Until today, every time I’ve clicked a mailto link in Firefox, the clunky old Evolution email program has started churning, and I’ve smacked myself on the forehead and cursed as I waited for that behemoth of an application to load. You see, I use the lightweight Thunderbird, which loads in an instant and is as flexible and powerful as I need it to be. So I wait for Evolution to finish loading a compose window, close that down, copy the mailto link into a Thunderbird composition window, and write my email. It’s a pain every time.
One of the RSS feeds I keep an eye on is Linux Journal’s, and an article entitled “Ten Mysteries of about:config” caught my eye there today. It’s a decent little article by Nigel McFarlane, author of Firefox Hacks, which I just received in the mail this week and which looks promising. One of the mysteries Nigel explains is how to set a default mail client in Firefox on Linux (it’s easy enough in Windows because it’s governed at the system level). It takes only three steps:
- Open about:config in your browser.
- Set the preference named “network.protocol-handler.external.mailto” to true; if it doesn’t exist, create it and set it to true.
- Create a preference named “network.protocol-handler.app.mailto” and set it to the path to Thunderbird. In my case, this is /usr/local/thunderbird/thunderbird.
That’s all there is to it. When I did this and clicked a mailto link, a Thunderbird composition window shot to the foreground and I was in business.