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9
KDE
KDE, the K Desktop Environment, is an open source graphical desktop environment
designed to provide a convenient, consistent, and user-friendly working environment for
everyone from beginners to power users. All of the features of X are available, including
the traditional xterm command-line interface for those who prefer it, but the graphical
interface both unifies and simplifies working with X. Figure 9-1 shows the KDE logo; as
you work with KDE, you will become familiar with this logo as the entry point into the
KDE menu system.
Figure 9-1: KDE logo
KDE provides a unified desktop that uses drag-and-drop technology. You drag a file icon
to an application icon to start the application or to move it to a folder. Or you can click on
a file icon to open it in the appropriate application. You can put folders or files on the
desktop for easy access, as well as links to programs that you frequently run—you can
then start the program by clicking on the icon. Similarly, you can put a link to a device,
such as your floppy drive, or a CD or DVD drive, on the desktop.
In addition, KDE provides a web browser, Konqueror, that also serves as the KDE file
manager, and provides the underlying technology for both the help facility and the
graphical configuration tool known as the Control Center. A tool bar known as the panel
sits on the screen, usually along the bottom, and provides a focal point for managing your
desktop and running programs.
One nice feature of KDE is that when you click on an icon or menu item that takes some
time to initiate (e.g., starting a web browser), a mini-version of the icon appears by the
pointer, moves with the pointer, and blinks. This gives you visual feedback that the
system is processing your request.
If your system is not already set up to start KDE, you need to configure your X
initialization file. Depending on your Linux distribution, look for either .xinitrc, .xsession,
or .Xclients in your home directory. Edit the file to remove any window manager
references that may already exist and add the command startkde, without a terminating &,
as the last command in the file (it may be the only command). Be certain that the proper
KDE directory is in your search path. Depending on your distribution, you might find
startkde in /usr/local/kde/bin, /usr/bin, or /opt/kde. If you have more than one version of
KDE installed (e.g., KDE 2 and KDE 3), the path might include the version number. For
example, you might have both /opt/kde3 and /opt/kde2. Once the initialization file is set
up, KDE will run when you start X. Then when KDE is running, you can check the
version by opening the Control Center, and then selecting HelpAbout KDE.
To log out of KDE, which also ends your X session, choose Logout from either the K
menu or the desktop menu. You can access the K menu, officially known as the
Application Starter, by clicking the K icon on the panel at the bottom of the screen. Or
right-click anywhere on the desktop to open the desktop menu and log out from there.
You can also log out by clicking the logout button on the panel; the logout button is under
the lock icon towards the left end of the panel—it looks like a power switch.
When you log out, the KDE session manager provides a checkbox that lets you choose
whether to save your present session so it can be restored the next time you log in. For
example, if you log out with two shell windows and a Konqueror browser window open,
the same windows will be open on your next login, and Konqueror will have the same
pages open as when you logged out. If you leave the checkbox empty, no application
windows will be open when you next start KDE (unless you start them from your
initialization file). If you logged into KDE by means of the K Display Manager, KDM,
you can also choose whether you want to login as a different user, turn off the computer,
or restart the computer. If you logged in through one of the other display managers or by
running startx,y
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return to KDE.
The Desktop
A typical KDE desktop is shown in Figure 9-2. The desktop fills your screen and provides
the area where you do your work. You can have multiple virtual desktops and move
between them. By default, KDE provides four virtual desktops, but you can change that
number at any time via the Control Center.
Figure 9-2: KDE desktop
The desktop shown here has two open windows—a shell and a web browser. Along the
left edge of the desktop are icons that provide a trash barrel for deleted files, a link to the
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edge of the desktop is called the panel; it provides a launch pad for applications and ready
access to your virtual desktops and running programs.
The desktop can be used to hold icons that represent programs, files, and folders that you
want readily accessible. In contrast to other window managers, such as FVWM or
Window Maker, these icons do not represent running programs; instead, each icon is a
link and single-clicking on the icon starts the program or accesses an object. (If you
double-click by mistake, the program will start twice.) Icons can represent many types of
object, including programs, files, folders, devices such as the floppy drive, or web pages.
The object does not have to reside on your system, but can link to a website or file across
the network.
Managing Your Desktop
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rearrange the desktop, add and delete files and links, and generally customize it to suit
your needs. KDE provides the desktop menu for this purpose. Right-clicking anywhere on
the desktop displays the desktop menu, shown in Figure 9-3.

Single-clicking is the default, but you can change that behavior in the Control Center to require a
double-click instead. In that case, single-clicking selects the object.
Figure 9-3: Desktop menu
When you select Create New, a submenu opens that lets you choose between creating a
new directory, HTML file, text file, CDROM device, floppy device, application, or
Internet address (URL). Whichever type you select, a dialog box opens for you to specify
the object. For example, for a text file, you specify a filename; for a URL, you specify the
URL; for a device, you indicate which device you are linking to; etc. An appropriate icon
is placed on the desktop for the newly created object, and a file is stored in the ~/Desktop
directory under the name you gave the object.
You can undo the creation of the object by selecting the Undo option. Note that in the
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previous action to undo. The Paste option allows you to paste an object from the
clipboard to the desktop.
Selecting Bookmarks opens a submenu that lets you edit your Konqueror bookmarks or
modify Netscape bookmarks. Selecting Edit Bookmarks from the submenu runs the
Konqueror bookmarks editor, keditbookmarks. Once you are in the editor window, you
can edit your existing bookmarks or import your Mozilla and/or Netscape bookmarks to
save them as Konqueror bookmarks. When you are done editing, you can export the
updated bookmarks to Mozilla and Netscape. If you select Netscape bookmarks from the
editor submenu and click on a bookmark, KDE brings up Konqueror and goes to that
page.
The Run Command option lets you run a single command without having to open a
terminal window. Entering a URL instead of a command brings up a Konqueror window
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Command is equivalent to entering the keyboard shortcut Alt-F2. Run Command is also
available on the K menu.
Selecting Configure Desktop lets you set many options for your desktop. It combines the
Control Center Look & Feel settings for the Desktop, Background, and Screensaver
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in this chapter for more information on Background and Screensaver options. When you
select Desktop from the three choices on the left-hand side of the window, four tabs
appear in the main window section:
Desktop
The Desktop tab has three sections. The settings in Misc. Options (miscellaneous
options) affect the types of objects that can appear on the desktop and how their icons
are aligned.
