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

  • November 17, 2000
  • By Christopher Molnar
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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.

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