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Somewhere, there is a place to set default applications. eg when you click an e-mail in Firefox, it looks for the system default mail application. Similar situation for ANY URL in any document---it looks for the default browser.
Yes, definitely somewhere in KDE Control Centre to specify default browser, default mail client, etc. I set it up last night in Suse10, but I can't remember exactly which Control Centre applet it is...
I found under KDE Control Center, the Component Chooser. The default browser was already set to firefox, but I reset it in case perhaps the link was broken. The default mail client was the KDE client, which I set to Thunderbird.
Double clicking (or single clicking, or tripple clicking) on URL from Thunderbird still doesn't direct the URL to Firefox.
With gnome, you can set the default web browser / email client etc. Openoffice has its own option for this in its configuration, but IIRC it defaults to the gnome one nicely. It maybe a thunderbird-under-KDE problem, but my understanding is that KDE is normally pretty good for that (although I prefer gnome myself).