In the Show Previews for section, checking the option for a filetype means that the
normal icon for that type of file is replaced by a small preview of the file contents.
The bottom section, Clicks on the desktop, determines the action taken when the
various pointer buttons are clicked. In addition to taking no action, you can select the
window list menu, the desktop menu, the application menu, and two custom menus.
By default, the left button produces no action, the middle button displays the current
windows on each desktop, and the right button displays the desktop menu. The
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Application Menu from one of the drop-down lists lets you attach it to a pointer
button.
The custom menus are menus that you can create for your own purposes. There are
default custom menus in the directory $KDEDIR/share/config with the names
kdesktop_custom_menu1 and kdesktop_custom_menu2. The default custom menu 1
has one entry, kconsole, while the default custom menu 2 runs an xterm. You can
either create your own custom menus from scratch, or copy the defaults to
$HOME/.kde/share/config. The file contains of the following two types of entries:
NrOfItems=n
Specifies the number of items, n, to appear on the menu.
Itemn=name
Specifies the name of one entry on the menu, where name specifies the program
name and n indicates which entry it is.
For example, the following creates a short custom menu with four entries:
NrOfItems=4
Item1=konsole
Item2=kshisen
Item3=konqueror
Item4=emacs
NOTE to production: please indent the code lines above correctly.
The resulting menu is shown in Figure 9-4. It has options to start a Konsole session,
the game Shisen-Sho, a Konqueror session, and the Emacs editor.
Figure 9-4: kdesktop custom menu
Appearance
The Appearance tab provides options for setting the font and fontsize, as well as the
text and text background colors, to appear on the desktop. It also includes a checkbox
that determines if the filenames that appear with the icons are to be underlined.
Underlining the filenames makes them stand out, but it also takes up additional space.
Number of Desktops
This tab is where you can change the number of virtual desktops from the default
value of 4. Move the slider at the top of the window to the right to add desktops or to
the left to remove desktops. Below the slider, each of the 16 possible desktops is
listed. You can use the box to the right of each listed desktop to give each desktop a
unique name. By default, they are named Desktop n, where n is the number of that
desktop. For example, if you always use Desktop 2 to run KDE Office, you might
want to change its name from Desktop 2 to KDE Office.
Paths
The Paths tab lets you change the default path to your Desktop, Trash, Autostart, and
Documents directories. Changing the path to any of the first three directories also
moves any files to the directory specified in the new path. Unless you have some
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The Unclutter Windows and Cascade Windows options on the desktop menu let you
organize the placement of windows on the desktop, while Line up Icons and Arrange
Icons do the same for the icons. Clicking on Unclutter Windows results in KDE
attempting to arrange your open windows to minimize the amount of overlap. Ideally, the
result will be to have no overlap, but if you have many windows open, that may not be
possible. When you select Cascade Windows, KDE layers the windows so that at least
one edge of each is visible, but the maximum amount of desktop space is left uncovered.
Selecting Line up Icons lines up your desktop icons in nice neat rows, while Arrange
Icons lets you order them by name (either case-sensitive or case-insensitive), size, or type.
There is also a checkbox to have directories show up first.
The Lock Screen option displays your screensaver and locks your screen. You must enter
your password to unlock the screen; clicking a pointer button or pressing a key on the
keyboard presents the password prompt.
Selecting Logout presents the logout box to log you out from KDE, as described at the
beginning of the chapter.
If you use the desktop menu frequently, you can check the Enable Desktop Menu option
to place it permanently as a horizontal bar on the top of your screen. Of course you can
disable it again to make the bar disappear.The menu bar contains the same options as the
regular desktop menu, but organized differently and with a few variations. The menu bar
contains the following submenus:
Menu
Contains
File
Run Command, Lock Screen, and Logout

If you have KDE configured to display the panel at the top of the screen, the desktop menu bar
appears above the panel.
New
Equivalent to Create New on the desktop menu
Bookmarks
Equivalent to Bookmarks on the desktop menu
Desktop
Includes Unclutter Windows, Cascade Windows, Line Up Icons, and
Arrange Icons, as well as Refresh Desktop and Configure Desktop. Also
contains the option Disable Desktop Menu.
Windows
Repeats the Unclutter Windows and Cascade Windows options, and also
includes an entry for each virtual desktop and lists the windows on each
desktop. Selecting one of the desktops moves you to that desktop;
selecting a window in one of the desktops moves you to that desktop and
also makes that window the active window.
Help
Includes options to open the KDesktop Handbook, report a bug, and view
information about KDE.
It is planned that you will be able to customize the desktop menu beginning with KDE
3.1.
You can quickly change the background image of the desktop by dragging a graphics
image from a Konqueror window to the desktop background * and selecting Set as
Wallpaper. You might then want to go to the configuration option of the Desktop menu,
choose BackgroundWallpaper and set the mode (i.e., whether to tile the image, center
it, or scale it).
Working with Multiple Desktops
KDE supports virtual desktops in a variety of ways. The default number of virtual
desktops is four. This value can be increased up to sixteen or decreased down to only one
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Right-clicking on a desktop button in the panel brings up the menu shown in Figure 9-5.
*
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Figure 9-5: Desktop display menu
Only one of Preview, Number, or Name can be checked at a time: which one you select
determines what is displayed in the desktop preview windows in the panel. Preview shows
a representation of the windows open on each desktop, Number shows the desktop
number for each desktop, and Name shows the name of each desktop. Preview only takes
effect if Enable Desktop Preview is checked. If you click on one desktop and change the
settings, they are changed for all the desktops.
Selecting Preferences in the menu brings up a window that is the same as the Number of
Desktops tab that you get when you select Configure Desktop from the desktop menu.
You can then modify the number of desktops and rename them.
The Activate option lets you move between desktops. If you are on, say, desktop 1, and
you right-click on desktop 3 in the panel and select Activate, desktop 3 becomes the
active desktop. Normally it would be easier to just click on the panel button for the
desktop you want to move to, but if you have the menu open anyway, then selecting
Activate moves you to the desktop from which you selected the menu.
