Re: your posting Switchboard "use of URLs" (link follows this comment)

I am concerned that Switchboard's "open/extendible" approach could be or become Elementary's 'Achilles heal'.

How can the URL system mitigate the threat posed by malicious code injection / exploits?

These "unchartered waters" may represent a deal breaker for people considering adopting or remaining with Elementary OS.

For me, the Pantheon desktop interface is Elementary's killer feature. Please don't kill it - for the sake of a "nice to have" feature.

Wishing you and your team all the best for 2017


1 Answer 1


I have a strong feeling that this question comes from confusion about what the URL scheme is.

The Preferences URL specification is only a way to open settings applications to the correct location. It is not a way to transmit any kind of data.

Settings URLs look like this:

✔️ settings://applications/startup

This URL will only open the settings application to the correct location for the user to take further action.

Never like this:


The spec does not intend to describe a way to handle data and you're right that doing so would probably not be a good idea.

TL;DR Settings URLs only open the settings app. They do not transmit data. They cannot change settings. They do not interact with any settings backends like gsettings or keyfiles.

  • I really appreciated your response Daniel. Are you sure that despite the intention that the methodology being employed can not be targeted by a hostile trojan and the URL redirected - I have seen similar effects intercept windows registry.
    – annonymous
    Dec 13, 2016 at 20:15
  • Does giving the user this control necessitate extending them (perhaps momentarily) system or superuser level privileges?
    – annonymous
    Dec 13, 2016 at 20:26
  • @annonymous No, opening a URL does not require any sort of escalated privileges. It does not transmit any kind of data or perform any actions. It cannot be used to install software. It does not communicate with any settings backends like gsettings or keyfiles Dec 13, 2016 at 22:33
  • Glad to here that it is technically imposible.
    – annonymous
    Dec 14, 2016 at 0:12
  • 1
    Keep up the great work.
    – annonymous
    Dec 14, 2016 at 0:19

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