Does anyone actually run this thing on Linux? Or do they just build it and see that it loads? (Click on URL to *download and view locally* instead of launching a browser?)

So, as I settle in to using Linux, I'm actually reading my email in Thunderbird. Like 99% of the email-using public, I often get links sent in URLs to which I would like to go. That's why mail-readers (including Thunderbird) make things that look like URLs in mail messages clickable links. Every mail reader should be able to launch links in the user's default browser as a base out-of-the-box feature.

Somehow Thunderbird 0.7.3 missed this little feature.

On clicking on a link, the page is downloaded to a temporary folder and then I'm asked what application I'd like to use to view it. There are all sorts of support forums where people tell each other how to work around it (none of the suggestions worked in this case, unfortunately), with solutions involving creating a shell script and then editing your prefs.js file to specify the shell script as your handler for the http, https, ftp, etceteras protocols.

But what blows my mind is that this isn't blocking releases. I mean this is basic functionality that simply doesn't work. And it's not like this is a complex thing to fix. Out-of-the-box your action for clicking on a link should be to launch the user's default browser. For example, the Python code to do that is:
import webbrowser url )

Sure, it may be more work in C or JavaScript, but that's the price you pay for inferior tools.

Hmm, now Firefox is getting balky about loading pages. Sticks with a frozen window for 20 seconds or so before displaying new pages. Maybe I'll try emerging the suite instead... though I'm kinda fond of Firefox when it works.


  1. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 09/18/2004 1:21 a.m. #

    More hacking about with the various shell scripts seems to have made Thunderbird realise that Firefox is there. Don't know how to duplicate the effect should I ever need to (i.e. next time I rebuild), but oh well.

  2. Tom

    Tom on 07/04/2005 2:25 a.m. #

    I wish you could remember. I have the same problem.

  3. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 07/13/2005 6:01 p.m. #

    Okay, here's what I just did to re-fix it (recent mozilla has apparently broken mozilla-xremote-client). Add the following lines to prefs.js for the thunderbird profile:<br />
    <br />
    user_pref("", "/usr/bin/");<br />
    user_pref("", "/usr/bin/");<br />
    <br />
    for simplicity, create a link to the Thunderbird version of mozilla-xremote-client in /usr/bin:<br />
    <br />
    ln -s /usr/lib/MozillaThunderbird/mozilla-xremote-client /usr/bin/mozilla-xremote-client<br />
    <br />
    now, create and give it these contents (make it executable as well):<br />
    <br />
    #!/bin/sh<br />
    export MOZILLA_FIVE_HOME="/usr/lib/MozillaThunderbird"<br />
    <br />
    WINDOWTYPE='new-tab'<br />
    url="$1"<br />
    if [ "x$url" = "x" ]; then<br />
    url="about:blank"<br />
    fi<br />
    <br />
    echo $url > ~/temp.url<br />
    <br />
    if<br />
    /usr/bin/mozilla-xremote-client "openURL( $url, $WINDOWTYPE );"<br />
    then<br />
    exit 0<br />
    fi<br />
    <br />
    exec /opt/firefox/firefox "$url"<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    That seems to solve the problem for me, hope it helps for you.

  4. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 07/15/2005 8:12 a.m. #

    Urgh. And now it's re-broken itself!

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