Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Launch Default Web Browser from Terminal

Ubuntu 5

In the world of Linux, the terminal is an essential tool for users. It allows you to perform tasks quickly and efficiently. One such task is launching your default web browser directly from the terminal. This article will guide you through several methods of achieving this.

Quick Answer

To launch the default web browser from the terminal, you can use the xdg-open command followed by the URL you want to open. Alternatively, you can use the sensible-browser, x-www-browser, or gnome-open commands, depending on your Linux distribution and desktop environment. Modifying the sensible-browser script is also an option, but it is not recommended.

Method 1: Using xdg-open command

The xdg-open command is a tool that opens a file or URL in the user’s preferred application. In this case, we will use it to open a URL in the default web browser.

xdg-open <URL>

Replace <URL> with the web address you want to open. For instance, to open Google, you would use:

xdg-open https://www.google.com

The xdg-open command supports file, ftp, http, and https URLs.

Method 2: Using sensible-browser

The sensible-browser command is part of the sensible-utils package. It opens the default web browser but may only work properly on Debian or if the BROWSER environment variable is set.

sensible-browser

Method 3: Using x-www-browser

The x-www-browser command opens a URL in the default web browser. However, it may not always respect the user’s preference for the default browser.

x-www-browser <URL>

Replace <URL> with the web address you want to open.

Method 4: Using gnome-open

The gnome-open command opens a URL in the default web browser. However, it is dependent on the GNOME desktop environment and may not be installed by default in recent versions of Ubuntu.

gnome-open <URL>

Replace <URL> with the web address you want to open.

Modifying sensible-browser script

If none of the above methods work for you, you can modify the sensible-browser script to always launch the user-specified default web browser. However, editing system files like /usr/bin/sensible-browser is not recommended as the changes may be overwritten during system upgrades.

Conclusion

Launching your default web browser from the terminal can be a quick and efficient way to navigate the web. However, the availability and behavior of these commands may vary depending on the Linux distribution and desktop environment. Always ensure to check the documentation of your specific distribution for the most accurate information.

Remember, the terminal is a powerful tool. Understanding how to use it can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency when working with Linux.

Can I launch a specific web browser instead of the default one?

Yes, you can specify a particular browser by using the command xdg-open followed by the browser’s executable name and the URL. For example, to open a URL in Firefox, you can use xdg-open firefox <URL>.

How can I set a different default web browser?

The process for setting a default web browser depends on your Linux distribution and desktop environment. In most cases, you can find the option to set the default browser in the system settings or preferences. Look for "Default Applications" or "Preferred Applications" and select your desired browser from the list.

Can I use these methods to open local HTML files?

Yes, you can use the xdg-open command along with the file path to open local HTML files in the default web browser. For example, xdg-open /path/to/file.html will open the HTML file in the default browser.

Is it possible to open multiple URLs at once?

Yes, you can open multiple URLs simultaneously by separating them with spaces when using the xdg-open command. For example, xdg-open https://www.google.com https://www.example.com will open both websites in separate tabs or windows of the default browser.

What should I do if none of these methods work for my Linux distribution?

If none of the provided methods work for your distribution, you can try searching for specific commands or options related to your desktop environment or browser. Additionally, you can consult the documentation or community forums for your specific distribution to find alternative solutions.

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