version 0.3 - 2009-08-13
== Introduction ==
Browser Selector is a Python script that allows you to choose what
browser you want to launch for each URL. It is intended to be used as
a default URL handler.
== Motivation ==
When I click on a link at some program, like instant messenger or
Google Earth, the URL will be opened in the desktop default browser.
I have several browsers installed on my system, but I don't want to
set one specific browser as the default, because I don't use only one.
Depending on the situation, I want to choose between one browser or
For instance, I use Opera as my primary browser and I've disabled
both Java and Flash. They are too slow and buggy, and they usually
make the browser crash. Thus, although I prefer to open most URLs in
Opera, some of them I prefer to open in Firefox. After all, if Firefox
crashes, I won't lose anything important, since my main browsing (with
lots of open tabs) happens in Opera.
However, sometimes I haven't started my browser yet, or I've just
closed it and don't want to start it again. In these cases, if I need
to open a URL, I prefer to choose a browser that would start up as
fast as possible. In these cases I prefer Links.
I've cited 3 different browsers so far, and, believe me, I do use all
Since I can't choose one browser to set as default, I need something
that allows me to choose which browser to run whenever a browser would
Thus, browser-selector was born!
== Features ==
* Small, simple, straight-forward.
* Everything you need in only one executable Python script.
* Python and PyGTK are the only required dependencies.
* Easy to setup, easy to use.
* Automatically generates a sample configuration file on first use.
* Remembers the previously selected browser for next time.
* Allows the user to edit the URL before calling the browser.
And also the following great non-features:
* No fancy GUI to edit the configuration file! You must use your own
* No buggy browser auto-detection! You must manually list all browsers
you want to use.
== Installation ==
1. Put the 'browser-selector' file somewhere in the $PATH.
I personally like to place it at my ~/bin directory, just remember
to add it to the $PATH (if needed).
2. Set the executable bit: chmod +x browser-selector
3. Configure your desktop to use 'browser-selector' as the default
browser. (see how_to_set_the_default_browser.txt)
4. When running for the first time, it will write (after user
confirmation) a sample configuration file at
Just edit this file to suit your needs.
== Usage ==
The only accepted parameter is the URL itself.
There are no extra command-line parameters.
Running without parameters will open the info dialog.
== Configuration file ==
The configuration file is stored by default at:
It is a simple XML file that is easy to edit in a text editor. It is
also pretty self-explanatory, so I won't describe it completely here.
Anyway, here are a few notes about conf.xml:
* If "cmd" contains the substring "%s" (without quotes), then that
substring will be replaced by the URL itself.
* If "cmd" does not contain "%s", then the URL will be appended as the
last parameter to the command.
* The URL will be directly passed as a parameter to the command, so
you don't need to worry about shell expansion or quotes.
* The "icon" attribute is optional.
* No path completion is done, so you need to write the full absolute
path to the image file.
* If the image pointed by "icon" is not found, or if this attribute is
missing, then no image will be loaded and no icon will be displayed.
* If the image pointed by "icon" is found but can't be loaded, then
GTK+ will display a "broken image" icon.
* The "save_last_selection" option will prevent this program from
writing the "<confdir>/last_selected" file, but it always reads from
that file if it exists.
== Credits ==
Denilson Figueiredo de Sá <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dalton Matos Coelho Barreto <email@example.com>
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