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, Konqueror.
Introduction to Konqueror
Konqueror is a very powerful file manager that can do more than just browse your directories—it is also the second Web browser to pass the ACID2 test. As a file manager, Konqueror can do nearly everything you need (Figure 7-44). 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 don't need to refresh the directory to see the changes.
Figure 7-44 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.
Another feature of Kubuntu is a built-in universal viewer. Click on a file, and it will show the file contents. This works for images, postscript files, and many other file types. Any new type of file just needs to register to work in this way, which the creator of the application takes care of.
Ripping Audio CDs
While Amarok (which we'll discuss soon) can help you manage your music collection, Konqueror can help you add (rip) CDs to your collection so you can listen to them on your iPod or MP3 device. Simply place the CD into the CD-ROM drive, and, when prompted, open it up in a new window. There will be different media formats. For example, if you are using the Ogg Vorbis format (the default format for music files in Kubuntu), open the folder and copy the music files to the directory where you store your collection.
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. Each Windows partition needs to be mounted before it can be accessed in Konqueror. This is a very simple process.
By default, Kubuntu mounts all of its media in the /media directory, and your Windows directory will be mounted in the same location. First, create a directory. Next, mount the partition to that directory. All of this work will be done from the command line, so open up Konsole, which is Kubuntu's terminal program (Figure 7-45), create the directory by typing sudo mkdir /media/windows, and enter your password. After the directory is created, mount the directory by typing the following: sudo mount/dev/hda1/ /media/windows -t ntfs -o nls=utf8,umask=0222. In simpler terms, this command will mount the directory in the correct folder with permissions that will allow you to access it in Konqueror. (Note: Read-only access is limited to NTFS partitions. Kubuntu can read and write to partitions formatted as FAT.)
Figure 7-45 Konsole with commands
Now you can browse files that are stored on your Windows partition.
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 Konqueror through the media folder. Before removing the drive, make sure that you unmount it by right-clicking on the device and selecting Eject. The device can then be safely removed.
Kubuntu comes with a great program called Amarok (Figure 7-46) that can help manage all of your music files.
Figure 7-46 Amarok
This application serves as a full-fledged media library that can create playlists, track how often you listen to certain songs, play your music CDs, and even interact with your iPod. Looking for lyrics to the song that is currently playing? Amarok can find them. Wondering what the CD cover of your favorite new album looks like? Amarok can grab this information for you as well. Along with media stored locally, Amarok can track podcasts and even let you listen to your favorite Internet radio stations. Music is stored in a collection library that is arranged by artist, album, and song based on the tags built into the media. Each song can be rated as well, which can help determine how frequently it will appear during shuffle mode. After you launch Amarok for the first time, the main window will open, and you will be prompted to build your music collection. Simply select the location where your music is stored, and Amarok will do the rest.
Now that your collection is configured, it is time to create some playlists. Simply select the songs you want to hear, and drag them to the Playlists pane. If you want to listen to random selections from all of your music, select Dynamic Mode, and Amarok will create a playlist based on past listening habits. The more you listen to a certain song, the greater the chance that song will repeat or a similar song will appear in the dynamic playlist.