Using the keyboard, you can cycle through the virtual desktops by holding the Ctrl key
down and simultaneously pressing Tab to move forward or Shift-Tab to move back.
You can also switch to another desktop by clicking in the taskbar on a program running
on that desktop. Alternatively you can use kpager, which also shows which windows are
currently open on other desktops. You can access kpager with Alt-F2 kpager or by
clicking on the up-arrow just to the left of the desktop buttons in the panel.
You can also use kpager to move a window from one desktop to another, by simply
dragging the window in the pager. Note that this also moves you to the new desktop, with
the dragged window active.
The Panel
The KDE panel, known as Kicker, as we mentioned earlier, is a toolbar used for
launching applications. It consists of menus, icons that run programs when clicked, and
small programs known as applets that run inside the panel.
Figure 9-6: The KDE panel
Figure 9-6 shows a typical panel. It includes the following items, from left to right:
K menu
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displays a hierarchical list of available applications. As you add new applications to
your system, you can update the K menu by running kappfinder from a command line
or selecting SystemKAppfinder from the K menu.
KDE keeps its overall menu structure in a directory called /usr/share/applnk,
/usr/local/kde/share/applnk, /usr/kde3/share/applnk, or /opt/kde3/share/applnk,
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matches the structure of entries in the Application Starter. For each program,
these directories contain a file. The files, which end with .kdelnk, contain a
description of the program, the startup command and other things which might
be important to properly start the program. These files are plain text, and they
are largely self describing.
These systemwide configuration files are augmented by a .kde/share/applnk or
.kde3/share/applnk di
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is organized like the systemwide directory but contains user-specific KDE
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Show Desktop
Clicking on the Show Desktop button iconifies all your open windows into the
taskbar section of your panel. Your desktop is now shown, empty of open windows.
This is particularly useful if you want to find an icon that has been hidden beneath the
open windows. Clicking again on the Show Desktop icon reopens all the previously
iconified windows. If you had other windows already iconified on that desktop,
reclicking does not open them; it only reopens windows that the previous click
iconified.
Terminal
The button that looks like a terminal with a shell in front of it opens a Konsole (KDE
console) terminal emulation window. Similar to an xterm, Konsole is described later
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Control Center
The button that looks like a terminal partially covered by a circuit board opens the
KDE control center. The control center is the central point for configuring your
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Help
The KDE Help center is represented by a button that looks like a life-saving ring.
Click on the icon to bring up the KDE help system, described in detail in the section
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Clicking on the button with a small house in front of a file folder opens the
Konqueror file manager, with your home directory and its files displayed as icons.
Konqueror
The next button represents the web browser aspect of Konqueror. For more
information on Konqueror, as both web browser and file manager, see the section
“
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-and-paper icon is used for both kate and kwrite; in
this case, it represents a link to kate.
Desktop preview
The desktop preview, or mini-pager appears next, consisting of a set of buttons that
let you switch between virtual desktops. There is one button in the mini-pager for
each virtual desktop. The highlighted button denotes the active desktop.
You can display a larger desktop preview, the pager, either by clicking on the uparrow in the wider vertical bar to the left of the mini-pager, from the K menu (select
UtilitiesKPager), or by running the kpager command. Like the mini-pager, kpager
shows the open windows on each desktop, but it also shows a graphic for each one,
so it is evident what application each window represents.
Taskbar
The taskbar contains an entry for every running program. Clicking on one of these
names calls up the program window, together with the desktop that it is in. This
makes it easy to switch to any application without having to switch first to another
desktop. If the window is currently iconified, it appears grayed out in the taskbar, and
clicking on its entry restores the full window. If the window is not iconified, clicking
on it moves the focus to that window (automatically switching desktops as
necessary), and raises the window if it is currently hidden.
If there are multiple occurrences of the same program running, they are combined
into a single taskbar entry with an up-arrow on the right edge. Clicking on the arrow
displays a list of the windows running that program. For example, if you have
multiple kconsole windows open, clicking on the arrow shows the name of each
window as it appears in the titlebar. For Konqueror, the names of open pages are
shown. (Note that combining occurrences is an option that can be set or unset in the
preferences menu for the taskbar with the Group similar tasks option.)
You cannot tell from the taskbar which desktop a window is running in. To see the
running applications by desktop, click on the up-arrow in the wider vertical bar to the
left of the taskbar. This displays the applications by desktop.
Lock/logout applet
The lock and logout buttons to the right of the taskbar are actually part of a single
applet that provides both screen locking and logout functions. Clicking one of these
buttons is the same as selecting the equivalent option from the desktop menu,
descr
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on“
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.
System tray
Rounding up the panel is the system tray, where swallowed applications reside.
Swallowed applications are mini-applications that run on the panel instead of in a
window on the desktop. Two examples shown here are the clock, which contains an
embedded calendar, and klipper,KDE’
sc
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.
Hide panel
Clicking on the right-poi
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panel to the right, to provide more desktop work area. This action leaves only a
narrow vertical bar showing, with the arrow now pointing left. Clicking on this arrow
brings the panel back into view again.
Right-clicking anywhere on the panel displays the Panel menu, which lets you add or
remove buttons, resize the panel, set panel preferences, or access help for the panel.
Clicking on the up-arrow in one of the narrow vertical bars to the left of a panel entry
brings up the preferences menu for that entry. For example, the preferences menu for the
mini-pager lets you set the number and names of the virtual desktops, while the menu for
the taskbar sets preferences for the taskbar and lets you specify the actions to be taken for
each pointer button. The bars themselves act as handles; you can click on the bar and to
move that panel entry to the right or left on the panel.
He
l
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option of the Panel menu.
Configuring the Panel
A fast way to add an application to the panel is to right-click the panel to open the Panel
menu. Then select PanelAddButton and the Application Starter menu is displayed.
From the menu, select the application you want to add and a button for that application is
placed on the panel. In addition to adding application buttons, you can add entire menus.
Once the Application Starter menu is displayed, select the submenu you want and click on
the entry at the top of the menu that says Add this Menu.
You can also use the Panel menu to delete panel objects with the Remove option or to
make the panel itself larger or smaller with the Size option.
