Thursday, October 11, 2012

A dangling web

You'd think, in this day and age, something as simple as clicking on a link in another application would fire up the user's preferred browser and open the linked URL, right? Not on my Mint system.

One of the first things I did was install Chrome. Firefox just seems clunky to me. Chrome does too, but it seems less clunky, and also seems to be the next big standard in browsers. I'll whip it into shape, or at least to the point I'll be used to it.

But all is not well in browserville. You guessed it: clicking on a link in Firestorm does nothing at all. There's some bit of low magic I've apparently missed, or that Mint doesn't get right, or that didn't get set up somewhere during the install.

Firestorm does know how to open URLs in an external browser. My roommate's systems do this fine. So do the folks on the Firestorm support team, when I asked them. (Digression: Firestorm has a kick-ass support team inworld. They know all, or can at least find out, not just about Firestorm, but about Second Life in general.)

I'll have to look into the mechanism Firestorm uses to open a URL in an external browser to see where the disconnect is. Of course, (this is a familiar refrain now, isn't it?) this Just Works on OS X.My guess is that this is one of those things that is different from one desktop manager to another.

That leads me to an overall observation: there's no such thing as Linux. There are forty zillion different Linuxes. (Linuces? How come Linux doesn't get this hackish plural?) I should probably say something at this point about "trapped in a twisty little maze of Linuxes, all different". Each one has its own way of doing things, and the differences cause seams that things fall into, like opening URLs from applications.

Just as annoying is that this works better after the reinstall than it did before it. The first time I set up the system, the default browser selection didn't work. When I asked for help in Banshee, for example, Mint opened up Firefox to show me the documentation page instead of Chrome. That much at least works this time around, though I have no idea why.

I expect that I'll be tripping over this kind of thing throughout my Linux experience, and it will continue to annoy me - because I know it can be different, and the difference is between having something Just Work and having to dig and tweak and fiddle.

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