Proposal: use /usr/bin/open as an alternative for run-mailcap and others.

Charles Plessy plessy at
Wed Oct 7 21:54:27 BST 2020

Hello everybody, hello Debian maintainers,

/bin/open has been kindly freed a couple years ago (#732796) and I would
like to propose to repurpose it as a standard command for opening files,
like on Mac OS and NextStep before it.

As I maintain the mime-support package (soon to be split in `mailcap`
and `media-types`, seee #964850), that provides the `run-mailcap`
command to open files, I propose to provide /usr/bin/open as a symbolic
link to it using the alternatives system.

While `run-mailcap` has mutiple command-line options, I would like to
define the "interface" of /usr/bin/open as having a single argument
only, which is a path to a file or a directory.  This would give the
opportunity for other packages such as xdg-utils to provide
/usr/bin/open if they wish so.

I welcome your comments; please CC me as I am not subscribed.

Have a nice day,


Charles Plessy
Akano, Uruma, Okinawa, Japan

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