For today’s Linux Hint: How to pick which browser will open when you pick a link while using apine in Ubuntu.

Sometimes there is a URL in an email that you want to visit. In a GUI email brower, you click on it with the mouse. In apine you navigate to the link with the usual navigation keys (but the first link will already be selected for you) and hit enter to open the link.

The default that alpine comes with, at least on my machine, seems to be the Epiphany browser I have no idea why. And when it goes there, it opens the browser and freezes the alpine screen, so I have to close the browser to go back to the email.

How quaint.

What I want it to do, of course is to open a tab in the most recently touched instance of Firefox, and not freeze the browser. This way I can navigate quickly through the links and open the ones I want to see as rapidly and efficiently as possible, each in a new tab.

To make this work, you need to do two things. First, navigate to the option for url-viewer in alpine. Second, enter the full path to the firefox browser. You can’t just enter “firefox” because … well, it won’t work for some reason that escapes me.

Navigate to the url-path by starting at the main menu, going to setup [S], then Configure [C], then ctrl-W to search and put in ‘url-v’ as the shortest string that will get you where you are going right away.

Then hit enter, and type in:

/usr/bin/firefox

Then reach over to your mouse and give it a little pet so it does not feel lonely, then hit enter and accept the value, Exit setup [E], confirm exit [Y] and go back to reading your email.

So, in short,

MSC ctrl-W url-v[ENTER]/usr/bin/firefox[ENTER]EY

(the MSCWE and Y need not be in upper case, it is just convention to show them that way)

Now, url’s will open in firefox, in the last used window, in a new tab.

Now, if you are more of a geek today than you were yesterday, you’d set your URL reader to lynx. If you do that, Lynx will open as a process in the same terminal window alpine is using (though this behavor can be altered by entering switches in the url-viewer option section, most likely) so you will need to quit [Q] lynx to get back to alpine. Try it, it’s a trip. Lynx is a bitch.

How, if tomorrow you find yourself waking up as even more of a geek than you did today, use a shell script using wget and some perl one liners to convert the url contents into a well behaved text file that you then process using sed.

Tame Teh Internet!

For more information about alpine click here.