File Types and Programs

I'm considering whether to use OS-based or Options-dialog based app customization for my Firefox extension. The question i have is: what would be the programmatic way to open a file using default app, w/o reading the defaults.list files? Would this kind of linking make the extension GNOME-version-dependent? Also, do i understand correctly that the extension wouldn't even load if GNOME isn't installed, and my extension uses this API?

P.S. Also, a KDE question: the defaults.list files used for gnome don't appear to affect KDE. Would you guys know which config files they use? P.P.S. This preferences app appears to be no longer available. It appears the new way to do this is to use Properties->Open With. I'm not sure if this is more convenient than one app, but it might be a bit more secure.


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