Introducing Your Desktop Applications
Konqueror: File Manager, Browser, and More
You'll be using Konqueror a lot. This is the KDE file manager that lets you work with files and folders. Konqueror makes it easy to create folders (or directories, as they are known in the Linux world), copy, delete, and move other folders and files around by dragging and dropping from one to the other. Konqueror is also a Web browser from which you can surf the Internet, as well as a universal file viewer so you can view and organize your photo collection, preview documents, and much, much more.
KPPP, the KDE Internet Dialer
Most ISPs provide dial-up access through the Point-to-Point Protocol, or PPP. The KDE program that gets you connected to the Internet with a modem is called kppp. On a standard KDE setup, you'll find it under Kicker's big K by choosing the Internet menu, then clicking Internet Dialer. On Mandrake, look under Networking, then Remote Access; and Red Hat has it under Extras and Internet. You can always just start the application with the command kppp & from an X window terminal session or by using your old friend, the
Kmail, the KDE E-mail Client
For a powerful, graphical email client, you need look no further than your KDE desktop. Its email package is called Kmail, and I'm going to tell you all about it. Kmail can be run as a solo application but it is also tightly integrated into the new and powerful Kontact groupware suite. Users coming from Outlook or similar clients will be familiar with the handy accessibility of multiple functions such as addressbooks, calendaring, todo lists, and so on.
On a default installation of the KDE desktop, you'll find an icon for Kmail already sitting in your Kicker panel. The icon has an envelope leaning against an orange E. You can also get to it by clicking the big K, looking into the Internet submenu, and selecting Kmail from there.
What’s hard for some people moving to Linux is saying goodbye to certain familiar applications. One of the most commonly used email packages in the Windows world is Outlook and its cousin, Outlook Express. Those users will feel right at home on their new Linux desktops when they fire up Evolution. A look at the following image will no doubt seem extremely familiar. In fact, Evolution looks and feels like Outlook but with some very important improvements.
Evolution is covered in detail in the November 2005 issue of TUX.
The GIMP is the most widely used piece of graphics software in the Linux world, similar to the commercial Photoshop application. It is one of those programs that has helped create an identity for Linux. Of course, there are plenty of programs out there, as I'm sure I have demonstrated by this point in the book, but the GIMP is special in some ways. The Linux community has used it to create images, buttons, desktop themes, window decorations, and more. Even the Linux mascot, Tux the Penguin, as created by Larry Ewing (the mascot's best-known incarnation) was a product of the GIMP. The GIMP is an amazingly powerful piece of software, yet the basics are very simple, as well. With a little bit of work, a lot of fun, and a hint of experimentation, anyone can use the GIMP to turn out a fantastic piece of professional-quality art.
Look for Michael J. Hammel's GIMP articles in the print edition of TUX.
A number of scanning programs exist for Linux, and most are front ends to a package called SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy). One such front end is included with your Linux system. Kooka, part of KDE, is one such program. Kooka is both a scan and optical character recognition (OCR) program. What this means is that you can use it to scan a document of text and export that text back into a word processing package of some sort for further editing. You'll find Kooka under the main Multimedia or Graphics menu but you can also start the program from the shell or with your quicklauncher