Why can't I Edit desktop file from Nautilus?

sktsee sktseer at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 23:13:06 UTC 2011

On 07/28/2011 03:57 PM, Colin Law wrote:
> In ~/.local/share/applications are .desktop files.  If I view that
> folder in Nautilus and right click one of the files then I get an Open
> option but no Open With options so that I can open it in gedit (or
> whatever) for editing.  Is there a good reason for this?  This is the
> sort of behaviour one expects from an OS where the system assumes that
> it knows best, mentioning no names.
> I know I can edit it from the terminal, that is not the point of the question.

My wild guess is that it's to prevent users from accidentally 
associating the application/x-desktop mime-type with an editor or some 
other program. If that were to happen, clicking on, say, 
shotwell.desktop file wouldn't launch the program shotwell, but instead 
would open the shotwell.desktop file in gedit, assuming that's what you 
  associated .desktop files with. Moreover, any program you clicked on 
the menu or on a panel launcher would do the same thing. For most users 
unacquainted with where Gnome stores user configured mime-type 
overrides, this problem would be rather difficult to reverse.

To open a .desktop file in a gui editor:

1. open gedit and simply drag from nautilus the .desktop file(s) you 
want to edit into gedit's window.
2. in the nautilus side pane, change the view to "Information" and then 
select a .desktop file. The pane should display a little of the .desktop 
file info with the button "Open with Text Editor" under it. Clicking the 
button opens it with gedit or whatever program you've got associated 
with text/plain mime-type files.


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