Well, actually how could I be sure? the halting problem is one of the more practically significant theorems that I'm aware of. Anyway, I clicked several times, with no response, I middle-clicked, to open the link in a different tab, and still nothing happened. It worked a few days ago. What gives?
Maybe it's a problem with the Acrobat Reader Iceweasel plugin? I opened about:plugins but the plugin seemed to be installed correctly. I reinstalled it anyway:
aptitude reinstall mozilla-acroreadNo go. No surprise.
What next? - I usually launch Iceweasel with a shortcut key, so I tried launching it from a terminal window, in the hope that some diagnostic message would show up there. Nah. Get real. Why should I be so lucky?
I clicked again on the link and I suddenly noticed that the downloads statusbar appeared - I was wrong, something does happen when I click on a link to a PDF file: it gets downloaded automatically to some directory. This was weird on two accounts: first off it was downloaded instead of opened by the Acrobat Reader plugin; the other problem was that it was downloaded automatically to some directory even though I've set an option in the download preferences to make Iceweasel always ask me for a target directory.
Maybe it's a problem with the downloads statusbar add-on? I disabled it:
- select menu Tools -> Add-ons
- select the Extensions tab
- find the add-on to disable and press the Disable button
- quit and run Iceweasel again
So maybe it's a problem with file types? let's check:
- select menu item Edit -> Preferences
- select the Content tab
- click the button "Manage..." in the File Types section
- verify that an action is registered for the PDF file type
I tried opening the same link in a different tab using the context menu (right-click) and, surprisingly enough, it worked. I tried opening the link from the history panel (Ctrl-H), and again, it worked!
So it wasn't a file type problem after all. But what was it?
I decided to check where the PDF was downloaded to, and was surprised to find it in ~/iMacros/Downloads. Aha!
I installed the iMacros add-on several days ago because I use keyboard macros in emacs a lot and browser automation via macros sounded like a good idea at the time. I tried it once, was impressed by its potential, but realized that I didn't really need browser automation. I'm fickle minded. Sue me. I decided to leave it installed just in case, and then forgot all about it. It just so happens that this version seems to be buggy.
I disabled iMacros, restarted Iceweasel, and mouse clicks on PDF links started working again.