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Ubuntu should make it easy and intuitive to choose default browser, per user, while at the same time not making any surprising changes behind the users back.


Every user has its own favourite application for every task, and browsers more than most. On a multi-user system, every user may have its own favourite browser. Also, when installing a new browser it may be for testing and evaluation purposes just as likely as it is the users favourite, and therefore Ubuntu should not make any uncalled for assumptions.

An example on how it works today, which is rude and surprising, can be found at bugs such as:

Use cases


This specification is limited to deciding the default graphical browsers used in a desktop environment, on a per-user basis.

The examples and some of the text is GNOME-centric, but ideally this should span across all supported variants, as browsers from each DE can be used in the others.


On Windows, most common browsers know if they are the default and if not, asks if they should be made the default, with an extra option to never ask about this again. This is not a bad design as it is very clear to the user what is happening and the choice is made by the user. In Ubuntu this should be taken care of by the system instead of by every browser.

Graphical browsers should get a small wrapper, or modification to their start-up scripts, that calls a specific program, that in turn checks:


Either each involved browser could have its start-up script wrapped or modified, or as an alternative, all menu shortcuts could call the main script with (the optional) parameter as to which browser that should start.

GNOME proper should call whatever mechanism keeps track of the users default browser.


Data preservation and migration

Unresolved issues

BoF agenda and discussion


DefaultBrowser (last edited 2008-08-06 16:35:01 by localhost)