Syntax error in /usr/bin/chromium-browser when xdg-settings get default-web-browser is empty

Bug #1853574 reported by Laurent Bonnaud on 2019-11-22
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
chromium-browser (Ubuntu)
Olivier Tilloy
Olivier Tilloy

Bug Description


Minor. Apparently under certain circumstances "xdg-settings get default-web-browser" can return an empty string (although I haven't been able to reproduce this myself), and this will make the /usr/bin/chromium-browser wrapper script spit out a console error (but it won't prevent it from running the browser).
This is trivial to fix by enclosing the call to "xdg-settings get default-web-browser" in double quotes, to cater for the empty result case (see

[Test Case]

1. Install chromium-browser
2. Patch /usr/bin/xdg-settings to make the get_browser_gnome3() function return an empty string (replace its body with 'echo ""')
3. From a terminal, run "chromium-browser"

Expected result: no error
Current result: /usr/bin/chromium-browser: 12: [: =: unexpected operator

[Regression Potential]

Low, enclosing a call to a command in double quotes in bash shouldn't have any undesirable side effect, and that's all that the patch does.

[Original Description]


here is the error:

$ chromium-browser
/usr/bin/chromium-browser: 12: [: =: unexpected operator

Here is line 12 in /usr/bin/chromium-browser:

if [ $(xdg-settings get default-web-browser) = "chromium-browser.desktop" ]; then

The error occurs because on my system the default-web-browser setting is unset:

$ xdg-settings get default-web-browser

I suggest putting double quotes around:

if [ "$(xdg-settings get default-web-browser)" = "chromium-browser.desktop" ]; then

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 19.10
Package: chromium-browser 77.0.3865.120-0ubuntu1.19.10.1
Uname: Linux 5.3.12-050312-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.11-0ubuntu8.3
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: KDE
 enabled: disabled
 dpms: Off
 status: disconnected
 enabled: disabled
 dpms: Off
 status: disconnected
 enabled: disabled
 dpms: Off
 status: disconnected
 enabled: enabled
 dpms: On
 status: connected
 modes: 1920x1080 1920x1080
Date: Fri Nov 22 10:27:14 2019
 Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
 /dev/mapper/MonVolume2-UbuntuRacine ext4 492G 235G 232G 51% /
 tmpfs tmpfs 7.8G 124M 7.7G 2% /dev/shm
 /dev/mapper/MonVolume2-UbuntuRacine ext4 492G 235G 232G 51% /
 Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
 Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0bda:58f6 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. Integrated_Webcam_HD
 Bus 001 Device 002: ID 046d:c03e Logitech, Inc. Premium Optical Wheel Mouse (M-BT58)
 Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
MachineType: Dell Inc. Latitude 5590
ProcKernelCmdLine: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-5.3.12-050312-generic root=/dev/mapper/MonVolume2-UbuntuRacine ro vsyscall=none security=apparmor intel_iommu=on quiet splash vt.handoff=7
Snap.ChromeDriverVersion: ChromeDriver 78.0.3904.108 (4b26898a39ee037623a72fcfb77279fce0e7d648-refs/branch-heads/3904@{#889})
 /bin/bash: warning: setlocale: LC_ALL: cannot change locale (en_US.UTF-8)
 Chromium 78.0.3904.108 snap
SourcePackage: chromium-browser
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install) 07/19/2019
dmi.bios.vendor: Dell Inc.
dmi.bios.version: 1.10.1 0VYDFF
dmi.board.vendor: Dell Inc.
dmi.board.version: A00
dmi.chassis.type: 10
dmi.chassis.vendor: Dell Inc.
dmi.modalias: dmi:bvnDellInc.:bvr1.10.1:bd07/19/2019:svnDellInc.:pnLatitude5590:pvr:rvnDellInc.:rn0VYDFF:rvrA00:cvnDellInc.:ct10:cvr: Latitude Latitude 5590
dmi.product.sku: 0817
dmi.sys.vendor: Dell Inc.

Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

I can reliably reproduce by modifying /usr/bin/xdg-settings to forcefully return an empty string for default-web-browser.

summary: - Syntax eror in /usr/bin/chromium-browser when xdg-settings get default-
+ Syntax error in /usr/bin/chromium-browser when xdg-settings get default-
web-browser is empty
Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Olivier Tilloy (osomon)
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed
Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :
Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Fix Committed
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package chromium-browser - 78.0.3904.108-0ubuntu1

chromium-browser (78.0.3904.108-0ubuntu1) focal; urgency=medium

  * New upstream release: 78.0.3904.108
  * chromium-browser: fix syntax error when xdg-settings returns an empty
    string for default-web-browser (LP: #1853574)

 -- Olivier Tilloy <email address hidden> Fri, 22 Nov 2019 16:30:05 +0100

Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released

Thank you for the quick fix!

Olivier Tilloy (osomon) on 2019-12-13
Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu Eoan):
status: New → In Progress
assignee: nobody → Olivier Tilloy (osomon)
importance: Undecided → Low
Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

As of today I haven't found a way to reproduce the problem without patching /usr/bin/xdg-settings. Even uninstalling all browsers, deleting the mimeinfo caches, rebooting the (virtual) machine, pretending to be other desktop environments, xdg-settings always reports that the default web browser is firefox.desktop. So importance is really very low, and I don't think this fix should be SRUed.

Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu Eoan):
status: In Progress → Won't Fix
Łukasz Zemczak (sil2100) wrote :

@Olivier, does this mean we should reject chromium-browser from the queue?

Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

@Łukasz, sorry, I meant to update this bug to make it SRU-ready, but I somehow forgot to. SRU-wise the real important bug that the upload in the eoan queue fixes is bug #1858500, but as the fix for this one was already committed to the bzr branch, is minor and can't hurt, I don't see a reason to exclude it. I'll SRUify that bug right away.

Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu Eoan):
status: Won't Fix → In Progress
Olivier Tilloy (osomon) on 2020-01-13
description: updated

Hello Laurent, or anyone else affected,

Accepted chromium-browser into eoan-proposed. The package will build now and be available at in a few hours, and then in the -proposed repository.

Please help us by testing this new package. See for documentation on how to enable and use -proposed. Your feedback will aid us getting this update out to other Ubuntu users.

If this package fixes the bug for you, please add a comment to this bug, mentioning the version of the package you tested and change the tag from verification-needed-eoan to verification-done-eoan. If it does not fix the bug for you, please add a comment stating that, and change the tag to verification-failed-eoan. In either case, without details of your testing we will not be able to proceed.

Further information regarding the verification process can be found at . Thank you in advance for helping!

N.B. The updated package will be released to -updates after the bug(s) fixed by this package have been verified and the package has been in -proposed for a minimum of 7 days.

Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu Eoan):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
tags: added: verification-needed verification-needed-eoan
Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

Verified. I followed the steps in the test case by installing chromium-browser in a clean eoan VM and verified that after patching get_browser_gnome3() in /usr/bin/xdg-settings I got the error message in the console. I then enabled eoan-proposed, installed the chromium-browser update (79.0.3945.79-0ubuntu0.19.10.2), and after that the error is gone when running chromium-browser.

tags: added: verification-done-eoan
removed: verification-needed-eoan

The problem is also fixed on my system.
Thanks everybody for the fix!

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package chromium-browser - 79.0.3945.79-0ubuntu0.19.10.2

chromium-browser (79.0.3945.79-0ubuntu0.19.10.2) eoan; urgency=medium

  * New release to fix the upgrade path from 19.04 to 19.10 (LP: #1858500)

chromium-browser (79.0.3945.79-0ubuntu0.19.10.1) eoan; urgency=medium

  * New upstream release: 79.0.3945.79
  * debian/apport/ add the output of
    "snap changes --abs-time chromium" to bugs reported by apport
  * chromium-browser: fix syntax error when xdg-settings returns an empty
    string for default-web-browser (LP: #1853574)

 -- Olivier Tilloy <email address hidden> Tue, 07 Jan 2020 15:47:31 +0100

Changed in chromium-browser (Ubuntu Eoan):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released

The verification of the Stable Release Update for chromium-browser has completed successfully and the package is now being released to -updates. Subsequently, the Ubuntu Stable Release Updates Team is being unsubscribed and will not receive messages about this bug report. In the event that you encounter a regression using the package from -updates please report a new bug using ubuntu-bug and tag the bug report regression-update so we can easily find any regressions.

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