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Bug#172436: debian-policy: [PROPOSAL] web browser url viewing

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> writes:

> Package: debian-policy
> Version:
> Severity: normal
> As discussed earlier on this list, and now implemented by lots of stuff
> in Debian[2] and with only a few to go[3], I'm proposing that the
> following be added to policy around section 12.4:
>   Web browsers
>   ------------
>   Some programs have the ability to launch a web browser to display an URL.
>   Since there are lots of different web browsers available in the Debian
>   distribution, the system administrator and each user should have the
>   possibility to choose a preferred web browser.
>   In addition, programs should choose a good default web browser if none
>   is selected by the user or system administrator.
>   Thus, every program that launches a web browser with an URL must use the
>   BROWSER environment variable to determine what browser the user wishes
>   to use.
>   The value of BROWSER may consist of a colon-separated series of browser
>   command parts. These should be tried in order until one succeeds. Each command
>   part may optionally contain the string "%s"; if it does, the URL to be viewed
>   is substituted there. If a command part does not contain %s, the browser is to
>   be launched as if the URL had been supplied as its first argument. The string
>   %% must be substituted as a single %
>   <footnote>
>   This browser variable was proposed by Eric Raymond at
>   http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/BROWSER/
>   </footnote>
>   If the BROWSER environment variable is not set, the program should use
>   /usr/bin/x-www-browser if there is an available X Window System DISPLAY,
>   and /usr/bin/www-browser if not. These two files are managed through the dpkg
>   alternatives mechanism. Thus every package providing a general-purpose 
>   web browser must call the update-alternatives program to register
>   the appopriate one of these alternatives.
>   If it is very hard to adapt a program to make use of the BROWSER variable,
>   that program may be configured to use /usr/bin/sensible-www-browser
>   instead. This is a program provided by the Debian base system that checks
>   the BROWSER environment variable, and falls back to /usr/bin/x-www-browser
>   or /usr/bin/www-browser if it is not set.



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