Earlier my text/xml files were by default opened by firefox I think. Not sure of this because I do not remember exactly. Then I think I installed geany and then my text/xml files were always by default opened by Geany until I installed google-chrome. Now I see they are by default opened by google-chrome.

Until now I did not bother to check what are the default applications associated with a particular filetype.

Now when I check my /usr/share/applications/defaults.list file I see this:


My default browser is still set to firefox. The first line above shows both Firefox and Chrome for text/html but for text/xml it is only Chrome.

I think earlier it was Geany for text/xml because that's the reason by default Geany used to open XML files. I'm not sure on this because I've never checked.


  • I'm wondering how it is set. How a particular application is chosen over another.
  • Also how the semicolon (";") is read in the file.

I'm using Fedora 20 - Mate desktop environment.

Query based on Answer by slm

Based on the Answer by @slm, I see my xml filetypes are associated with Geany. But I see them opening with Chrome instead.

$ xdg-mime query default application/xml

As I mentioned above my /usr/share/applications/defaults.list file shows


So what is the difference and which should override?


1 Answer 1


I usually use the command line tool xdg-mime to determine what applications are associated with a given MIME type.

$ xdg-mime query filetype IMAGE.PNG 

$ xdg-mime query default image/png
shotwell-viewer.desktop shutter.desktop

You can make this a single command like so:

$ xdg-mime query default $(xdg-mime query filetype IMAGE.PNG)
shotwell-viewer.desktop shutter.desktop

You can change the default using mimeopen like so:

$ mimeopen -d ~/test.pdf

Please choose a default application for files of type application/pdf

    1) E-book Viewer  (calibre-ebook-viewer)
    2) Document Viewer  (evince)
    3) Xournal  (xournal)
    4) GNU Image Manipulation Program  (gimp)
    5) Xpdf PDF Viewer  (xpdf)
    6) Print Preview  (evince-previewer)
    7) Inkscape  (inkscape)
    8) calibre  (calibre-gui)
    9) Other...

use application #2
Opening "/home/saml/Downloads/test.pdf" with Document Viewer  (application/pdf)

NOTE: By the way, the semi-colons are there because there can be multiple associations for a given MIME type. So text/xml could have google-chrome.desktop;firefox.desktop; as it's value would would indicate that there are 2 apps that can handle that particular type.


  • I see filetype application/xml is by default should open with geany.desktop. But the xml files are being opened by google-chrome and not geany.
    – bluefoggy
    Sep 9, 2014 at 13:12
  • Where are you opening these files after making these associations? If you use xdg-open <file> do they correctly open in Geany?
    – slm
    Sep 10, 2014 at 1:48

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