Selecting Preferences from the Panel menu runs the Control Center Settings module,
which provides options along the left-hand side for configuring the Panel and the
Taskbar. Among the panel configuration options are options to set the position,
alignment, and size of the panel on the screen, determine whether to show the left or right
hide button (or both), and configure the look of the K menu. The taskbar configuration
options include the option mentioned earlier to group similar tasks into one taskbar
button, other options to determine how applications appear in the taskbar, as well as
pointer-button actions.
Konqueror
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,
advanced file manager, and universal viewer--all rolled into one. As explained in the
Konqueror FAQ at www.konqueror.org, the name Konqueror is a word play on other
browser names. After the Navigator came the Explorer and finally the Conqueror (with a
Kt
os
h
owt
h
a
ti
t
’
spa
r
tofKDE)
.
Figure 9-7 shows some of the features of Konqueror, including both its web browsing and
file management capabilities. The figure also shows how you can split the Konqueror
window into parts, each performing a different activity.
Figure 9-7: Konqueror, not your average web browser
The largest window is being used for browsing; in this case, it is displaying the KDE
home page (www.kde.org). The two smaller windows show two views of Konqueror as
file manager. The following sections describe the browser and file manager aspects of
Konqueror in more detail, and then explain how to customize Konqueror.
Once Konqueror is running, it automatically switches between the browser and file
manager modes as needed. But you can also open Konqueror in one mode or the other.
To open Konqueror in browser mode, do one of the following:

 Click on the Konqueror icon in the Panel.

 From the K menu, select InternetKonqueror.

 Enter a URL on the command line.
Or to open it in file manager mode, do one of the following:

 Click on the house icon in the Panel.

 Click on any directory icon on the desktop (including the trash barrel) to open
Konqueror and display the contents of that directory.

 Enter the command konqueror on the command line.
Konqueror the Web Browser
Konqueror houses khtml,KDE’
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e
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,wh
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hsupports the full gamut
of current Internet technologies, including JavaScript, Java 2, HTML 4.0, CSS 1 and
partially CSS 2 (Cascading Style Sheets), SSL (Secure Socket Layer for secure
communications) and Netscape plugins (for playing Flash, RealAudio, RealVideo, and
similar technologies).
In addition to providing features you would expect from a modern browser, Konqueror
allows you to read UNIX man pages by simply opening the location man:command or
#command. It also supports bash file completion when looking for files on your system.
Like other browsers, Konqueror can serve as a viewer for many file types. Click on an
i
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contents. The same goes for PostScript, PDF, and DVI files, KOffice files, and others. On
t
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Konqueror embeds components provided by other KDE applications, using the KParts
library. The image viewer is kview, the text viewer is kwrite, the DVI viewer is kdvi, the
PostScript viewer is kghostview, and of course all KOffice documents are shown by their
originating KOffice application.
Unlike Netscape and other browsers, the Konqueror web browser does not include mail or
news reading capabilities. Instead, KDE provides two dedicated programs, KMail and
KNode
,
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.
Konqueror the File Manager
As a file manager, Konqueror displays files a
n
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icon sizes) as seen on the lower-right corner of Figure 9-7 ort
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view in which you can open sub-directories) as also used in Figure 9-7. Konqueror allows
copying, moving, and deleting, by both direct drag-and-drop or by using copy, cut, and
paste. You can view and modify the properties of a file or directory by right-clicking on
the file and selecting Properties.
The file manager also provides automatic updating of directories--if a file is created in a
directory that is currently being viewed, it is not necessary to refresh or reload the
di
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;Kon
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ontent. Similarly, deleted
files simply disappear.
Customizing Konqueror
The fastest way to customize Konqueror is with the Settings menu on the Konqueror
menubar. This menu provides options to turn the menubar and toolbar on or off, show
several additional toolbars, and to configure shortcuts, the toolbars, and Konqueror itself.
Selecting Configure Konqueror displays the Control Center module for Konqueror, from
which you can choose to configure the file manager, file associations, and the browser,
including settings for the browser itself, enhanced browsing options, cookies, the cache,
proxy, stylesheets, privacy, and user agent options.
The Window button on the Konqueror toolbar offers a number of useful options for
managing Konqueror so you can work comfortably with it. These options are described in
the following sections.
View options
The view options let you add and remove windows (views) inside the Konqueror window.
Use the first two view options (Split View Left/Right and Split View Top/Bottom) to split
the currently active Konqueror window in two vertically or horizontally.
The third view option, Remove Active View, closes the currently active window. The
active window is the one in which any keystrokes or pointer clicks take effect. Each
window has a small circle at the bottom; the green circle marks the active view. Selecting
Remove Active View closes that window.
Terminal emulation
Selecting the Show Terminal Emulator option opens a terminal emulator window at the
bottom of your Konqueror window, into which you can enter commands as though you
were working in an xterm or konsole window. Note that after opening the terminal
window, you may need to resize the Konqueror window to access the command line.
Not
ea
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gives you a command line, but does so by opening a new konsole window that remains
open even after you close Konqueror.
The Navigation Panel
The navigation panel is a tabbed window that opens on the left of the Konqueror window.
Its purpose is to simplify navigation inside Konqueror, particularly for navigating through
files or through your bookmarks. Select a tab by clicking on it. The tabs include a display
of your bookmarks, your home directory tree, your browsing history, and the root
directory tree. There is also a Services tab for audio CD, local area networking, and print
services.
When you open Konqueror in its file manager mode, the navigation panel is displayed,
opened to the home directory tab. You can also open the panel at any other time by
selecting the Show Navigation Panel option from the Window menu and selecting the tab
you want.
Profiles
Konqueror lets you set up profiles. Using profiles, you can set up separate Konqueror
configurations for different purposes. There are default profiles for using Konqueror as a
file manager, file previewer, web browser, or in Midnight Commander mode (Midnight
Commander is a popular file manager for Unix-based systems).
The Window menu has three options for working with profiles:
Save View Profile
If you are working with profiles and you have modified the configuration, use this
option to save the changes.
Configure View Profile
This option is for updating any profile, not just the current one. It shows all existing
profiles and lets you save the current Konqueror configuration under an existing
profile name or a new name. You might, for example, configure a view such as the
one shown in Figure 9-7 with both web browsing and file management windows, and
save it under a new name.
