I want graphical applications such as transmission-gtk and Firefox to open up directories with Midnight Commander through new instances of my default terminal emulator running on Debian.

I've noticed that every time I try to open a directory in various X11/GTK applications, they rather turn to my Firefox browser to show the path, and not to my file manager - MC, including Firefox itself.

I don't know what's wrong with my mimes because Midnight Commander is indeed flagged as a FileManager, and it is the only dedicated file manager that's installed on my system.


Keywords=file manager;console;

My mimeinfo.cache is present at the same directory as well, however it has no mention of mc.desktop at all.

How can I set Midnight Commander as my default file manager to be used for opening and browsing filesystem paths? I'm using Linux Debian 10 with X11 but without a desktop environment.

  • I have no used debian in some time, but have you read this article? – number9 Jan 7 '19 at 0:45
  • @number9 I've tried xdg-mime default mc.desktop inode/directory (as mentioned in this article) and now basically GUI apps freeze the moment I try to open any directory through them, and I have to kill them through htop. – David von Tamar Jan 7 '19 at 1:46
  • Ugh. I had an issue similar to that with a debian/ubuntu derivative. Truth be told after countless hours of pain, I backed up my home dir and reinstalled and fixed it by using a different method, which is not like me. What happens if you try to default it back to the stock file manager? – number9 Jan 7 '19 at 2:30
  • @number9, Firefox was used as my fallback "file manager" so I set it back to firefox.desktop and now it works just as before, all directories are opened via Firefox. – David von Tamar Jan 7 '19 at 4:07

Create the file ~/.local/share/applications/mc.desktop with contents

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Midnight Commander
Exec=mc %F

Notice the line Terminal=true, maybe you have missed that. MC needs to be run inside a terminal to work, differently from many other applications, as we well know.

Then issue xdg-mime default mc.desktop inode/directory.

I tested it on Firefox (by going to Downloads and then clicking the folder icon to open an item in its directory) and it worked like a charm.

Edit: The above procedure still does not work for some applications (e.g., Telegram and GNOME's Disk Usage Analyzer). Apparently, some (1) ignore or don't cope with Terminal=true, while others (2) pass a file URI scheme as the file path.

To solve both issues at once, try this mc.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Midnight Commander
Exec=xterm -e mc %U

Explanation: (1) The Exec takes up the job of invoking your terminal (in my case, XTerm) and then it runs mc in the terminal (that is what -e option is specifying). (2) Replacing %F with %U, URIs are correctly understood.

  • Finally! What was missing from my mc.desktop is the %F in the Exec command. I had a working mc.desktop file with Terminal=true set by now. I can see now why MC would always open up in my home directory (however, not at the time I wrote the question) when GUI apps were asking MC to open specific directories. – David von Tamar Jan 27 '20 at 12:52
  • 1
    I've upvoted this. But it would (by default) be better in ~/.local/share/applications/ than in /usr... don't you think? wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Desktop_entries – Rusi Jan 27 '20 at 14:15

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