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bug#18132: Time for a smarter dired-guess-shell-alist-default? (dired-x.

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: bug#18132: Time for a smarter dired-guess-shell-alist-default? (dired-x.el)
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:26:07 +0100

These days, there are mature programs for launching an arbitrary file with an appropriate viewer: run-mailcap (which is mature to the point of obsolescence) and xdg-open on GNU systems; open on Mac OS X; start on MS Windows).

xdg-open already works reasonably well: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/help-gnu-emacs/2012-01/msg00143.html

(I have a fix for the "multiple files" problem, which I'll be sending to xdg-utils upstream when I can.)

Hence it would seem sensible to have a new default for dired-guess-shell-alist-default, which matches any file and returns the appropriate command for the OS, probably doing some testing to see which commands are available on a GNU system ("xdg-open", "gvfs-open", "see"…).

The user then only needs to understand and configure one command-launching system, and the coverage of different filetypes is much more comprehensive in most such systems than in dired-x.el.

An advantage to Emacs is that this system could then be used elsewhere. For example, org-mode already has a similar, separate system, org-file-apps, which might benefit from building on dired-x, and only retaining its own configuration where it's desirable to open a file "internally" to org-mode.

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