Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Konqueror in KDE 4.0 RC2

Konqueror has the distinction of being the default file manager as well as the default web browser of KDE 3.xx. It supports basic file management on local UNIX filesystems, from simple cut/copy and paste operations to advanced remote and local network file browsing. It has support for KIO slaves and has the KParts object through which it can embed components like media player, KWord etc. As a web browser it is HTML 4.01 compliant, supporting Java applets, JavaScript, CSS 1, CSS 2.1, as well as Netscape plugins (for example, Flash or RealVideo plugins).
Konqueror is a also universal viewing application, capable of embedding read-only viewing components in itself to view documents without ever launching another application.

Its like the center of my KDE desktop, hence when KDE devs decided to limit Konqueror as a web browser and introduce Dolphin as the default KDE file manager, I was disappointed. KDE devs, however, had their own reasons and say that what often happens in Konqueror when you are browsing the internet is that Konqueror still wants to behave as a file manager and not a web browser. This split behavior is easily noticed through elements such as toolbar buttons. For example: the "Up" arrow is still available on the toolbar even when browsing Google Maps, but it is totally irrelevant in this context; another is having a web bookmarks toolbar visible while sorting icons in your /home folder.

Here is my take on the new konqueror.
The default interface still remains very similar to the earlier one, it still acts as a file manager ( and I still like it over Dolphin)


I, however, faced a little problem while accessing "Storage Media" and got the error that Protocol not supported: Media

I found a similar issue with Dolphin, luckily the Konqueror of KDE 3 works and I was able to view my DVD contents. I will limit myself to using Konqueror as a web browser and will cover it differences with Dolphin when I review Dolphin.

Konqueror now supports OT4 based WebKit, a modified version of KHTML used by Apple in Safari web browser. It renders a variety of pages very nicely.


The rendering is as neat as we would expect it in Firefox or IE. Konqueror, by default, does not allow any cookies and asks user permission. While this acts as a good security measure, this can easily disturb a novice user. I believe some cookies should be allowed.
I found Konqueror too much integrated with Konsole, it has a option to start Konsole (Tools -> Open Terminal) and another option to start Konsole embedded in Konqueror (Window -> Show Terminal Emulator). If we use Konqueror as a file manager, then Konsole integration makes perfect sense, but purely as a web browser, I really fail to understand the importance of integrating Konsole within Konqueror, but KDE devs must have their own reasons.

Another interesting feature is integration of download manager KGet. Now this was possible even in KDE 3.x konqueror, but with KDE 4.0 an icon for KGet comes floating to the desktop and we can simply drag and drop links from konqueror to KGet. Not only is this handy, it also looks cool!!. Talking about cool feature, we have different split views in Konqueror (Window -> Split View (left/right and Top/Bottom) ).
Check it out.


I really found the split views usable. Foe instance if I want to compare the Page Hit Ranks, in Distrowatch, of PCLinuxOS and OpenSUSE for different Time frames, I can simply open two views ( Left/Right) and compare all distributions. We can also open different websites in different views. Like I have opened Distrowatch in two of the views and Linux Today in the third.

The KDE 3.X Konqueror had and option to configure the plugins in "Configure Konqueror". With this option I could easily specify the mozilla plugins I want Konqueror to use, notably java and flash plugins. In Settings of KDE 4.0 Konqueror, I did not find an option to specify plugins, also I does not take the Firefox plugins by default, hence I do not have flash integrated into KDE 4.0 konqueror and cannot watch youtube videos.
This is expected as KDE 4.0 is still not stable, but I wish that on 11th when the devs make the stable version public, they enable flash in Konqueror.
Finally, I found Konqueror 4.0 to be faster than Konqueror 3.x and it appears that Konqueror 4.0 renders better. This might be a case on my OpenSUSE desktop, btu as OpenSUSE is one of the first distribution to release packages and LiveCD for KDE 4.0, I believe that OpenSUSE does not do much modifications.






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11 comments:

lefty crupps said...

I really like Konqueror's power in the KDE3 series; I hope this remains for KDE4 but in a cleaner fashion.

The Up button is essential for web browsing, IMHO. I add KDEFF and Konquefox to my Firefox just to give it this (and more) functionality which I miss in Firefox but cannot use in Konqueror due to its rendering.

Here's to the new Konqueror and to KDE4 -- a new era is approaching!

Abhay said...

Thanks lefty,
I too believe that Konqueror in KDE 4.0 will be a landmark release. I specially like its rendering and configurations.

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