Something went wrong on a whole bunch of machines, and I can't figure out what or where or when or how.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation release 6.10 (Santiago)

All of my desktop icons are not working. Whenever I click on a desktop icon, the icon's underlying text file is opened in gedit .

I read a comment about xdg-mime but I don't know if the output is correct or not:

$ xdg-mime query filetype ASIST.desktop 
text/plain; charset=us-ascii
$ xdg-mime query filetype /usr/share/pixmaps/keyring.png 
$ xdg-mime query filetype Desktop/gnome-terminal.desktop 

...but it doesn't seem to matter, because all three files are opened (or at least sent) to gedit. (gedit won't open the png file)

What did I break, and how do I fix it?

  • the output of xdg-mime is indeed wrong. it should be application/x-desktop and image/png. Which distribution are you using?
    – blaimi
    Oct 19, 2020 at 15:58
  • @blaimi Sorry -- Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation release 6.10 (Santiago)
    – hymie
    Oct 19, 2020 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


Very sorry, it was essentially user error.

My security requirements include that the root user's umask is 0077. I recently installed some files on all of these machines, and had to run update-mime-database , which rebuilt the entire /usr/share/mime directory -- and applied the umask, thus blocking all non-root users from accessing the directory.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .