As a previous macOS user I am used to call
open <anything> in a terminal to open the current file or folder with the standard tool.
open . would open the current folder while
open file.pdf would open the PDF in the default PDF viewer.
Today I learned that
xdg-open serves the same purpose on the Linux desktop. So I configured an alias, to have the same behavior on both systems:
alias open="xdg-open &>/dev/null"
xdg-utils is a set of tools that allows applications to easily integrate with the desktop environment of the user, regardless of the specific desktop environment that the user runs.
It's super convenient to change the default application for a given file, say a PDF. Let's change the default program:
First let's assume we don't know the mime-type of the PDF, which is
We can find this type by query all known filetypes:
xdg-mime query filetype /path/to/a/file.pdf application/pdf
Let's see which default application is currently configured for this filetype:
xdg-mime query default application/pdf chromium.desktop
If we don't want to use chromium to read PDFs, but for example zathura we can change the default application as follows:
find /usr/share/applications/ -name '*zathura*' /usr/share/applications/org.pwmt.zathura-pdf-mupdf.desktop /usr/share/applications/org.pwmt.zathura.desktop xdg-mime default org.pwmt.zathura.desktop application/pdf xdg-mime query default application/pdf org.pwmt.zathura.desktop
Now PDF files are opened with zathura when using our new
open command as defined above.
A lot programs bring their own
.desktop file(s). Files are listed in
/usr/share/appliations and can be overridden or suplemented with files located in
~/.local/share/applications. The specification of those files can be found here.