Irssi w3m ssh openurl

Running irssi in a tmux session on a remote server I had the problem to open urls in GUI browser. Using lets me easily open urls from within irssi in w3m. As irssi is running on a remote server with out X this seemed quite reasonable, but sometimes you just need a more modern approach – JavaScript, Video etc pp.

Searching for a solution I found this tutorial how to setup openurl to write to a FIFO and to read from it with a shell script.

As I liked opening the URL first in w3m and hence w3m has a command to open the current url in an external browser with ‘M’ I decided to modify above solution to have w3m write to the FIFO.

First create the FIFO on the remote machine:

$ mkfifo ~/.w3m/url-pipe

Then open w3m on the remote machine, press ‘o’ and then go to the first link [External Viewer Setup], scroll down to find the ‘External Program Settings’ section.

Clear all external browser settings and configure the first option to use

echo '%s' > ~/.w3m/url-pipe

Navigate to the next ‘[OK]’ and press enter to save your changes.

Create a shell script, I called it


ssh -n $HOSTNAME "tail -f ~/.w3m/url-pipe" | while read url; do
    sensible-browser "$url"&
    done > /tmp/garbish

Replace $HOSTNAME with the actual hostname of your server.

Create some autostart thingy for it or make sure it is running when you need it.

Hint: Inside irssi use

/set openurl_app_http tmux split-window w3m "$1"

to open w3m in a split pane.