Fixing your preferred browser on (L)Ubuntu systems

I use Lubuntu on my trusty netbook, it’s become a nicely polished OS over the last few versions however it still has a few rough edges. One of which is defining a preferred browser.

The default browser on Lubuntu is Chromium, the unbranded version of Google Chrome. While it’s nice I’m still a hardened Firefox user and so I keep Chromium installed but I don’t use it unless diagnosing a browser-specific issue.

I have Firefox selected in “Preferences > Preferred Applications” as my default browser, however hyper-links in emails were still insisting on opening up in Chromium, which takes time as it’s rarely pre-loaded when I’m using the computer.

To fix this I ran this command in a terminal:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser

This provides some options for a preferred browser, I had two for Chromium and a third for Firefox, I entered the number for Firefox and from then on, no more closing unwanted browsers!

Installing SpiderOak client on a headless 64bit Ubuntu server

SpiderOak is a fine example of secure cloud backup done right, I’ve been a happy paying customer for 3 years and run their client on all my computers but when I came to install it on a new headless server however I ran into problems. For the uninitiated, “headless” means there is no screen, I’m connected via a terminal which cannot handle graphics. Normally the SpiderOak client is a graphical application but it will also run from a terminal, which is a bit of a nasty bodge but at least it works!

When I first installed the Debian package using dpkg, then ran the application for the first time I got this error:

ImportError: libkrb5.so.3: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

This should be simple enough to resolve installing libkrb.5-3 from the Ubuntu repositories, but it’s not that simple because although SpiderOak supplies both 32bit and 64bit packages, the software in both packages is 32bit, so you need to install the 32bit version of libkrb5-3, like this:

sudo apt-get install libkrb5-3:i386

Once complete you can continue the SpiderOak setup. Be warned though, running the application without the –setup parameter however will error due to other missing libs, but these are only necessary for running the GUI version of the application.

GTK theming QT apps

It’s becoming more common to run a mixture of apps using the QT toolkit (as seen in the KDE desktop) and the GTK toolkit (as seen in GNOME desktop). When using a GTK-based desktop, QT apps may appear out of place by not following the GTK theme settings, this can be fixed using ‘qtconfig’ as follows:

From a console run:

qtconfig qt4

From the graphical menu pull down the “Select GUI style” option and select “GTK+”. Click ‘file’ then ‘save’ and any running QT apps should instantly re-theme and look a lot better!

If ‘qtconfig’ is not installed, it can be installed on apt-based systems by entering:

sudo apt-get install qt4-qtconfig