Load View Profile
Select the Load View Profile option to load and begin working with one of the saved
profiles.
The Konsole Terminal Emulator
Konsole is an X terminal emulator for the K Desktop Environment. When invoked, the
konsole window looks similar to an xterm window, but it has two additional features: a
menu bar at the top and a toolbar containing icons for current sessions at the bottom. The
existence of that toolbar represents the major difference between Konsole and xterm,
which is that you can run multiple konsole sessions inside a single window. With xterm,
running multiple sessions means having multiple xterm windows open. Even if some
xterm windows are iconified, they still represent individual windows. Unless you want to
see the contents of different terminal windows at the same time, having multiple sessions
in one window is a big advantage. And of course you can open more than one Konsole
window. Each Konsole session running in one window is represented by an icon in the
toolbar, making it easy to switch between sessions with a single click on the appropriate
icon.
Figure 9-8 shows a Konsole window with a single active shell session and the Session
menu open.
Figure 9-8: Konsole
The Session menu offers six session types:
New Shell
Opens a terminal shell.
New Screen Session
Uses the screen command that multiplexes a physical terminal between several
processes.
New Root Console
Opens a terminal shell as the root user. Konsole prompts you for the root password,
then the # prompt appears, indicating that you are now working with root privileges.
New Midnight Commander
Opens a Midnight Commander graphical file browser session.
New Linux Console
Emulates a text-only Linux system.
New Root Midnight Commander
Opens a Midnight Commander session as the root user.
The final two options on the Session menu let you close the current session and quit
Konsole.
From the Settings menu, you can configure Konsole to hide or show the menubar, toolbar,
and scrollbar as well as select window size, fonts, color schemes, and key mappings.
Selecting SettingsConfigure Konsole displays the Control Center Konsole configuration
module, if you want to change a number of settings at the same time.
Right-clicking on the toolbar brings up a toolbar menu, where you can set options such as
the size and location of the toolbar itself, how text appears with the icons on the toolbar,
and the size of the icons. Any changes made from the toolbar menu apply only to that
particular Konsole window.
The Window Manager
Unlike GNOME, KDE has its own window manager, kwin, which is tightly integrated
i
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oKDEi
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.Th
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ouwo
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in the Control Center—i
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’
snot generally treated as a separate entity.
Managing Windows
Most of the material in Chapter 4, Overview, applies to the KDE window manager as
well. In addition, this section contains a few tips for managing your windows.
Windows can be pinned, so that they appear at the same location on every desktop. For
example, you might pin the kscd CD player to turn down the volume when somebody
walks into your office. To pin a window, clikc on the pin symbol on the left-hand side of
the titlebar.
To move a window to another desktop, access the Window menu by right-clicking on the
wi
n
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.Th
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.Th
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window disappears from the current desktop. To access it again, simply go to the new
desktop.
Another method of moving a window is to pin down the window by clicking on the pin
button. This puts the window on all the desktops. Then change to the desktop you want
and pull out the pin. The window now appears only on the new desktop, and you can
work with it immediately.
Unlike many other window managers, kwin does not leave an icon behind on the desktop
when you minimize a window. You can still restore the window either by clicking on its
entry in the taskbar or by middle-clicking on the desktop to display a list of running tasks.
Minimized tasks are shown in parentheses. Select the task you want to restore and click
on it.
As you would expect, kwin allows you to maximize your window in both directions by
left-clicking on the maximize button-on the right-hand side of the titlebar. What you
might not expect, is that you can also maximize the window horizontally by right-clicking
Killing Windows With Ctrl-Alt-Esc
Normally, you close a window by either closing the application running in the
wi
n
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.Howe
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ome
t
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goes wrong and the window will not close, you can force it to close with the key
combination Ctrl-Alt-Esc.
When you use this key combination, the cursor changes to a skull-andc
r
os
s
bon
e
ss
y
mb
ol
.An
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s
or
,“
d
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s
”
instantly, with no questions asked.
If you change your mind, the Escape key restores the normal mouse cursor and
no window is closed.
Note: you need to be very careful with this method. KDE does not ask for
confirmation or offer to save any open files. You should also be careful which
windows you kill this way. The KDE panel, for example, is a window, and can
bek
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oupr
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odo that.
on the maximize button, and vertically by middle-clicking on it.
Using Another Window Manager
Al
t
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h
e
r
e
’
sg
e
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a
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s
i
bl
et
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s
ead
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
twi
n
dow
manager. Many other window managers offer at least some KDE compatibility. To run
KDE with another window manager, you need to edit KDE’
ss
t
a
r
t
u
ps
c
r
i
pt
,startkde.
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:
ksmserver --restore
KDE’
ss
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s
i
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a
g
e
r
,ksmserver, starts kwin if no window manager is specified on this
line. To use a different window manager, modify the line as follows:
ksmserver --restore --windowmanager wm
where wm is the desired window manager.
You must restart KDE for the change to take effect.. Note that by modifying startkde in
this fashion, you are changing the window manager for all users, not just yourself.
The Help Center
The KDE Help Center provides a central point for accessing not only KDE help, but also
the manpages and Info pages for your Linux system. The Help Center’
swe
l
c
omepa
g
e
can be seen in Figure 9-9.
Figure 9-9: KDE Help Center
On the left-hand side of the Help Center window are two tabs. In Figure 9-9, the Contents
tab is displayed. Clicking on an entry with a page icon displays that entry; clicking on an
entry with a book icon opens a hierarchical list of contents for that entry. For example,
clicking on the Application manuals entry lists the hierarchy of manuals for various KDE
applications, organized into categories that match those of the K menu. Click on an entry
to display the documentation for that KDE feature.
The second tab is the Glossary, which provides a glossary of terms. You can access the
glossary either alphabetically or by topic.
The KDE Help Center can be started in several ways:
Application Help menu
The most common way to access the Help Center is probably from within an
a
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.Fr
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.
Finding a particular topic in the Help Center from the Contents page can be
confusing, so it is often easier to access the help you want directly from that
a
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rwh
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n you first start using KDE,
to familiarize yourself with its contents and organization.
