thunderbird / opening links / ubuntu

thunderbird / opening links / ubuntu

  • Written by
    Walter Doekes
  • Published on

For some reason, opening links from Thunderbird stopped working. When clicking a URL, I expected Chromium to open the website, but nothing happened.

After visiting a few bug reports and the Thunderbird advanced configuration, I turned my attention to xdg-open:

$ xdg-open ''
ERROR: not connected to the gnome-3-38-2004 content interface.

Okay. So it wasn't a Thunderbird problem at all.

The culprit was that I had been doing some housekeeping in snap. (I could fill a rant about what I dislike about snap/snapcraft, by the way: silent automatic updates (you can only make it non-silent but still automatic), lots of squashfs mounts/directory entries when not used (why not mount on application startup?), recurring broken fonts, flaky GNOME integration, not enough revisions accessible to go back to a working version, and those are merely UX complaints. Trying to fix a broken snap is near impossible (first verify, but then what?), while with apt-get source + dpkg-buildpackage you can rebuild a modified package in minutes. And then I didn't even bring up the controversy of why there is only one snap store, on which I — for once — do not have a strong opinion.)</rant>

Fixing the opening of links was a matter of:

$ snap install gnome-3-38-2004
gnome-3-38-2004 0+git.1f9014a from Canonical✓ installed

And now opening links works again. I have no idea why I need an extra 260MiB just to be able open links. We can chalk it up to “another great advantage of snap”.

$ df -h | grep gnome
/dev/loop10  163M 163M 0 100% /snap/gnome-3-28-1804/145
/dev/loop32  165M 165M 0 100% /snap/gnome-3-28-1804/161
/dev/loop0   249M 249M 0 100% /snap/gnome-3-38-2004/99


Update 2022-08-27

The most prominent list of why Snapcraft/snap is One Giant Disappointment in 2022:

Apart from the actual bugs, they boil down to losing control on your own Linux system: losing control of building/rebuilding of packages; losing control of when/how to update; losing control over permissions through the extra sandboxing.

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