Make firefox understand downloaded files

 It is quite annoying that Firefox always forgets what application to use for “opening” a file which you just downloaded. Also, the context menu “Open containing folder” in the Downloads overview does not work. Thanks to a hint from user cendryon in  a discussion at LinuxQuestions.org, a clean and simple solution surfaced which I had not thought of myself (even though I implement the same techique in my Dropbox client package):

Using “xdg-open” you can improve the integration of Firefox into your Desktop Environment a lot:

  1. Stop firefox if it is running
  2. Delete or rename the mimetypes cache (where firefox keeps its file association settings):
    $ rm ~/.mozilla/firefox/<yourprofile>/mimeTypes.rdf
  3. Start firefox again
  4. Download any file if you had not done this before
  5. Open that file from the “Tools > Downloads” menu (by right-clicking on it and selecting “Open“). When asked to choose the application for opening the fike, browse to “/usr/bin/xdg-open“. then check the checkbox to “Remember your choice“.

After you’ve configured Firefox like that, both the  “Open” and “Open containing folder” context menus will work. If you are running KDE (which was the subject of that discussion on LQ.org) you can then change the preferred programs through KDE’s “file associations” settings. Brilliant.

Have fun,

Eric

12 thoughts on “Make firefox understand downloaded files


  1. NIce hack if it can be done safely.. Having read the post that Manuel links to I am wondering if this is still a problem.


  2. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for this it is really handy.

    If only you could find out a similar way to get amarok to properly write the config file in amarokrc if you want to use MYSQL to store its data, Even up till the latest release i had to add the host manually.


  3. I thought it is not a “workaround” but a “temporary solution”. And actually using xdg-open for years. In both thunderbird and firefox…. 🙂


  4. Manuel

    You do as you please. The issue you reported about Slackware’s mailcap (which was again taken from Fedora) back in 2009 was fixed in KDE 4.3 (xdg-open calls kfmclient).
    Since your “test case” if no longer online I could not verify and really, it is of no importance anyway.

    Eric



  5. Ferenc,

    I package Amarok as part of KDE but I do not use it. I think it is an example of bad interface design and everytime I run it, I am confronted with things that do not work.

    Eric


  6. >Open that file from the “Tools > Downloads” menu (by right-clicking on it and selecting “Open“). When asked to choose the application for opening the fike, browse to “/usr/bin/xdg-open“. then check the checkbox to “Remember your choice“.

    Well, my 2 cents. Browsing to the file takes normally quite a long time, since /usr/bin/ is very populated. Normally it is much faster just to type: /usr/bin/xdg-open and hit enter (you do not have to type in completely, since it will try to guess what you are typing in (like auto-completion).




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