Konqeuror--KDE 2.0's New Web Browser, File Manager, and Much More

Friday Nov 17th 2000 by Christopher Molnar
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Take a walk with Christopher Molnar through the new file manager, Web browser, and general utility tool of KDE 2.0--Konqueror.

In the last article, "An Introduction to KDE 2.0," we walked through the overall look and feel of the new desktop and briefly introduced you to some of its tools. One of these new tools was Konqueror. Konqueror is a file manager, Web browser, archive manager, mail reader, calendar, and so much more. Tired of your Netscape sessions locking up on you every 10 to 15 minutes because of Java? If so, take a moment to catch up with the rest of us, and install Linux-Mandrake version 7.2. (I'm sorry, I have to be a little biased here, I'm a MandrakeSoft Inc. employee, developer, and trainer.)

Konqueror, the Startup View

So, now you have it installed. Let's start Konqueror in the way most people will first open it, as a file manager. On the Kicker toolbar you will see a little house on the left-hand side. This is your home directory. Go ahead and click on it. You will notice that this looks a lot like the file manager in Windows, OS/2, and a few other operating systems and environments. That's because it is. However, it is a lot better. Let's first explore the Web browser and some of the features to get us there.

First, from the dropdown menu bar select Windows/Show KonqDir Tree, and remove the check mark. This will change your screen into a single pane. While you are here, take a look at some of the other options in the dropdown menu. You can split the screen into multiple directories, and different views, and you can even use the terminal window at the bottom by checking the Window/Show KonsolePart selection.

Konqueror, the Web Browser

Now that you have changed the view to a single screen, go ahead and go to your favorite Web page. If all goes well, and if you have an Internet connection, you will be connected to your favorite Web site. (How many of you know what happens if you just enter http://localhost in the address line? That's right, you access the Apache Web server, which is part of most default Linux installs.)

Konqueror has the ability to take care of Java code, as well as Javascripting, You will need to turn it on;for security reasons, the KDE team has recommended shipping Konqueror with Java disabled by default. On the menu bar, select Settings/Configure/Browser.:

From the tab selection list at the top of the window, select Java/Javascript, and you will get the configuration shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Enabling Java and JavaScript in Konqueror.

This will allow you to enable Java and Javascript, either globally, or restricted to certain machines or domains. Remember that the basic rule in computer security is to know where you are getting things from.

After you make your selections, click OK and return to the main Konqueror screen. Remember that the Help button is available any time you may need it, as well.

Konqueror, the Archive Viewer

As more and more people use the Internet, a lot of files and directories are now exchanged in archive format. Archives are seen with .zip, .tar, .tar.gz, and .tar.bz2 formats. One of the biggest problems with the use of archives has been that no one has integrated their use into other applications so that they can be used without decompressing them into separate files and directories. Well, the folks at KDE have solved this problem. Konqueror has the ability to handle these archives and treat them like any other file and directory. If you have an archive file in your directory, go ahead and click on it. The command line is the only indication that you will have that you have been taken into the archive and are now viewing compressed files. Go ahead and view the files, copy them into other directories, etc.you'll find that the process is seamless.

Konqueror and MIME Types

As you have probably noticed, you can click on a file in the Konqueror window and it will automatically either open it, start another tool, or ask you what to do with it. This is in part due to an extremely large selection of MIME types available to Konqueror. MIME types tell an application what to do with specific types of files. You can select and change the functionality of these MIME types from the KControl panel.

Konqueror, the RPM Manager

If you select a file that has the .rpm file extension Konqueror will open and display the KPackage manager, which will give you a lot of information about an RPM. If you are logged in as root it will also let you install the package or update your current version. The first screen you see shows you package information, such as version, date, descriptions, packager, and more. It will also let you upgrade, install, or erase if you are logged in as root. If you click on the second tab at the top of the screen you will see a list of files and the location of files installed in the package, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Viewing package contents with KPackage.

This is a really neat way to see what will be installed on your machine, or what has already been installed on your machine by a certain RPM package. We will talk more about KPackage in the future.

Now close out of KPackage, and let's move on with our Konqueror demo.

Konqueror, the Text File Viewer

If you select a text file to view and click on it in Konqueror, the browser will open it in a read-only version of the Advanced Editor (KWrite). If you right-click on the file, you have the choice to display and open the file in a read/write mode of the editor. Remember, anything you do in the main Konqueror window is read-only. You must open the file specifically for read/write if you want to make changes and save them. This feature is for your safety, as well as ours.

Figure 3: Viewing text file contents.

Konqueror and Calendar Files

In the beginning of this article I mentioned that Konqueror can display schedule and calendar files. This is really a neat function. Figure 4 shows an example of that functionality.

Figure 4: Viewing the calendar.

This is particularly useful if you have a shared machine where several family members or employees keep their schedule files. Of course, while Konqueror will handle different file formats, the one displayed here comes from KOrganizer, the default organizer program of KDE 2.0.

Konqueror as POP Mail Reader

Ever want to check on your e-mail on a server without downloading a lot of messages over your cell phone connection? You know there's never anything but junk there anyway, but on the off chance that you may suddenly have a date on Saturday night, you want to take a look at your mail. OK, so enter your user name and POP mail server on the Konqueror command line. In the illustration it's pop3://molnarc@localhost (user name@popmailhost.domain). After you respond to the password prompt a window opens displaying the list of mail messages.

Now you have your message index. So, you want to see inside of one? Go ahead and click on a message. Here is what you will get:

Figure 5: Viewing a mail message with Konqueror.

Now, you can read your mail with a Web browser. Of course, I recommend using KMail since it is more adept at mail reading, but sometimes you don't want to download your mail onto another machine. This is a great way of reading your mail without downloading it.

Well, my 10 minutes of your time are up. But go on, explore and Konquer. Konqueror is more than a file manager, Web browser, or even a mail reader. It is only limited by your imagination. If you have any questions on the KDE applications please visit KDE's Web site at http://www.kde.org. Information on Linux-Mandrake is available at: http://www.mandrakesoft.com.

In my next article in the KDE series, we'll take a close look at the KOffice applications, which include KWord, KSpread, KPresenter, and KIllustrator.

About the Author

Christopher Molnar is MandrakeSoft's North American Training Coordinator and is based in Hartford, Conn., and Los Angeles . To contact the author via e-mail please use molnarc@mandrakesoft.com.

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