What is KDE?
Long time ago before the time of the dinosaurs the only way to work with UNIX was to go behind a terminal screen and punch in some commands. With the coming of graphical interfaces like Windows and Apple OS, the UNIX guys did not want to be left behind so they came up with there own versions of user's graphical interfaces. I say interfaces because you have quite a few of these interfaces flying around. In this article we are going to talk about one of these interfaces called KDE. KDE stands for Kool Desktop Environment.
The Ideal behind KDE is to make the use of UNIX system accessible to everyone. Today KDE is not only used by UNIX guys but Linux has made it very popular. KDE seeks to fill the need for an easy to use desktop for UNIX workstations, similar to the desktop environments found under the MacOS or Microsoft Windows. We believe that the UNIX operating system is the best operating system available today. In fact UNIX has been the undisputed choice of the information technology professional for many years. When it comes to stability, scalability and openness there is no competition to UNIX. However, the lack of an easy to use contemporary desktop environment for UNIX has prevented UNIX from finding its way onto the desktops of the typical computer user in offices and homes. UNIX dominates the server market and is the preferred computing platform for computing professional and scientists. Without UNIX the internet would not be. But UNIX did not address the needs of the average computer user. This fact is particularly unfortunate since a number of implementations of UNIX (Debian GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD etc.) are freely available on the internet. All of which are of exceptional quality and stability.
The KDE Desktop Environment
With KDE there is now an easy to use contemporary desktop environment available for UNIX and Linux. Together with a free implementation of UNIX such as GNU/Linux, UNIX/KDE constitutes a completely free and open computing platform available to anyone free of charge including its source code for anyone to modify.
KDE is a not only a user interface but it is a complete program and programming environment. As a program environment KDE, comes with a great number of applications to make the user experience second to none. You will find file manager, web browser, email reader and a complete system configuration environment. KDE even gives you the feeling that it is an operating system on its own. You can see KDE like a shield over a Linux or UNIX operating system. Without KDE-like interface what you will see is the terminal screen where you can type in command. It is KDE that gives Linux and UNIX machines that Windows look that entices many computer users. The development of KDE has given LINUX developers the opportunity to bring the power of Linux to the desktop of many users that normally wouldn't be interested in Linux systems
A running version of KDE
Many are surprised when they see Linux in such a glorious interface for the first time because many people still believe that when you work with Linux you have to that on a text oriented terminal screen.
Configuring KDE Desktop
Since KDE is a desktop environment it is only logical that you should be given the tools to configure it. KDE has an elaborate configuration possibilities ranging from accessibility to configuring the web browser. KDE makes use of the KDE Control Center for this purpose. Using the Control Center is like using the Control panel in Windows. It is mostly clicking with the mouse and now and then typing in some values. The control center is the most powerful tool and elaborate tool I have ever seen to configure a desktop. It provides you with literally, hundreds of options to configure your desktop. Almost everything you configure here will take immediate effect. Do not worry, if you do anything wrong you can discard the changes you have made or just reset the settings before you move on or reconfigure it again.
Changing the desktop background with Control Center
To configure the system you can make use of the KDE as well. The control center gives you access to configure all aspects of the operating system. You can configure the disk, setup modems, and configure your network connections including internet access. By the way do not forget proxy settings. The control center comes with options to setup a firewall for your system and if needed share your Linux machine Internet connection with other system on your network. If you want to install or remove software called packages in Linux you can do it here as well.
The Control Center System configuration screen
KDE has been fully tested and has proven to withstand the test of time from the early days to the present version of version 3.1. The newest version KDE 3.2 is still in alpha 2 face at the time of writing this article. When this is out it is going to give Linux users a new dimension in user interface. It will come with refined set of applications and configuration options that will be able to rival any other user interface out there. This will push Linux into a new era in fight to get to the desktop.
Read about the NEW KDE 3.2 desktop click here for the full article