Changing default applications
In Ubuntu 8.04 it’s surprisingly hard to change default applications to something of your liking.
Sure you can right-click a mp3 file and set it to be open with the player of your choice, but that’s not enough.
What if you want dvd’s to be opened with vlc instead of totem? What if you want cd’s to be opened with exaile instead of rythmbox? If you search for files mp3′s get opened with totem, … all these things can’t be changed with the provided GUI nor with “gconf-editor”.
I hope this will be “fixed” in the next Ubuntu release this October.
It’s been said that Ubuntu and Gnome tend to simplify things, and most of the time this is a good thing, just not this time.
The “preferred application” dialog is too basic and pretty useless, they should be able to do better in the next release.
I’m pointing out the obvious by saying Ubuntu is still Linux, and you can pretty much change every behavior the OS has as default.
Enough ranting, let’s see how to do it.
You’ll need to fire up the terminal (Applications -> Accessories) and copy/paste this code
gksudo gedit /etc/gnome/defaults.list
A prompt will ask for your password.
Gedit (a text editor) will open and you’ll see a lot of lines.
If you want to change what types of files should be opened with a application you prefer, look for these lines:
I haven’t actually done this, but it should be as easy as replacing “ooo-calc” with the program you prefer. Let’s say you like gnumeric better, the line should read like this
The same logic can be applied to all other lines as well.
I’ll give some other examples (that I did test).
Letting a dvd open with vlc by default.
Change this line:
Let a mp3 file open with exaile (also when you search for them, …)
Change this line:
Open a cd with exaile by default
Change this line
After you saved that file, go to “system -> preferences -> main menu”, expand sound and video, and on right side right click on vlc -> properties. Change the launcher command to
I don’t know exactly why this is needed (if you know, leave a comment) but exaile didn’t have %U after it and I didn’t put %m after it and it still worked.
It could be that this is needed for some programs.