After I installed Google Chrome on my work laptop, Pidgin links open with Chrome even though Firefox is set as my default browser. Pidgin is using sensible-browser to open links. How can I get sensible-browser to use the default browser?

I found a couple of posts about similar problems here and here but the solutions seemed to be "run a bunch of random commands and one of them might possibly fix the issue". I need to understand what the underlying problem is before I can take any steps to fix it.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

sensible-browser does the following:

  1. if the BROWSER environment variable contains anything, it splits the value using : and each substring is tried as a candidate for a browser (so you can set BROWSER to be your favourite browser's executable);
  2. if you're running GNOME, it tries running gnome-www-browser, which you can configure using update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser (as root) to point to your favourite browser;
  3. if that fails, or you're not running GNOME, it tries running x-www-browser, which you can configure using update-alternatives --config x-www-browser (as root) to point to your favourite browser;
  4. if that fails, it tries running www-browser, which you can configure using update-alternatives --config www-browser (as root) to point to your favourite browser (but it's supposed to be a text-mode browser such as Lynx or W3M).

None of the alternatives take their value from your desktop environment's default; that explains why they ignore the browser you've configured.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.