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On MacOS X I can run

open /some/path/index.html

and this would open the page index.html with the default software that handles .html files. Is there something similar on Ubuntu Linux? I have used gnome-open in the past, but if there is no gnome installed, this command fails, of course.

gnome-open /some/path/index.html

Is there a generic "open this file with the default application" on Linux?

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There is xdg-open, see this question for some details. – sr_ May 14 '12 at 10:14
@sr_ Can you turn this into an answer? I'll accept it then. – topskip May 14 '12 at 10:20
up vote 2 down vote accepted

A desktop-environment-agnostic open utility is xdg-open, which could fill your need. It's probably packaged with some other utilities of xdg-utils.

It's discussed here quite often, see for example this question for details on configuring it.

(Other desktop environments come with *-open utilities, too, e.g. there is XFCE's exo-open)

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