Managing Files with Kubuntu
Now that you have your system installed and set up the way you would like, it is time to learn how to navigate the different files and access information in Kubuntu. This starts with the default file manager, Dolphin. Konqueror, another application that can be used both as a Web browser and a file manager, is discussed later in the chapter.
Introduction to Dolphin
Dolphin was first introduced during the 7.10 release schedule as d3lphin. The KDE 4 version, Dolphin, is now included as the default file manager (see Figure 8-22).
Figure 8-22 Viewing the Home Directory in Dolphin
Dolphin is a very powerful file manager that nicely complements Konqueror. The two programs are often used in tandem.
Dolphin focuses only on local files, is built on the Konqueror back end, and should be familiar to many KDE users. Konqueror, which is also the KDE Web browser, was the previous default file manager. Over time, Konqueror development focused increasingly on the Web browser, while ignoring its file manager functionality.
Another key feature of Dolphin is the ability to use a split view to have multiple directories open in the same window, without having to switch tabs.
Changes to the File Structure
Kubuntu 11.04 release utilizes the XDG Base Directory Specification of the freedesktop.org standards.
XDG directories specify a default set of folders within a user's home directory. Some of these folders are Desktop, Downloads, Templates, Music, and Video. The goal is to help create a standard location for files to be stored in a variety of different desktop environments (see Figure 8-23).
Figure 8-23 Viewing XDG directories in Dolphin
Introduction to Konqueror
Konqueror may be the old default file manager in Kubuntu, but it still has a lot to offer. As a file manager, Konqueror can do nearly everything you need (Figure 8-24). You can browse files through either an icon view or a tree view. Copying, pasting, moving, and deleting files are all simple tasks with Konqueror. A nice feature of Konqueror is that directories are automatically updated. This means that if a file is created in a directory currently being viewed, you do not need to refresh the directory to see the changes.
Figure 8-24 Konqueror
One of the great things about Konqueror is how much you can do within it. Need access to media files? Simply type media:/ and browse your media files. All kinds of other shortcuts, called kioslaves, exist in Konqueror, including ones for searching the Web with Google (gg:/KEYWORD) and even browsing files via ssh through sftp://. Need help finding a file on your system? Simply use locate:/ to have Konqueror find it for you. You can visit the different system folders through system:/. Many shortcuts and keywords like this are built into Konqueror, including Google Suggest in the search bar.
Accessing Windows Partitions
A lot of people still have Windows partitions on their hard drives and would like to access the information stored there. Kubuntu can browse these files in read-only mode. By default, Kubuntu mounts the Windows partition in the /media directory. See Figure 8-25 for an example of accessing the Windows drive in Dolphin.
Figure 8-25 Accessing the Windows partition in Dolphin
Accessing USB Drives
USB drives are everywhere these days, and Kubuntu handles them quite easily. Simply connect your USB drive, and it will mount automatically. It will then be available under Dolphin through the media folder. Before removing the drive, make sure you unmount it by right-clicking on the device and selecting Eject. The device can then be safely removed.
Amarok is the default application for browsing and managing your music collection. Kubuntu 11.04 includes Amarok 2, which is a large rewrite of Amarok. Amarok is a powerful program that can track your podcasts and music and even provides access to an open music store (Magnatune). Magnatune is a music store that is completely free of DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions. Looking for Online Radio stations? Amarok provides access to multiple online radio stations through Cool Streams and also Shoutcast Streams. Amarok can also manage your portable music player (Figure 8-26). Once you have connected your music player, it will show up in the device section. Then feel free to manage your files and playlists.
Figure 8-26 Managing your music player in Amarok
The first time Amarok is launched, it recommends installing additional multimedia packages from the restricted repository. The recommended packages are for MP3 Tag Reading and Encoding, Flash, Video Codecs, MPEG Plug-ins, and DVD Reading. A notification from Update Notifier will load in the Taskbar, and after double-clicking, you will be prompted to select which components to install. To install these packages, you need the administrative password. See Chapter 3's discussion of Ubuntu Multimedia for more information about media codecs and related issues.