by July 7, 2001 0 comments

KDE is a popular desktop environment for Linux and looksand feels like
Microsoft Windows.

K Desktop Environment 2 (KDE 2) is the latest version of this desktop
environment. We’ve included the RPMs of KDE 2 on this month’s CD and here we
take you through the features of this new version.

To install KDE 2, login as root. (We assume that you’re running Red Hat 6.2
from the PC Quest June 2000 CD). Mount this month’s CD and change to the
directory /cdrom/linux/kde2. Issue the following command:

rpm -Uvh * –nodeps

This will install KDE 2. Now edit or create a file .xinitrc in your home
directory (/root if you use root login) using any Linux text editor like Vi or
Joe, and add a line as:


Save the file and type ‘startx’ from the shell prompt to
launch the KDE 2 desktop. Its entire look and feel has changed with version 2
and Windows users will feel right at home with it. Let’s go through the major

The earlier KDE had Kfm as the default file manager and
limited Web browsing support. KDE 2 comes bundled with a powerful file explorer
and Web browser called Konqueror. This lets you peek into compressed archives
like ZIP, TAR, GZ and BZ2. Konqueror has a list of default applications
associated to files that can be directly launched on a mouse click. You can also
access SMB shares (shared Windows folders) using Konqueror.

As a web browser, Konqueror supports Java, JavaScript, HTML
4, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), SSL (Secure Socket Layer for secure
communications) and Netscape Communicator plug-ins like Flash, RealAudio,
RealVideo. It can import Netscape bookmarks. It can access POP based e-mail, for
which you need to type in the URL as pop3://

KDE2 also has an office suite called KOffice, which includes
a word-processor, Kword; a presentation program, Kpresenter; a spreadsheet
application, KSpread; a vector drawing application, KIllustrator; and a graph
plotting application, KChart. However, it doesn’t have a database application

As in any powerful word processor application, KWord supports
spell check, macros, and printing. It can also open and edit Word files. By
default, documents are saved in KWD format, which produces a compressed XML
file. You can’t save these files as Word documents.

KPresenter lets you design slides for your presentations. It
can import PowerPoint 97 presentations. It also supports scripting, which can be
used to precisely control the flow of a presentation. You can also import files
from other KOffice applications.

KSpread is the spreadsheet program and includes numerous
formatting options. You can import data like graphics and text from other KDE
applications and place them inline. You can also import and use Excel 97 files
and Lotus spreadsheets.

KIllustrator is a vector graphics application to draw
graphics using lines and curves. It can be used for designing blueprints,
frameworks, layouts etc. You can export the vector drawing in EPS (Encapsulated
PostScript), XPM (XPM image format), SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), and PPM
(PPM Image Format).

KChart is exclusively for drawing graphs. It can display
statistical data using a variety of graphs like Line, Pie, Bar, Area and 3D

Arts Multimedia Architecture

Arts stands for Analog RealTime Synthesizer. This multimedia
architecture, which is now part of KDE 2, enables playback of multiple audio and
video streams simultaneously. This architecture uses an Arts sound server, which
automatically starts with KDE, and all audio applications make use of it. Arts
includes a modular analog synthesizer and a mixer, with which you can create
sounds and music using different modules. The resulting music can be played on
various output devices.

These are just some of the enhancements made to the new KDE 2
GUI environment. A good tutorial is available at
You can also keep track of the latest development and add-ons from

Shekhar Govindarajan

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