Konquer Your File Management with KIO by Jes Hall
K Input/Output libraries, or kioslaves, are favorite features for most new KDE and Linux users. Reprinted from TUX Magazine issue number 14
In the course of my day, I generally use a wide variety of desktop environments. Although I spend most of my time in KDE, I do use GNOME, Microsoft Windows and Apple's OS X on an almost daily basis. When using these other environments, I realize just how much I've come to depend on Konqueror to simplify my work flow. I try to type fish:/ URLs into Apple's Finder. I am momentarily confused when a quick Alt-F2 media:/ fails to work as expected in GNOME. I feel downright lost in Windows without help:/. I guess I need to accept the fact that I'm addicted to KIO.
Kioslaves are plugins that extend functionality all over KDE. They can be accessed through every standard file dialog, as well as through Konqueror and the run command box. They form the core of Konqueror's functionality as both Web browser and file manager. You probably already use kioslaves without realizing it, as Konqueror's HTTP and FTP functionality is implemented through KIO.
The system kioslave is, in essence, a meta-kioslave. To access the system kioslave, type system:/ into the Konqueror address bar. From here, you can access the Home, Remote, Media, Trash and Users kioslaves.
The Home kioslave takes you to your home folder, and the Users kioslave shows you the home directories of other users on the system. This allows you to manipulate files in home directories of other users who might have chosen to give permissions for others to read or modify.
Figure 1. My Home Network, Showing Various SMB Workgroups
The remote places kioslave (accessed directly with remote:/) allows you to browse files on remote hosts using Microsoft Windows SMB file sharing, NFS, Bluetooth and SSH, all through the familiar Konqueror interface.
The Add a Network Folder wizard helps you create a shortcut to a network share you plan to access often. To create a shortcut, click Add a Network Folder, and select the type of network share you would like to access. Click Next, and then fill out the details in the provided form. If you have left the box Create an icon for this remote folder ticked, a shortcut to this connection appears in the remote:/ kioslave window.
The media kioslave lets you access storage media in a user-friendly manner. On recent KDE versions, support for the hal + dbus back end allows for removable devices to be displayed and accessed dynamically without the need to resort to the command line. CD and DVD media can be accessed through media:/, as well as USB Flash keys, MP3 players, cameras, hard disks and any other device that acts as a generic USB storage medium.
Figure 2. The Media Kioslave, Showing Various Types of Removable Media
The trash kioslave in KDE versions 3.4 and greater provides a freedesktop.org-compliant trash protocol for KDE applications. This specification supplies some nifty new features.
Previously, if you trashed two files with the same name, the older file would have been overwritten. Now, thanks to the enhanced trash standard, KDE trash supports trashing of multiple files with the same name. For example, if you had trashed two revisions of the same file or two files with the same name from different locations on the disk, they will both show up in the trash. To see what time the file was trashed or where it came from, right-click on the file, and select Properties. The Meta Info tab shows the time and date the file was deleted and its original location in the filesystem. To restore the file, right-click on the file and select restore, or simply drag the file out of the trash into any other directory in the Konqueror file manager.
Figure 3. The Trash Kioslave, Showing Two Files with the Same Name in the Trash
The settings kioslave (settings:/) provides a simplified view of system settings—a little like the Microsoft Windows' control panel. All of the configuration options from the KDE Control Center can be found here. One advantage to using this view of the KDE Control Center is that you can create a shortcut on your desktop to an often-used settings dialog by dragging the icon to your desktop and selecting Link here.
The audiocd kioslave is a favorite of mine. If the correct libraries and codecs are installed, audiocd:/ lets you rip and encode to Flac, Ogg or MP3 by drag and drop. It doesn't get much easier than that. KDE even queries on-line CD databases to fill in the album, artist and track names for you.
Dragging and dropping the folders entitled MP3, Ogg Vorbis or FLAC lets you get the entire CD or any individual track. To rip the entire CD as a single file, drag and drop the encoding you prefer from the Full CD folder.
You can tweak the quality settings of MP3 and Ogg encoding in the KDE Control Center as well as the format of the file names. Navigate to Sound & Multimedia→Audio CDs, and adjust the settings accordingly. Here you also can set the default CD device if you have more than one.
Figure 4. The Audiocd Kioslave, Ripping and Encoding a CD to Ogg Vorbis Format
The help kioslave is a simplified help browser for the KDE desktop. Typing help:/kappname into the Konqueror address bar displays the help documentation for that application. Incidentally, typing help:/kioslave lists the installed kioslaves on the system and lets you access the help files for those that are documented.
Many more kioslaves exist than are detailed here. To see a full listing, type help:/kioslave in any Konqueror window or in the run command box, or navigate to Protocols in the KDE Info Centre. Many KDE add-on applications install their own kioslaves, and user-contributed kioslaves can be found at http://kde-apps.org.
Jes Hall is a Systems Administrator and open-source developer from New Zealand. She's passionate about helping open source bring life-changing software and information to those who might otherwise not have them.