Long ago, on a laptop far, far away the web browser and application choices were simple. That was a long time ago and things are just different in the current age of the computer. Having multiple browsers, and work flows for various work loads on your computer can make opening links somewhat more complicated. The best way I have found to address this is by installing a traffic coordinator for opening links on my system.
Bottom Line Up Front: This has made directing links I open to the destination of my choosing. When I open something from my personal email, I can direct it to Firefox but if it happens to be work related, I can direct it to Edge. If it happens to be any one of the other 10 functions that requires a specific Chromium profile there is a bit of a challenge there which I’ll get into later.
Very simply, I installed the Junction Flatpak on my computer. Why you may ask? It just made sense to me for this particular application. There is package in one of the openSUSE Repos but not one I had already added to my system so it seemed like the best option for me was to take advantage of the Fltahub resource.
That is all there is to it there. Super simple and barely an inconvenience, that is, unless you don’t have Flatpak installed and the Flathub repository added. You can follow the guide on flathub.org for your particular distribution. In most cases, you can download and install the from the convenient installer file.
If you have Flathub already configured for your application manager, like Discover, than you can elect to just install it from there.
Setup in KDE Plasma
I am not currently using any other Desktop Environments but I am pretty confident that there is a place to select default applications of your choosing. Plasma System Settings have a spot for the default application selection with a convenient drop down that presents the available options. The only function I have decided I need to employ Junction is for the web browser.
With Junction as the “Default Browser”, whenever I call up a link that would open a browser, instead of automatically going to my preferred Firefox default, I can choose between the browsers I have installed.
You may ask why and in what situation is this something I need to do this? I can explain which will actually link into another series of articles as to how I intermingle my various activities between personal, Tux Digital, and my new career as an IT Manager. Whether or not it is a good idea to intermingle these things is another debate for another time but for me it is about efficiency of operation.
If I am to use computers, I want them to work for me, not the other way around.
Very simply, I can select what browser I want my link to open up into. If it is something, say personal or “CubicleNate” related, I will open it up in Firefox. If it is something relating to my work as an IT Manger, I will use Edge. If it is relating directly to Linux Saloon, or something that requires a specific Chromium profile, I use the Chromium option.
The one issue that I do have is, I have multiple Chromium profiles and I am unable to select which profile to send it off to. This is an inherent problem with Chromium itself. They do not make it easy to select which profile to have the link open into but from what I can tell, the last profile you used will be the profile it opens up into. That is a reasonable arrangement but not what I would prefer.
This capability is especially useful for me when I am working in Microsoft Outlook and open up a link. I don’t want to open that in Firefox, Chromium or Konqueror, I specifically want that traffic to go to Edge which is logged into my work Microsoft account.
This nicely allows me to have a workspace dedicated to all things work related and keep things nicely segregated. I can work in Outlook and open those links where they belong, in Edge. It also allows me to open up Teams Meeting links in Edge as well where I have elected to use Teams.
What I like
The ease of installation and setup of Junction in Plasma is incredibly simple to accomplish. Installing the Flatpak of Junction is as easy as some clicks in Discover or downloading the installer from Flathub which will do all the work for you in setting up the Flathub Repo for you.
You are provided some default browser options but the little ellipsis next to the list of browsers will open it up to anything you choose. So, if the default options are not satisfactory that can be augmented.
The window just looks nice. This application didn’t require me to fiddle with it to make it of a dark theme. Sure, it doesn’t match 100% but it does look like it fits. I also like that it has big buttons. I like big buttons and my eyes are becoming increasingly grageful for the large buttons.
What I Don’t Like
This particular GTK application is so simple it doesn’t stand out badly, but you can tell that it is not a native KDE Plasma application. This is not a big deal but I do notice it. It won’t stop me from using Junction, just a mild annoyance.
There isn’t an automatic way to select a specific Chromium profile, at least, not one that is obviously presented. This is a problem at those times when I have multiple Chromium profiles open that are actively being used. Perhaps the smarter thing would be to add other browsers or use Firefox profiles instead as those are much easier to call up.
As the tasks we ask our computers continue to get more complex, we will have to find new solutions to be able to accommodate such complexities. Junction is one, very simple and extremely effective way to handle the need of segregating out specific web-based work loads. This has been incredibly useful and a significant productivity booster for me in my daily digital life. I greatly appreciate this simple yet incredibly handy wedge in managing my hyperlink destinations.