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Ubuntu 10.10 - Resolving AptURL "Open With" Error

Updated on June 26, 2011

Awaiting 10/10/10, the release date of Ubuntu 10.10 Final.

This article probably applies to Ubuntu versions 9.04, 9.10, and 10.04 more than any other versions. If you are still using these versions, consider upgrading to Ubuntu 10.10, which is supposed to have resolved this error.

If anyone is still getting this error even with a fresh new install of Ubuntu 10.10 (Beta, etc), please feedback in the comments section below. Thanks!


*For Firefox 2 and 3

So often you are prompted to install some software in your Firefox browser; but when you clicked on the "Apt:somepackage" link in Firefox 2/3, nothing happens and you see an "Open With" window along with a cryptic "This link needs to be opened with an application" message and "apturl" mentioned in it.
What happened? Is there an apturl handler application to open apturl link? What's apturl? And what's broken here?

One of the latest mysteries of the Ubuntu world - why can't this apt url thing just work out of the box? How hard is it for developers to tailor-make a script for one of the top browsers around?

What is AptURL supposed to be?
The apturl, using the APT protocol, is a supposed to be an easy peasy way to install a software package from a web browser.
As an example, clicking on the link "apt:somepackage", the protocol will launch the package manager to start the installation of "somepackage" from the packages available on your computer.
If only this thing works as mentioned on the box. :(


Installing the AptURL package:
(Only if it is not already installed in your system; it is usually installed by default, just not properly configured):

Installing from Synaptic Package Manager:
Go to Synaptic Package Manager (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager) and search for “apturl”.
Check it, right click and "Mark For Installation", and then click on “Apply Changes”.

Installing from Terminal:

Open a terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install apturl

The AptURL "Open With" Error displaying the "This link needs to be opened with an application" message. What you will see when you click on the "Apt:somepackage" link.
The AptURL "Open With" Error displaying the "This link needs to be opened with an application" message. What you will see when you click on the "Apt:somepackage" link.
When it's finally resolved, you will see this window after clicking on the APT protocol.
When it's finally resolved, you will see this window after clicking on the APT protocol.

The missing configuration steps:
In Firefox 3 :

Enter "about:config" in the URL address bar, at the top of your browser; and then right click the page to add:
"network.protocol-handler.app.apt" as "New > String" with "/usr/bin/apturl" as value,
"network.protocol-handler.app.apt+http" as "New > String" with "/usr/bin/apturl" as value,
"network.protocol-handler.warn-external.apt" as Boolean value and put "true" as value,
"network.protocol-handler.warn-external.apt+http" as Boolean value and put "true" as value.
Close and restart Firefox.

In Firefox 2/Swiftfox:
Enter "about:config" in the URL address bar, at the top of your browser; and then right click the page to add:
"network.protocol-handler.app.apt" as "New > String" with "/usr/bin/apturl" as value,
"network.protocol-handler.app.apt+http" as "New > String" with "/usr/bin/apturl" as value,
"network.protocol-handler.warn-external.apt" as Boolean value and put "false" as value,
"network.protocol-handler.warn-external.apt+http" as Boolean value and put "false" as value.
Close and restart Firefox 2.

To confirm that it is finally working:
Click on whatever "apt:somepackage" protocol that you were at
OR copy "apt://mplayer" to the URL address bar at the top of your browser and hit "ENTER".
When the "Launch Application" window comes up, click "Choose" and browse to "File System", then the "/usr/bin" directory, finally select the "apturl" file.
Enable "Remember my choice" and validate.

Apturl Firefox Configuration

Apturl Firefox configuration
Apturl Firefox configuration
When apturl handler is not installed, you will get this message
When apturl handler is not installed, you will get this message

Please comment in the comments section if you have more to say about this

Do you get this error even with the latest installation of Ubuntu?

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    • profile image

      Joe C 

      6 years ago

      Worked great!!! thanks

    • profile image

      EsteBandido2010 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for helpme to solve the problem with thunderbird 3.1.8.2 in kubuntu 10.10. maverick. only some links were open and appears me the 'this link needs to be oppening with ...' the command sudo apt-get install apturl solved my problem. Thank you again. :)

    • Dense profile imageAUTHOR

      Dense 

      7 years ago from somewhere in a concrete jungle, hugging a green plastic tree, and wondering what happened

      Recheck your steps, you might have got the fields mixed up. -_-

    • profile image

      Ossi 

      7 years ago

      I have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Firefox 3.6.13 and I can't enter a boolean named network.protocol-handler.warn-external.apt+http. I could enter the rest of them correctly but when I name the boolean that, next it asks for a value of the string and doesn't give the choice between true or false as in the other boolean value in the instructions.

    • profile image

      jltnol 

      7 years ago

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

      I'm a ubuntu noob, I'm afraid.. it all a bit bewildering, but your instructions were written in a manner that even an idiot like me can follow.

      I'm not dumb, I just don't come to the table with the tools that everyone else does.

      You list of things to do make it quite easy!

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