Set Gmail as Default Mail Client in Ubuntu

By Lowell Heddings on May 10th, 2007

Every Geek uses Gmail… it’s pretty much required. And now you can set Gmail as the default client in Ubuntu without any extra software. (Windows requires the Gmail notifier be installed)

Just go to System \ Preferences \ Preferred Applications

 

Under Mail Reader, select Custom, and then put this into the Command window, changing “geek” to your username.

/home/geek/open_mailto.sh %s

Next, you’ll need to save this shell script into your user directory ( /home/username ). [Download]

For the curious, here’s the contents of the script:

#!/bin/sh

firefox https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=`echo $1 | sed ‘s/mailto://’`

If you’d like to make the script open a new tab in an existing Firefox window, you can replace the firefox line in the script with the following:

firefox -remote “openurl(https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=`echo $1 | sed ‘s/mailto://’`,new-tab)”

Update: If you want to make the script file hidden by default, you can rename it with a . at the beginning of the file like this: .open_mailto.sh. You’ll have to change the path in the preferences, of course.

Open a terminal and type in the following command, to make the script executable:

chmod u+x ~/open_mailto.sh

Now it should be working.

To test it out… I clicked the contact link on my page… and it immediately opened in Gmail. 

Note that if you aren’t logged into Gmail you’ll be prompted to login to gmail… and you’ll have to click the email link again. Seems like Gmail’s login redirector won’t open the send mail page. But then again… why aren’t you logged into Gmail?

Update: Changed to point to a script so that the mailto: tag would be removed. Thanks VERY much to Mr Linux for not just noticing, but giving me the working script.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/10/07
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