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Whenever I click a link in some GUI applications, such as signal or slack, either nothing happens, or I just see the screen flash (the screen also flashes when I start firefox normally). This happens whether or not firefox is already running. When I close all firefox windows, nothing happens. But if I killall firefox twice from the command line, suddenly chromium opens up with every link I clicked over the past several days. This does not happen in every application: gajim links open just fine, for example.

firefox is configured to open urls:

$ xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/http
firefox.desktop
$ xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/https
firefox.desktop
$ xdg-settings get default-web-browser
firefox.desktop
$ grep Exec /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop
Exec=/usr/lib/firefox/firefox %u
Exec=/usr/lib/firefox/firefox --new-window %u
Exec=/usr/lib/firefox/firefox --private-window %u

If I click on a link, it spawns two firefox processes, one defunct and one with the link:

$ ps aux | grep firefox
drew     1459371  0.0  0.0   6284  2324 pts/0    S+   17:43   0:00 grep --color=auto firefox
# Click on a link in slack now.
$ ps aux | grep firefox
drew     1459491  0.6  0.0 195908 31008 tty1     Sl   17:43   0:00 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox https://google.com
drew     1459494  1.0  0.0      0     0 tty1     Z    17:43   0:00 [firefox] <defunct>
drew     1459498  0.0  0.0   6284  2164 pts/0    S+   17:43   0:00 grep --color=auto firefox
$ killall firefox
# Nothing happens the first time, even if I use "killall -9 firefox"
$ ps aux | grep firefox
drew     1459555  0.8  0.0 195908 31096 tty1     Sl   17:43   0:00 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox https://google.com
drew     1459558  1.0  0.0      0     0 tty1     Z    17:43   0:00 [firefox] <defunct>
drew     1459668  0.0  0.0   6284  2312 pts/0    S+   17:43   0:00 grep --color=auto firefox
$ killall firefox
# Suddenly, chromium opens with the link from slack.
$ ps aux | grep firefox
drew     1460549  0.0  0.0   6284  2164 pts/0    S+   18:01   0:00 grep --color=auto firefox

I get these same processes whether or not firefox is already running. Closing my firefox windows does not kill these processes. So only after running killall firefox do I see this behavior.

If I run any of these commands in a terminal window, firefox opens the link normally as expected:

$ xdg-open https://google.com
$ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox https://google.com

I use openbox without a desktop environment in arch linux. Recently I installed KDE plasma and ran it once just to mess around with the panel, then promptly uninstalled it. After going back to my normal openbox setup, I noticed some of my configuration was screwed up. I think this started happening around the same time.

This is really weird! Any clue what's going on?

  • upvote for presenting a brainteaser of the week (month?) ... lol – jsotola Apr 6 at 22:28

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