Launcher 0.86 - a one-stop filehandler for Un*x
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Description and Purpose
I got tired of configuring half a dozen separate filetype/handler
systems for individual applications and wrote the Launcher to
centralize type/handler managment across all my applications. Since
the Launcher is a command-line program (with a separate GUI process)
it can used as a drop-in replacement for every type/handler pairing in
most applications. Launcher is an attempt at an all-in-one file
handling solution for use with any software that uses file type to
file handler mappings. This utility is the one point of configuration
for programs like netscape, the dfm filemanager, tkArchive, tkmail, or
any other software that uses filetype/handler pairs. Features include
multiple type-discovery methods, apache mime.types parsing for
extension mapping, and GUI-based disambiguation. Launcher uses it's
own type-to-handler mapping file which is much more flexible than
metamail's .mailcap. Unfortunatly the two are not compatible.
- (1/26/00) 0.86 posted - a small number of tweaks, including
changing to /etc/mime-magic from /etc/magic.mime to match RedHat-6.1
(and include their file by default).
- (6/6/99) 0.85 posted - the configuration GUI is fully
functional, but still has a couple rough edges. A couple small bug
fixes and a --version commandline switch. IF YOU ARE UPGRADING from
a previous version of the launcher, please make a backup of your
current .launcher.map file for safety. Name it something *other* than
- (5/31/99) 0.85b1 posted - a couple bug fixes to the Launcher
itself. Most of the launcher.map file configurator GUI is written.
Check it out and lemme know what you think. It can't actually write
changes yet so you can't mess anything up too badly. And some usability
and file-based error checking is still missing.
- (4/9/99) posted fixed emacsw wrapper script that uses
the hostname variable properlly.
- (4/9/99) 0.80 posted - changes as of 0.80pre1 plus
manpage updates and included "emacsw" wrapper to emacs and emacsclient
for use with the launcher. More mundane keybindings in the GUI.
- (4/8/99) 0.80pre1 posted - --compressed option and
some default mapfile additions which may be useful. One file
command handling bugfix.
- (3/24/99) 0.72 posted - refixed problem with netscape
not liking quotes in it's filenames. Nasty non-general fix,
but it works. And I wrote my first manpage!
- (3/10/99) NOTE: The Launcher is on the fast
track to a 1.0 release. Please give it a pounding and then give
me feedback (no poundings, please). It has been stable for
months and a "1.0" would make me all warm and fuzzy
- (3/10/99) 0.70 posted - added --showtypes option to
display file/type pairs and exit. Also squashed an undiscovered
bug which messed up typing executable but unreadable files.
- (2/15/99) 0.62 posted - added --default option to
surpress user queries, fixed passing Netscape a quoted URL
(really a Netscape oops, I think)
- (2/5/99) 0.60 (final) posted - added --type option to
force the mimetype for all files on the commandline, fixed
embedded space handling again (hopefully for good), added
typeahead to the GUI listbox
- (2/2/99) 0.60b1 posted. Read the README for more info.
- (1/19/99) 0.53 release - stupid testing conditions
not reset to defaults before 0.52 snapshot now fixed. One actual
bug/unimplemented trap fixed.
- (1/18/99) 0.52 release - filenames with embedded
spaces handled properly, Makefile added, other small tweaks
- (1/14/99) 0.51 release - 95% rewrite of home version
for additional features and first announced release after 6
months of continuous personal use and consideration of the first
- Handles files, directories, URLS's, and executables
- Makes use of well-known files/formats by parsing
Apache's mime.types file and
making use of the Un*x file utility along with Apache's magic number
- Uses MIME types for mapping files to handlers
- Allows multiple handler definitions per type and provides
- GUI only lists handlers defined for the given file type or lists
all defined handlers if the type is unknown
- Runs synchronously or asynchronously
- Launches handlers by file or by type
- Allows multiple files to be handled by the same handler
invocation i.e. no more launching one copy of xv for each
- Includes modified copies of Apache's mime.types and magic files
- Written in 100% basic tcl/tk - should be extremely portable
The Launcher is compatible with any application that uses a commandline
to exec filehandlers. The Launcher is in use by the author with or has been
demonstrated to work with the following applications/systems.
There is no reason the Launcher can't be used by any program
requring a simple command-line filehandler:
- Tcl/Tk 8.0 or
newer. Everything else is negotiable.
- You'll need to be running X if you want the disambiguation GUI to work.
If there's any call for it (please tell me!) I'll see about writing
a terminal based application chooser
I use Launcher every day on my home machine. As I find annoying bugs or
features I miss I'll add them in. Please let me know if there's anything
you'd like to see the Launcher do.
- Tested under Linux and Solaris at this point. The Solaris
file command sometimes behaves strangely with the Apache magic.mime
- semi-generic typing not handled yet. i.e. "image/*"
- Write a GUI configuration tool for the handler file
Please contact the author, Ethan Gold
<etgold at thaumaturgy dot net>, with bug reports, suggestions, success stories, etc.
last updated 1/26/00