K Menu
From the K menu, and select the Help option to open the KDE Help Center. This
starts the Help Center at the welcome page.
Panel
By default, the panel contains ani
c
on
,wh
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hl
ook
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the KDE Help Center.
Command line
The KDE Help Center may be started from the command line by running the
command khelpcenter, passing it a URL for the file you want to display. There are
URLs for Info and man pages, as well as for KDE commands. Note that in some
c
a
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s
,y
ou
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l
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correct URL Here are some examples of starting the Help Center from the command
line:
An application help file
To open the Help Center to an application help file, issue a command such as the
following. In this case, help for the KEdit text editor is displayed:
khelpcenter help:/kedit
A local URL
The following opens the local documentation for the Qt library:
khelpcenter file:/usr/local/doc/qt/html/index.html
A Man page
The following opens the manpage for the strcpy command:
khelpcenter man:/strcpy
An Info page
The following opens the Info page for the gcc compiler:
khelpcenter info:/gcc
Invoking khelpcenter without parameters opens the Help Center at the welcome page.
The Control Center
The KDE Control Center, kcontrol, contains a number of configuration tools, called
modules, that allow you to configure and view information about your system. You can
configure the desktop, window manager, input devices, and other important parts of your
system here. The Control Center is split into two windows: the left window shows a
hierarchical list of installed modules, and the right window displays the selected module.
As is often the case, there is more than one way to customize KDE. In this section, we
concentrate on the KDE Control Center. However, you can choose individual modules
f
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sections. kcontrol comfortably brings everything together in a central place.
To launch the KDE control center, either run the command kcontrol or select the Control
Center option from the K menu. The Control Center appears, as shown in Figure 9-10.
Figure 9-10: The KDE Control Center
The Control Center has three tabs on the left-hand side: Index, Search, and Help. Most of
the time you will probably use the Index, shown in Figure 9-10, to access the module you
want.
I
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scroll through the alphabetical list of keywords and select the one you want. The results
box at the bottom of the Search tab lists the module or modules containing configuration
options for that keyword. Click on a module name and the main Control Center window
opens to that module.
The Help tab provides information to help set configuration options in the currently
displayed module. Select Help from the menu bar to get the documentation for the
Control Center itself.
The following sections describe the modules listed on the right-hand side of the window
and the type of configuration each provides. Each module includes an Apply button on
the lower right of the screen, so you can apply your changes as you go to see if you like
the effect.
File Browsing
Th
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.
File Associations
This module lets you establish the relationship between file extensions and the
application to be used to open the file. KDE supports MIME (Multipurpose Internet
Mail Extensions) types. MIME types, as used in Internet browsers, are sets of rules
for certain files. If a file looks like an HTML text file for example (because its name
ends with .html or .htm), the file is opened in a browser, in this case, Konqueror. If
the filename ends with .gif, it must be an image file, so we want Konqueror to open it
in an image viewer. By default, a KDE application is used. The File Associations
module lets you indicate that a different application, such as xv, should be used.
KDE keeps the MIME type registrations in the /share/mimelnk subdirectories of your
main KDE directory (e.g., /opt/kde/share/mimelnk), one file for each application,
or
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changes are reflected in your local directory. The registration files are text files and
can be directly edited or new files added if for some reason you prefer not to use the
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File Manager
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Configures kuick, which is a Konqueror plugin for copying and moving files.
Information
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related. Some of the more interesting options are described in the following list. In some
of the displays, a column head includes an arrow pointing down; if you click on the arrow,
the order of entries in the column is reversed.
Block Devices
Shows your block devices, their size, mount points, what is still free, and usage in %.
Devices
The character, block, and misc. devices and their major device numbers are shown.
Memory
Displays information on your total physical and virtual memory. Total and free swap
memory are also shown.
Network interfaces
Displays the name, IP address, network mask, type, and state of each network
interface configured on your Linux system.
Partitions
Displays the device, its mount point, filesystem type, total and free size, and mount
options for each partition. This is equivalent to viewing the contents of /etc/fstab.
Processor
Displays information about your processor, such as the vendor, model, and speed.
USB Devices
Displays any USB Devices, their class, version, speed, and bandwidth usage.
X-Server
Shows the vendor and version of your X server plus detailed information on many
aspects of your X server and your display, as shown in Figure 9-11.
Figure 9-11: X-Server information
Look & Feel
Like most modern window managers and desktop environments, KDE lets you change
just about everything concerning its look and feel.
Background
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final appearance of your desktop is a combination of background colors, patterns,
and wallpaper based on the image from a graphic file.
Colors
Colors and color schemes can be set for just about every element of your windows,
including the background, menu text, title bar, button, etc.
Desktop
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icons, the file manager, toolbar, menu, and window title.
Icons
Lets you choose sets of icons, known as themes, to be used on your desktop.
Changing the icon theme is a quick way to update the look of your desktop.
Launch Feedback
Sets options for receiving immediate feedback when you run an application. There
are two launch feedback options:
Busy cursor
Turning on the busy cursor option enables the feature that attaches an icon to the
cursor when you start an application, to provide visual feedback that something
is happening.
Taskbar notification
If taskbar notification is enabled, an entry is placed in the taskbar as soon as you
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application is up and running.
Panel
Here you can configure the KDE panel (also r
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for more information.
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table.
Shortcuts
Here you can alter the KDE keyboard shortcuts. The default key bindings are shown
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Keyboard Shortcuts
Key combination
Resulting action
Alt-F1
Opens the K menu
Alt-F2
Gives you a command prompt
Alt-F3
Sets the properties of the current window
Alt-F4
Closes the current window
Alt-Tab
Switches between application windows
Ctrl-Tab
Cycles through your virtual desktops
Ctrl-Fn
Switches to virtual desktop n
Ctrl-Alt-Esc
Immediately kills every window you click on
Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
Kills the X server and all its clients
Style
Allows you to modify the visual appearance of user interface elements, such as the
widget style and effects.
Taskbar
You can configure the taskbar here. This includes options that determine whether the
taskbar is embedded in the panel (the default) or floats outside on the desktop. You
can also configure whether the taskbar should show all windows or only those on the
current desktop.
Theme Manager
Allows the setting of themes.
Window Behavior
Actions and mouse behavior affecting window management can be changed.
