Perhaps the most versatile, feature-rich web browser available today is on your Desktop and you may not even know its name.
Konqueror the Internet Protocol Client
One of the most interesting and useful features of Konqueror is its ability to act as a client for almost any Internet protocol such as ftp, fish(ssh), smb/cifs, and so on. This is accomplished through the use of KIO plugins referred to as IOSlaves. There is also a long list of local protocols such as audiocd, man, lan, settings, and others. To see a full list of the protocols that are supported, open the KDE Control Center->KDE Components->File Manager->Previews & Meta-Data. You can also check online at: http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdebase/kioslave/index.html.
Konqueror can use its file manager powers to connect securely to a remote host and browse a filesystem, open files, create new files, and so on via fish. To use fish, or any Internet protocol, enter the name of the protocol into the Location field and the name of the host you wish to connect to. Konqueror makes no distinction between fish and sftp for connectivity–the experience is the same for you–a remote file manager.
If you have never connected to this host before, you will be prompted with the remote host’s RSA key fingerprint (as shown in Figure 3) and asked if you would like to continue with the connection. This prompt and acceptance is familiar to those of you who have used ssh at the command line to connect to a remote host. Once you accept the connection, you will be prompted for your password. See Figure 4. After you have been authenticated by the remote host, you are placed into your home directory. Konqueror now becomes a file manager on the remote host restricted only by your user account permissions.
Figure 3: RSA Key Prompt
Figure 4: SSH Password Authentication
To copy files to your local system, right-click the file or files you wish to copy and select Copy To->Home Folder->Copy Here. To copy files from the local host to the remote host, open a new tab: Location->New Tab. In the new tab, enter the location from which you want to copy files. You can then copy or cut and paste to the remote host’s window. You can also drag and drop between windows and hosts using Konqueror.
You can also use Konqueror to connect to Windows network shares. To do this, you use the smb protocol.
If the share is secure, you will be prompted for a username and password. Sometimes using a simple username/password pair will not allow you to connect to a share. You may have to use the computer name or domain with your username to make the connection. When your connection to the share has been established, you may use the share just as you would as if you had connected by fish to a Linux system. Each network connection is platform independent.
Konqueror makes no changes to its behavior based on the remote connection. You could be browsing an nfs share in one tab, a samba share in another, and a fish connection in a third. Fortunately Konqueror keeps track of the different types of connection, for your benefit, in the Location field. Regardless of where you browse or function you perform, if it is on a remote host; the connection parameter remains in the Location field. See Figure 5.
Figure 5: Browing Multiple Locations
- fish (ssh)
Konqueror the Local Protocol Client
Perhaps the most unique feature of Konqueror is its ability to be an interactive Desktop manager. You can use the usual path to get to your CDROM drive, Settings, Trash, Applications, etc. but with Konqueror, you don’t have to. Local protocol resources are browsed similarly to remote ones. In the Location field, enter:
Note that there is a single slash (/) after the colon in the local protocols. These are the icons you see if you had used the KDE Control Center->Internet and Network. Refer to Figure 6. Among these local protocols is audiocd which allows you to browse the contents of an audio CD as shown in Figure 7. The files you see in Figure audio are in the WAV format but if you notice the other folders; you will see that you can copy the files from the CD in multiple formats. The files are available in CDA, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV, and even as a full CD extraction in any of the formats.
Figure 6: KDE Settings Window
Figure 7: Audio CD Files Ready to Rip
Your new favorite method for viewing man pages may be by using Konqueror’s man protocol. To use it, type man:/command.
See Figure 8 how Konqueror handles man pages. It makes man page pleasant to look at and in a printable format as well.
Figure 8: man ps
Taking Konqueror to the Next Level
Do you want the newest features and bug fixes for, or the newest version of, Konqueror? This is where it gets a little sticky and offputting for newer users. You have to upgrade KDE to upgrade Konqueror because Konqueror is part of the kdebase tree. If your distribution doesn’t have the latest version of kde packages available via apt-get or yum, then you must resort to compiling from source. At a minimum, you will need the kdebase and kdelibs packages or sources.
Should you decide to upgrade KDE via source, you need the following prerequisites:
- Qt 3.3.2 or higher
- C++ 2.95.x or higher
- OpenSSL 0.9.6 or higher
- libxml2 2.3.13 or higher
And when you compile KDE components, you will need to do so in this order:
- All other KDE packages
This order is necessary to meet the dependencies for each package. Please note that even if you check your prerequisites, you may have to download the sources for one or more and compile them prior to attempting any of the KDE sources. This is especially true on rpm-based systems.
This article has barely scratched the surface of the capabilities and features of Konqueror but at least now you have an idea of what Konqueror is and what it can do for you. It is the most versatile application I have ever had the pleasure to use. KDE has always been my personal choice for a Linux Window Manager and Konqueror further justifies that choice. To find out everything there is to know about Konqueror, visit the website.
Kenneth Hess is a Linux evangelist and freelance technical writer on a variety of open source topics including Linux, SQL, databases, and web services. Ken can be reached via his website at http://www.kenhess.com
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