PC-BSD Day 9: Communication
The KDE desktop is quite often the desktop of choice for distributions that want to tempt the Windows user. Xandros, Linspire, Mandriva and PCLinuxOS are Linux distributions that come to mind. PC-BSD also opted for KDE. In contrast, Ubuntu uses GNOME and it’s popularity and wide spread use weren’t harmed by it. For the larger part of the last 12 months I have been using Ubuntu and the GNOME desktop. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the KDE desktop and really use the applications that were designed for it.
KMail and KNode
The first step was to let go of Thunderbird and start moving my accounts to KMail. You don’t need an advanced degree in IT to set up your accounts. The first run guides you through a wizard where you can leave the usual information about kind of account, account information like user name and password and the addresses of the incoming and outgoing servers. You can add additional accounts later by going to Settings -> Configure KMail.
The interface is pretty standard and shouldn’t pose a problem to a new user. To have four panes instead of three is something different. What I did miss was the option for each account to have it’s own inbox. What really annoyed me that I lost the first e-mail I tried to send. I had made a mistake in setting up the outgoing server (do’h, stupid typo). KMail gave me the error message, explained that it would keep the message in the outbox, only to remove it after all. Not nice, but it happened only once.
The second component of my communications center was KNode. KNode is a newsgroup reader. It doesn’t offer a nice wizard to guide you through setting up the first account, but Settings -> Configure KNode offers access to the option to do that. The interface is a spitting image of KMail.
Component number three was Kopete. Kopete is a multi-protocol chat client. I prefer it over Pidgin. Kopete simply looks better, but I also like the abiity to signup for new accounts for various providers from within the program. After that, it simply works.
Konquerer is one of my favorites. Even on the GNOME desktop I often prefer it over Nautilus. In terms of functionality it’s a great program and I am still learning more about it every day. Konquerer is the default webbrowser and file explorer for PC-BSD. As a webbrowser I am less enthused about it. I find it much slower in rendering pages than Firefox, Seamonkey or Opera. But when I have to do some work on my webserver it is the explorer of choice. With fish:// I go to the webserver. When I want to edit a php page, Bluefish is just a right mousebutton click away. Ripping an audio cd? No problem.
And… did I like it?
Kopete and Konquerer are familiar programs which I already used on the GNOME desktop. KMail and KNode were new programs. They do what they are supposed to do. The configuration options were not overwhelming, but to the point and clear enough for most novice users. At least, they were no more complicated than what you can find under Thunderbird. But, what can I say. You set them up, they work and then you move on to whatever else it is you need to do. That’s good, just a bit boring. Maybe I should spice up the entire desktop to make it less so.