

The default program for directories on the machine I am sitting at is File Browser, not dolphin or Firefox, so it seems irrelevant.

  • 5
    You can try to debug by setting the XDG_UTILS_DEBUG_LEVEL env variable to a value greater than 1. If you are using bash: XDG_UTILS_DEBUG_LEVEL=2 xdg-mime query default inode/directory. On my machine, xdg-mime default updated a different file what xdg-mime query was reading. Solved it by removing $HOME/.config/mimeapps.list.
    – psmith
    Feb 22, 2016 at 14:47
  • @psmith Thank you! I've spent at least an hour trying to debug something similar. I had the same issue with different files on Fedora 22.
    – Mark
    Mar 24, 2016 at 10:43

2 Answers 2


In my case the change wouldn't work:

$ xdg-mime default evince.desktop application/pdf

Running with debugging on will show you the files queried:

$ XDG_UTILS_DEBUG_LEVEL=2 xdg-mime query default application/pdf
Checking /usr/local/share//applications/defaults.list and /usr/local/share//applications/mimeinfo.cache
Checking /usr/local/share//applications/defaults.list and /usr/local/share//applications/mimeinfo.cache
Checking /usr/share//applications/defaults.list and /usr/share//applications/mimeinfo.cache

Looking in that last file (where the match was found) gave me a hint:

$ grep application/pdf /usr/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache

It's not called evince.desktop anymore, now it's org.gnome.Evince.desktop!

Once again, now using the new name:

$ xdg-mime default org.gnome.Evince.desktop application/pdf

$ XDG_UTILS_DEBUG_LEVEL=2 xdg-mime query default application/pdf
Checking ~/.config/mimeapps.list

Much better!


For me, further to running xdg-mime default caja.desktop inode/directory, it was running

update-desktop-database ~/.local/share/applications/

which finally updated the default application.

After this, running xdg-mime query default inode/directory now showed the new default application.

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