Sunday, July 20, 2014

Change the default search engine in Epiphany, the GNOME Web application

When I'm enjoying the sun/wind/rain on the balcony, I tend to use my XO-1.75 for duties where most people would use a tablet. Reading/writing emails, browsing the internet, bug triaging or writing small fixes, release notes and all can be done fine on a small screen. My preference goes definitely towards physical keyboards, and less to their onscreen variants. Even when the keyboard is small, I like the typing on it much more than using a touchscreen for it. Of course, the space saving of not needing to display a keyboard helps too. But well, that aside...


My XO is is installed with the stock OLPC distribution, based on Fedora. Sometimes I use the Sugar desktop environment, on other days I'll switch to GNOME (Classic). With GNOME comes the Epiphany browser (recently renamed to Web). Unfortunately Epiphany uses Google as default search engine, and there is no option in the settings menu to change that. After a little DuckDuckGo'ing, I found a hint that the keyword-search-url can get set by gsettings:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.Epiphany keyword-search-url

Using the gsettings command works fine, but does not apply the option for all users on the system. I could not find a command to change the system-wide settings, which would help with automatically setting the option after a reinstall. More searching (now directly from the addressbar) suggested that I could use a special .gschema.override file. Indeed, the installation of the XO already has some of these .gschema.override files under /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/. Dropping the following file in the directory:

# filename: /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/50_use-duckduckgo.gschema.override
#
# use https://duckduckgo.com instead of Google for searches from the addressbar
#

[org.gnome.Epiphany]
keyword-search-url='https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s'

After creating the file, it is needed to 'compile' the gschemas:

# glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas

Happy searching!

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