Window Decoration
Lets you set the window border decoration to emulate other window managers.
Network
Here you set the networking options that affect KDE. The primary options are:
Email
Configures basic email information such as name and email address. This
information is needed for sending a bug report to the KDE developers.
Preferences
Sets timeout values of socket read, proxy connect, server connect, and server
response. You might want to change these values if you are experiencing timeouts or
connection problems.
SOCKS
Enable SOCKS, which is a protocol to traverse firewalls as described in RFC 1928.
Window Shares
Lets you configure your Samba client if you are running Samba on a network that
also includes systems running Microsoft Windows so that Konqueror can access
shared Windows filesystems. Note that this does not configure the Samba server.
In addition, you may see additional options, such as Kisdndock to configure ISDN
docking options, LAN Browsing, News Ticker, and Talk Configuration.
Peripherals
The keyboard and mouse peripherals are configured here. These settings only affect KDE,
not your X server.
Keyboard
Allows simple keyboard configuring. You can specify additional layouts other than
the default, which is helpful if you regularly work in more than one language. You
can set up multiple keyboard layouts, and switch among them; enabling multiple
layouts adds an icon to the panel for switching.
Mouse
Allows various options for the way in which your pointing device works. Your
pointing device may be a mouse, trackball, or some other hardware that performs a
similar function.
Personalization
The personalization module includes options to configure aspects oft
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fall into one of the other categories.
Accessibility
Configures options designed to help users who have difficulty hearing audible cues,
or who have difficulty using a keyboard or mouse.
Country & Language
Allows country-specific settings for things like currency symbols, number formats,
dates and time, etc.
Crypto
Enables SSL cryptography.
Konsole
Allows configuring of Konsole, the KDE terminal application described earlier in the
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.
Passwords
Lets you set your password to echo as one or three stars or not to echo at all.
Session Manager
Sets session manager options such as whether logout needs to be confirmed or the
session is to be saved for future logins.
Spell Checking
Lets you select a spell checking program, specify what types of spelling errors are
identified, and specify what dictionary to use.
Power Control
Power control configuration is especially interesting if you are using Linux on a laptop
computer without a built-in atomic reactor. The configuration options let you monitor
battery use, set energy-saving options, and set battery warning levels.
Sound
The sound settings include options for configuring various aspects of KDE sound
capabilities.
Audio CD IO-Slave
Enables creating wav, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis files from your audio CD-ROM or DVDs.
Midi
Allows use and configuration of MIDI device.
Sound Server
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.
System Bell
You can set the volume (0 to 100%), pitch (20 to 2000Hz), and duration (1 to 1000
milliseconds) of the system bell. Use the Test button to listen to your newly
configured bell.
System Notifications
Allows saying how the application should acoustically inform you of an event. The
configuration screen shows a list of applications and possible events, and lets you
select the notification method you prefer for each. The choices are: Log to file, Play
sound, Show messagebox, and Standard error output.
System
Because system configuration settings affect the whole system, not just an individual user,
you will generally be required to click on the Administrator Mode button at the bottom of
the configuration screen and asked to provide the root password in order to change any of
the system settings.
Date & Time
Allows setting of the date, time, and timezone.
Font Installer
Allows the installing of X fonts.
Login Manager
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Printing Manager
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Other possible options that you may find in this module include Boot Manager (LILO),
Linux Kernel Configurator, Alarm Daemon, and XML RPC Daemon settings.
Web Browsing
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Cache
Controls the size and use of the disk cache, where Konqueror stores recently read
web pages.
Cookies
Lets you enable or disable Cookies. Cookies contain information stored on your
computer by a remote server.
Enhanced Browsing
Allows you to configure some enhanced features offered by the Konqueror browser.
Konqueror Browsing
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appearance options, the use of Java and JavaScript, and whether the use of plugins is
allowed.
Netscape Plugins
The Konqueror web browser can be set here to use Netscape plugins to show special
content.
Proxy
Proxy settings can be set here. This is only of interest if you access the network
through a proxy server.
Stylesheets
Lets you apply your own color and font settings to Konqueror by using stylesheets
(CSS).
User Agent
The user agent control screen allows you to have full control over what type of
browser that Konqueror will report itself to be to remote systems and how much
information it provides.
While all these configuration settings are stored in a text file, usually somewhere in
$HOME/.kde/share/, and can be altered by manually editing the proper file, it is much
e
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.
On the other hand, you can use the Control Center modules without having to run the
entire Control Center. If you only want to configure one particular feature of KDE, it is
sometimes easier simply to access the appropriate module from within that feature, or
from the Preferences option on the K menu.
KDE Applications
What is a desktop environment without its own applications? These applications are
written with KDE-Li
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e
KDE as a desktop environment, just the necessary libraries, which are usually delivered
with KDE, not the application.
New KDE applications are continuing to appear on an almost weekly basis. Some
representative applications are listed here to give you an idea of their broadness in
of
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while the descriptions use the program name as you would enter it on the command line.
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have all of the applications described here. You can always install missing applications
later, from your installation CDs or by downloading the appropriate package. The
documentation page of the KDE website (http://docs.kde.org) lists the applications by
package, which you can use not only to learn more about the applications, but also to find
out which package to download to get the applications you want.
KOffice
KOffice, like StarOffice and its open-source follow-on OpenOffice,** is an integrated
office suite for KDE. KOffice 1.1, released with KDE 3, includes a full suite of
applications, which are described briefly in Table 9-1.
Table 9-1: KOffice components
Component
Description
KWord
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word processing like writing letters, reports, etc. or more complex tasks
such as DTP (desktop publishing).
KSpread
A powerful spreadsheet application
KPresenter
Full-featured presentation application used for talks and presentations
Kivio
A flowcharting application.
Kontour
A vector drawing application.
Krita
A raster-based image manipulation program similar to The GIMP or
Adobe Photoshop.
Kugar
A tool for generating business quality reports.
KChart
KChart helps you draw charts and diagrams.
Native file formats are XML-based, and work on filters for proprietary binary file formats
is underway. KOffice components work together using the KParts object model; you can
embed any KOffice component in any other KOffice component. In addition to the
current KOffice applications, other programs may be embeddable into KOffice
documents in the future.
