metashell - User Friendly Shell

Dries Desmet dries at
Mon Jan 28 09:37:05 UTC 2008

Fergal Daly wrote:
> [...]
> So let me rephrase my points
> 1 there are multiple tools which do roughly the same thing - see,
> gnome-open and probably k-something-or-other and no unified location
> for preferences for these tools
> 2 multiple tools which do roughly the same thing is no problem
> 3 multiple locations for the same preferences is a bad thing and while
> sometimes necessary, should be avoided where possible
> 4 if you don't already know the name of the tool, you are unlikely to
> be able to find it
> 5 "open" seems to be the obvious name for such a tool. It was the
> first thing I tried, it's what's left when you remove "gnome-" from
> "gnome-open", it's the verb that appears under every File menu I've
> ever seen. It seems quite discoverable. "edit" is also quite
> discoverable however if you're just trying to open something to see
> it, you're unlikely to try "edit"
> 6 open is currently a symlink to /usr/bin/openvt - the fact that it's
> a symlink and that "man open" talks about "openvt" not "open" makes me
> thing that it's ripe for reclamation.
> So I am suggesting that Ubuntu would be improved by reclaiming
> /usr/bin/open from the  console-tools package and replacing it with an
> alternatives-based link to a file opener, on Ubuntu -gnome-open, on
> Kubuntu - k-something etc etc. Ideally they would all have the same
> interface but even without that it would be good.
> It would also be great to have a central mime-type -> action database.
> I think that's part of freedesktop but unless see and edit pay
> attention to it, the problem is not fully solved,
> F

Good proposal IMHO. I had similar experience. It would be a subtle but a 
true Ubuntu-spirit improvement. The command on OS X for this is 'open' 
too btw. Concerning mime-types, the existing method of editing 
mime-types by right-clicking and add Applications to open a file with 
works okay for User-specific options, but I would like to see a gui that 
can set System wide associations.


Dries Desmet.

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