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Konqueror 3.0.1 makes file management easy

Konqueror 3.0.1 makes file management easy

Real Linux geeks do everything from the command line. Run programs, manage files, administer networks-all that fun stuff. We don't need no stinkin' mouse clicks.

There is no doubt that the command line is a most powerful thing. It does things quickly and with little fuss. And a keyboard is nearly always faster than a mouse, if you know your way around the keyboard.

Yet there's just no avoiding the awful truth: If you are making the transition from a proprietary operating system, you are addicted to using the rodent. You know how it works. You can right-click with the best of them. Maybe you know some hotkeys to speed things up in some programs, but mostly you type when you have an e-mail to send or a document to put together.

Managing files? Hardly anyone's favorite thing to do, but it can be a daily chore. And Windows makes it even more of a chore with its brain-dead file manager, Explorer. This app is so bad that there are several third-party Windows file managers that some people actually spend money on to get their work done. Trust me-I'm one of them.

Fortunately, the wizards who develop the KDE desktop have come to the rescue for Linux desktop users. In Konqueror version 3.0.1, powerful yet friendly file management is a click or two away.

Oh, and you know that Windows Explorer add-on that browses the Web? Konqueror steals that idea too, and does it very nicely.

I tested Konqueror v3.0.1 under SuSE Linux v8 on a Dell Dimension desktop.

Moving files around with the greatest of ease
As a file manager, Konqueror holds its own with the best Windows Explorer replacements. I tried performing some of my favorite "can't do this in Explorer" tricks with Konqueror, and it handled all of them just beautifully.

Click the Home directory button in the Panel or desktop and you will find the basic configuration of Konqueror. Play with the toolbar a bit and you'll see how easy it is to move things around. Drag a file from one directory to another-instead of deciding for itself what you want to do with this file when you drop it, it asks you!

The toolbars are movable and endlessly customizable with a right-click into the customize dialog. Want to drag a set of files from deep inside one user's home directory to another's? Choose the Split View from the Window menu (you get a choice of having the new window appear on the bottom or right). You can have as many of these split views as you want (or at least four, which is where I stopped).

Between the navigation panel (which you may recognize as the folder tree) and the file panel are a set of Extra Buttons with some handy things to add to your display. SysAdmins can have quick access to other machines on the LAN with the Other Services button. You can show your browser bookmarks and history inside the file manager. You can even drag multimedia files into a miniplayer for relaxation while you're messing with your files.

Once you have Konqueror looking exactly the way you want it, you can save the configuration and recall it at any time. You can even use the browser configuration for your file manager, if you're so inclined. Switching from one configuration to another is a three-click operation.

Need to upload your newly freshened website to your host? Type the FTP address in the location bar and log in. Drag the file(s) over and it's done.

Support for displaying the contents of tarballs and other archives is pretty nice. Click on a tarball in the file pane and Konqueror will show you its contents. Click on a Zip archive, and Ark, the KDE archive manager pops up.

Need to locate a config file, or that critical presentation you wrote in KPresenter last month? The kdf Find utility lets you search by date, time, file type, even of a specified size.

One weakness I found is that there's no obvious way to print a list of files directly from Konqueror. You can save Find results to a file, though.

Konqueror the Browser not yet first class
As a web browser, Konqueror 3.0.1 is a great improvement over earlier versions, but it still has a way to go to be anyone's first choice.

The display of most pages is better, primarily because of better support for anti-aliased fonts. Since I was able to import all the TrueType fonts from the Windows side of my box into KDE through the Control Center, this is a big plus. Overall, the browser is more stable as well.

Again, the thing I like most about Konqueror is the customizability. I recommend loading the Extra toolbar in the browser. These include some useful, and wacky, plug-ins included in the kdeaddons package. Click the Babelfish icon to display the current page in a translation window; you can pick the translation from a limited list (no Swedish Chef option, I'm afraid).

Other plug-ins let you validate a page's HTML, peruse the DOM Tree, and easily change how Konqueror identifies itself to a server.

Cookie management is excellent, and not too tedious. By default, Konqueror notifies you when a cookie wants to load, with where it comes from. You can choose to accept (or reject) just this cookie, add the server to a protected list ("accept all cookies from this server"), or simply turn off the request and accept all cookies.

Bookmark management is also good, in that it's easy to create a new folder and put the bookmark in it without having to go into a full-blown bookmark editor. Unfortunately, you can only import existing Netscape 4.x bookmarks into Konqueror this time around.

Konqueror also had trouble loading Java applets on some pages that other browsers (read Mozilla) displayed quite nicely. I can report that Konqueror handled PDF files with aplomb, immediately sending them over to KGhostView.

Konqueror 3.0.1 is a terrific GUI file manager that can browse the Web moderately well. By itself, this is worth upgrading from KDE 2.x. It certainly beats the stuffing out of Windows Explorer, and is at least the equal of the late lamented Eazel file manager.

As a browser, it's not quite as fast as Galeon. It's not quite as full-featured as Mozilla. It's more stable than Netscape 6. It'll do in a pinch.

More Stories By Mike McCallister

Mike McCallister is a freelance Linux writer based in Milwaukee and is constantly on the lookout for interesting documentation projects. Mike is the author of Computer Certification Handbook (2000, Arco Press).

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