One of the most powerful additions to KDE 2 is the new browser, Konqueror. Konqueror is different than other file managers and Web browsers that you may have encountered because it is really a generic browser, capable of viewing not only directory listings and Web pages, but many other things as well. Konqueror achieves this by using uniform resource locators (URLs) for all the paths that it browses and by using plug-in modules to display various types of information. Thus, in addition to being a filesystem browser and manager, Konqueror is an FTP client, a World Wide Web browser, an archive file viewer, an image viewer, and much more.
Because all the things that Konqueror can browse are treated the same, Konqueror enables you to perform operations conveniently, with little regard for the location of the item you are manipulating. For example, you can drag links from a World Wide Web page onto your desktop, where you can click them at any time to call them up. You can do the same thing for FTP directories, placing them on your desktop just like folders. When you click a file on a remote FTP site, Konqueror launches it or opens it as if it were a local file. The only difference is that it might take longer as Konqueror downloads the file to your system to operate on it.
In another example, you can drag files directly from a remote FTP site (in a folder in Konqueror) to another KDE application running on your desktop. You can drag a package file on an FTP site directly to the package manager program to view the package information and install it on your system.
This kind of seamless interaction between remote and local objects makes it easier to access and manage the things you work with on a day-to-day basis.
Not all KDE applications are as location-transparent as Konqueror. Just because you can click an FTP site's text file and automatically pull up a text editor doesn't mean that saving from the editor will automatically upload the file back to the FTP site. Unfortunately, you might find that when you save the file, you are simply updating the temporary file, which will be deleted when you close the text editor. Hopefully this will be improved in future versions of KDE.
Konqueror is not just a viewer. It is also a manager that can be used to adjust and actively manipulate the objects it browses. For example, it uses the KDE file typing system to determine how to launch programs and documents. It recognizes file types on both local and remote files, so it knows what icons to display and what context menus to present to manipulate the items. When you launch a remote file, KDE downloads the file and starts the correct application. You can drag an item from one file manager window to another to make a copy of the item or to make a link to the item. Finally, on your local filesystem, Konqueror enables you to manipulate the filesystem attributes of the item (such as the owner and the permissions) with an easy graphical dialog box.
To get you started with the file manager, some user interface elements are described first. The subsequent sections cover specific tasks you can perform with Konqueror.