Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

KDE 3 More effective, more fun

KDE 3 More effective, more fun

The Linux desktop world reached another milestone in April when the third major version of the K Desktop Environment (KDE 3.0) hit download servers.

As many as three-quarters of all Linux desktop systems use KDE as their primary desktop. While the GNOME desktop has made great strides over the last few years, KDE is clearly the more stable and mature choice for business users.

This is a basic overview of what's new, what works and changes in store for current KDE 2.x users.

Those changes center around a new basic architecture for the desktop, which means a big download for those cutting-edge types who will not wait for their favorite distribution to include KDE 3. The KDE2-Compat RPM package is 16MB, and is essential for you to run your current KDE applications.

What's New?
So what does this new architecture support? The goal was to make KDE ready for enterprise deployment. It is more standards-compliant, and generally more robust. Feature-wise, the enhancements included in KDE 3 are focused on five areas:

  • Easier configuration of printers and fonts from the Control Center
  • A bolder Konqueror file manager and Web browser
  • The free KDevelop integrated development environment for writing new software
  • More integrated multimedia support
  • The KDE Personal Information Manager tools (KMail, KOrganizer, KAddressBook, etc.)
For the most part, KDE 3 delivers on its promises. Some things more so than others. Testing was carried out on a SuSE 8.0 system (the first distribution to ship with KDE 3.0). The other major distributions should be rolling out the new desktop over the summer.

Taking Charge with Control Center
Most system customization takes place in the KDE Control Center, similar to the Windows Control Panel, but much easier to navigate. It is still the place to set up your wallpaper, screensaver and other eye candy (in the Look & Feel section), but a few wizards pull some heavy loads as well.

Printing files in Linux systems has always been a chore and a mystery. This is primarily due to a lack of OEM printer drivers for Linux. With the rise in Linux's popularity in the last few years, this has changed a bit, and some developers have tried with some success in creating open source drivers. With the arrival of the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), printing has become almost easy--almost.

The KPrint manager aims to make Linux printing even easier to use. It is not there yet, but is quite promising. KPrint comes with a large driver database, and the Add Printer wizard is very straightforward in its operation. By default, KPrint will let you print almost anything to Adobe PDF, email and/or fax files from any application.

Control Center also has a very slick font installation interface. People with dual-boot and networked systems in particular will love the ease with which you can add TrueType fonts from any accessible Windows system. Besides that, KDE 3 will also anti-alias your fonts, so that words can display on your KDE screen nearly as well as they do on a more proprietary OS. The anti-aliasing is not yet world-class, but I am hopeful that this will improve rather quickly.

Making New Software
KDE 3.0 offers what may be the first-ever integrated software development environment included in a desktop environment for the masses: KDevelop. Of course, Linux systems have nearly always had the GNU C Compiler (gcc) and programming editors like vi and emacs, but KDevelop gives open source and free software developers a GUI environment for writing software with a GUI. You know, sorta Visual-like. In addition to the IDE, you get KBabel, an internationalization/localization tool and yet another programmer's editor, Kate.

Managing Information
GNOME users have Evolution to manage their lives (that is, their e-mail, to-do list, calendar and contacts). KDE 3 counters with upgraded versions of KMail, KOrganizer and several auxiliary programs now part of the KDE PIM suite.

KOrganizer is about what you would expect from a calendar/to-do program. It is quite configurable, will import data from any vCal-compliant application (including Microsoft Outlook) and will sync to your Palm device (through the KPilot conduit). One thing I like about it is the five-level priority settings for to-do items. The default priority is three, not one. Let's face it, having everything as a number one priority is the same as having no priorities at all, right?

I've been using KMail as my primary mail client for nearly a year now, and I find using it as comfortable as my old standby, Eudora. The filters are good, and it's helping me rid myself of spam.

In a future article, I will go into more depth on using the PIM suite to manage your life and data.

Fun with Multimedia
The MP3 revolution walked hand-in-hand with the open source revolution. It has certainly had its reflection in the free software development community. So the splashiest new applications in KDE 3 are the media players.

Noatun is the audio and video player. It supports MPEG video, MP3 and the new Ogg Vorbis audio formats. Plugins let you set up playlists, edit tags (though apparently only version 1 tags) and change the interface. Playback is excellent, but the playlist editor froze completely when I attempted to load my entire MP3 collection into it. This was a task that XMMS handled easily.

Creating a playlist is also a tricky endeavor, since it is not obvious that you have to open the editor, instead of using the Open dialog to select multiple tracks. Note also that if you launch a playlist while another track is playing, the first track will quit to play the list.

KDE 3 also comes with a video-only player called aKtion. The shipping version was not yet ready for prime time. Video playback was really choppy, and sound was broken.

The Bottom Line
For businesses already running Linux on the desktop, this is a good upgrade. KPrint really does simplify the printing setup process. The PIM tools, while not completely integrated in one application (a plus for some), are certainly useful.

Is there anything here that will immediately convert a Windows shop to Linux. No. For those who don't want to pony up to Microsoft under their new licensing scheme, there's certainly no barrier anymore to running Linux. KDE 3.0 can give as much familiarity as the standard office worker needs when they boot up.

More Stories By Mike McCallister

Mike McCallister is a freelance Linux writer based in Milwaukee and is constantly on the lookout for interesting documentation projects. Mike is the author of Computer Certification Handbook (2000, Arco Press).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.