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Using Linux, I have more than once seen URIs of files and applications starting with file:// and application://.

What are those URIs and how to use them?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Quoting Wikipedia:

The file URI scheme is a URI scheme specified in RFC 1630 and RFC 1738, typically used to retrieve files from within one's own computer.

and RFC 1738:

The file URL scheme is used to designate files accessible on a particular host computer. This scheme, unlike most other URL schemes, does not designate a resource that is universally accessible over the Internet.

A file URL takes the form: file://host/path

where host is the fully qualified domain name of the system on which the path is accessible, and path is a hierarchical directory path of the form directory>/directory/.../name.

As a special case, host can be the string localhost or the empty string; this is interpreted as `the machine from which the URL is being interpreted'.

Most browsers support file:// URI, co you can open file from your disk by using them in your browser address bar.

I don't think that application:// URI is standarized - there is no info about it on Wikipedia and in RFC's on IETF site and in IANA site, so usage of this URI scheme is rather application specific and designed for application internal needs.

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Indeed if I enter file:///home/benjamin/my_file.txt, I can access and open that file. So only web browsers can read the URI? Or can I use these URIs from the terminal too? –  Benjamin May 13 '12 at 17:35
PS: I know the application:// or app:// from the use of zeitgeist, see: zeitgeist-project.com/docs/0.8.2/… . –  Benjamin May 13 '12 at 17:38
Standardization of file:// URI was done in context of web browsing so all browsers should support it. Some other programs also should support it: there is support for file:// in KDE apps, and I think that GNOME also have support for it. In git file:// is one of ways to access repository. But as you can see it is application specific... –  pbm May 13 '12 at 17:53

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