Saturday, September 17, 2011

Xfce desktop with kde apps - a mime issue

As an Xfce user, I sometimes still find myself grabbing the occasional Kde application.

Most of the time this desktop 'mix and match' works well.

However there is a mime type incompatibility/annoyance that might affect your opening of .doc files.


KDE and mime types:

Installing kdelibs5-data (just to satisfy a dependency) will bring in the following file:

/usr/share/mime/packages/kde.xml

and here is an issue...


The package libfile-mimeinfo-perl in Debian GNU / Linux will give you two utilities that can help you diagnose your issue:

  1. mimetype
  2. mimeopen
I am going to try mimeopen first and mimetype second, which seems like the roundabout way of doing things, but stay with me whilst I explain.

mimeopen --ask --database=/usr/share/mime yuck.doc


None of my three choices were correct - illustrates the problem nicely.

Now there is a search sequence for the mime information itself, and it is helpful to know whether the rogue setting, is in your personal user space or system wide.


There are two commands issued above (separated by a date just for easier reading).

What those two command together tell me is that it is not a personal (user) setting that is causing the issue.

( By specifying --database in the second command I ignore user specific database checking. )

None of this is actually fixing the issue, we are just diagnosing.


Just hacking around - not recommended :)

mv /usr/share/mime/packages/kde.xml /tmp/

and running mimetype and mimeopen showed no improvement :(

This is to be expected as you need to run update-mime-database to give your system a chance to react to the new situation.


The full command is as follows:

update-mime-database /usr/share/mime

and now mimeopen behaves as it should:


If you run a full KDE desktop then you are probably not going to be happy with losing kde.xml from /usr/share/mime/packages

However as an Xfce user, I probably do not care, and will just keep a copy lying around in case I really need it.

The comment in kde.xml reads...

As discussed on xdg list, *.doc is needed here for disambiguation

However I think if this 'catch all' is to work as intended, somebody needs to give a bit more though to magic / priority so that the correct program is opened in all situations.


Notes and Further reading:

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