Ignite Realtime Spark IM Can’t Open Web Links in Linux

In the latest version of the Java based Jabber/XMPP Instant Messaging client Spark by Ignite Realtime / Jive Software (Spark 2.5.8) there is a “bug” that keeps Spark from being able to open hyperlinks properly. According to AGomez in the Spark discussion group the client is hardcoded to point to Netscape which is, of course, a deprecated and minimally used web browser highly unlikely to be found on any modern computer. While this is annoying and keeps Spark from working out of the box with most Linux desktops it is not insurmountable. Since Ignite Realtime has stated that they do not expect to be releasing a new version of the Spark client on Java due to their work on a different platform for IM clients we will need to work around this issue until the community decides to pick up the Spark code and release a new version on their own. At the very least a hard-coded browser should be Firefox is browser detection is not going to be used.

To fix this issue you can simple run one of the following commands as the root user and, in my experience, Spark will be able to open the hyperlink just fine. I have tested this on OpenSUSE 10.3.

For Firefox: ln -s `which firefox` /usr/bin/netscape

For Konqueror: ln -s `which konqueror` /usr/bin/netscape

Join the Conversation


  1. Does SuSE use /etc/alternatives? I’ve seen “hard-coded” browser settings before, and what you’ll find is that it’s using /etc/alternatives/x-www-browser, which may be a link to konqueror. In that example, it sorta looks like you’re overwriting your konqueror binary.

  2. It would only be overwriting if Netscape was a browser that people had installed. As this product has been off the market for quite some time now it is unlikely to be in /usr/bin. If it was in /usr/bin then this fix would not be necessary since the hard coding in Spark launches whatever browser is at that location.

    SUSE does use /etc/alternatives but Spark does not honor that custom.

Leave a comment