User Applications
KDE also contains many user applications written and contributed by the KDE
development team.
Editors: Kate, KWrite, and KEdit
KDE has several text editors available: kate and kwrite include features designed for
programmers, while kedit is a simple text editor. All three editors are used to edit ASCII
files and are not to be confused with word processing programs, which contain many
more formatting features.

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nLinux, various flavors of Unix
including Solaris, and on Microsoft Windows.
**
OpenOffice is documented at http://www.openoffice.org. Its mission is to create, as a community,
the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all
functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format.
kate is a text editor designed for programmers. (That does not mean, however, that you
have to be a programmer to use kate)
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programming languages, project management capabilities, and the ability to have multiple
documents open simultaneously. You can use plugins with kate, set and unset bookmarks,
and open an embedded konsole terminal emulator.
kwrite has also been optimized for programming. Like kate, it provides syntax
highlighting and the ability to use different fonts and styles (e.g., italics and bold). You
can also configure kwrite to specify such features as indentation options and various other
editing options.
kedit is a basic text editor that is used as the default KDE text editor. Simpler than kate
and kwrite, kedit i
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extensive features of the other two editors. On the other hand, it starts quickly and is
perfectly adequate for simple text-editing tasks.
Mail and news: KMail and KNode
Although the Konqueror web browser does not include mail capabilities, KDE provides
the dedicated program, kmail for that purpose. Apart from expected features like
receiving and sending mail using different mail protocols, kmail can filter mail into
different folders using user-defined filters. This is useful, for example, for keeping
important business mail separate from mail received from a general mailing list. Sorted
this way, mail can be read in a quiet moment or just quickly browsed and deleted, without
the worry that something important may be lost. kmail also provides seamless PGP
integration for encrypting and signing your email messages.
knode i
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ading Internet-based newsgroups (Usenet). Though it offers
many features for the advanced user, knode was designed to be easily understood even if
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and warnings.
Calculator: KCalc
kcalc i
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and-paste capabilities, explained in Chapter 2, Getting Started Using X. This means that a
number from anywhere can be copied with the left mouse button and then inserted into
the numerical display with the middle mouse button.
Organizer: KOrganizer
KDE also supports a professional level organizer: korganizer, which provides daily,
weekly, and monthly views and can handle repeating events.
Image viewers: KView and KuickShow
KDE provides two image viewers: kview and kuickshow. Both are image viewers, not
image processing applications, but kview has limited image-processing support. If you

PGP, short for Pretty Good Privacy, is public-key encryption for the masses.
need to do serious image processing, you should turn to The GIMP or xv. Both are
explained in Chapter 3, A Selection of Useful X Clients.
kview has more features than kuickshow, including lightness control, gamma correction,
and smoothing, which is especially important for enlarging. You can also filter, rotate, flip
images, and place an image on the desktop as the background image. If you have a
scanner, you can scan an image into kview.
kuickshow is a viewer whose main goal is speed--but at the cost of functionality. It has a
slideshow mode, and it can display an image either as a preview in the kuickshow window
or full size in a separate window.
Screen snapshots: KSnapshot
ksnapshot lets you capture screen images. Most of the figures in this book were taken
using ksnapshot. You can capture either the whole screen or a window, and save it in one
of the following formats: GIF, JPEG, BMP, XPM, PNG, or as a PostScript image. (See
Chapter 3 for an explanation of these image formats.)
Special viewer: KGhostView
For viewing PostScript and PDF files, KDE provides the program kghostview.
Alternative non-KDE programs are gv (Ghostview) for PostScript files, and acroread
(Acrobat Reader) or xpdf for PDF files.
Audio: KsCD, Noatun, and KMix
You can listen to audio CDs using the program kscd or MP3 files with noatun. kmix is a
mixer with a friendly user interface.
kscd is a CD player that supports the CDDB, the Internet-accessed database of available
audio CDs. Using the unique number assigned to every commercial CD, you can
download a list of the titles on the CD, and use that list to play particular tracks. A slidecontrol in kscd is used to adjust the output volume. You do not need a soundcard--the
CD-ROM’
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because of its plugin support, you can expand its capabilities by using third-party plugins
or even by writing your own.
In fact, noatun is so plugin-oriented that it requires both a play plugin and one or more
user interface plugins. A default user interface plugin provides an interface that is
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system; nor the volume of all your sound cards; this small, full-featured program gives
you slider controls for all devices on all your sound cards.
Games
KDE comes bundled with many small games. They might not be comparable to the
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Games are grouped into arcade games like KAsteroids, board games like KBattleship and
KReversi, card games like KPoker, and strategy games like KMines and Konquest.
System Tools
KDE also has its own repertoire of tools that help you work with and manage the system..
File tool: Find Files
kfind (analogous to the Unix find c
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filesystem location, age, and filetype to help kfind find the file you want.
Process management: KDE System Guard
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processes, that is, send the kill signal to the processes that you have marked. Enabling the
Tree checkbox results in the display of the process hierarchy; e.g., which process started
which other processes.
Behind the System Load tab is a graphical output of the CPU load and its load average,
use of the physical memory in regards to application, buffer, and cache usage, and the
amount of swap memory being used.
Disk management: KDiskFree
kdf (analogous to the df command) shows how much space is available on each filesystem
or device. In addition, if you right-click on an entry, you can mount or unmount that
device.
Scheduling tasks: KCron
kcron is a graphical front-end to the Unix cron command. It displays a list of scheduled
tasks, and lets you add, modify, and delete tasks.
Managing user accounts: KUser
kuser is a tool for managing user and group accounts; as such, it requires root privileges
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.There are two tabs,
for user accounts and group accounts; from each tab, you can add, edit, and delete
accounts.
KDE and Xinerama
While KDE 3.0 supports Xinerama along with the more traditional multi-screen
technology, the user is often referred to the upcoming KDE 3.1 release for better software
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must first be started with the Xinerama option.
The Window Behavior module in the Look & Feel section of the Control Center offers
some Xinerama settings on the Advanced tab. These settings are only available if
Xinerama is enabled. The settings are: Enable Xinerama Support, Enable Window
Resistance Support, Enable Window Placement Support, and Enable Window Maximize
Support.
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