openSUSE 10.2 KDE Quick Start

KDE Quick Start

openSUSE™ provides the tools that Linux users require in their daily activities. It comes with an easy-to-use graphical user interface (KDE desktop) you can use to communicate with the underlying Linux system to access and manage files, folders, and programs. openSUSE provides an integrated suite of applications for a wide range of purposes (office, multimedia, Internet). The suite is also included, which allows you to edit and save files in a number of formats. Because the office suite is available for several operating systems, you can use the same data across different computing platforms.

1.0 Getting Started

When you start your system, you are usually prompted to enter your username and password. If you did not install your system yourself, check with your system administrator for your username and password.

After logging in to KDE for the first time, you see the KDE desktop, which shows the following basic elements:

Desktop Icons: Click an icon on the desktop to access its associated program or application. Right-click to open a context menu for moving, copying, or performing other functions on an icon.

Desktop Context Menu: Right-click an empty area on the desktop to access this context menu for creating new objects, such as files, folders, or bookmarks; configuring the appearance of the desktop; running applications; and logging out.

KDE Panel: By default, the panel of your KDE desktop consists of the following areas (from left to right): main menu button, quick launcher, desktop previewer, taskbar, and system tray. You can add or remove icons in the panel and customize the appearance of the panel as well as its location on the desktop. Click the arrow at the far right to hide the panel. If you hold your mouse pointer over an icon in the panel, a short description is displayed.

Main Menu Button: Use the icon at the far left of the panel to open a menu which holds a search function at the top and several tabs at the bottom, thus providing quick access to the key functions of the menu. The Applications tab shows all installed programs in a function-oriented menu structure which makes it easy to find the right application for your purpose even if you do not know the application names yet.

Quick Launcher The quick launcher contains some larger icons that are shortcuts to frequently used programs, folders, and functions, such as an Internet browser, your home folder, and the online Help Center.

Desktop Previewer: Between the quick launcher and the taskbar, find a miniature preview that shows your virtual desktops. openSUSE allows you to organize your programs and tasks on several desktops, which minimizes the number of windows to arrange on the screen (Using Virtual Desktops). To switch between desktops, click one of the symbols in the previewer.

Taskbar: By default, all started applications and open windows are displayed in the taskbar, which allows you to access any application regardless of the currently active desktop. Click to open the application. Right-click to see options for moving, restoring, or minimizing the window.

System Tray: This rightmost part of the panel usually holds some smaller icons, including the system clock displaying time and date, the volume control, and icons for several other helper applications.

2.0 Starting Programs

To start a program from the main menu, hover the mouse over the main menu icon in the panel or press + F1 to open the main menu. For an overview of all programs installed on your system, click Applications. The function-oriented menu structure makes it easy to find the right application for your purpose even if you do not know the application names yet. To navigate through the structure, click an entry and use the arrow icons at the right or the left to switch back and forth. Apart from that, the tabs Favorites or History provide quick access to some applications.

To search for an application, enter the application's name (or part of it) in the search field at the top of the main menu. Each character you enter narrows down the search. The search results are shown directly below the search field. The results are sorted by categories for better overview.

3.0 Customizing Your Desktop

You can change the way your KDE desktop looks and behaves to suit your own personal tastes and needs.

3.1 Changing Individual Desktop Elements

In the following, find some examples of how to change individual desktops elements.

Adding Program Icons to Your Desktop

To create a link to an application and place it on the desktop, proceed as follows:

  1. Click the main menu button.

  2. Browse to the desired program.

  3. Left-click and drag the menu entry to the desktop then release the mouse button.

  4. Select Link Here from the context menu that appears then position the icon as desired.

To delete an icon from your desktop, right-click the program icon and select Move to Trash.

Customizing the KDE Panel

You can customize the KDE panel according to your preferences by adding, deleting, or moving icons or changing the overall appearance of the panel.

  1. To add or remove icons from the panel, right-click an empty patch in the panel. A context-menu appears.

  2. To add an application, click Add Application to Panel and select the desired application from one of the categories of the submenu.

  3. To add an applet (miniprogram), click Add Applet to Panel and, from the dialog box that appears, select the desired applet. Click Add to Panel to insert the applet into the panel.

  4. To remove icons from the panel, select Remove from Panel Applications or Remove from Panel > Applet and choose the icon to remove.

  5. To change the overall appearance or behavior of the panel, select Configure Panel from the context menu. A configuration dialog appears where you can adjust further settings.

Changing the Desktop Background

You can change the background colors of your desktop or select a picture to use as the background. Because KDE offers virtual desktops (see Using Virtual Desktops), you can apply these changes to one or all of your virtual desktops.

  1. Right-click an empty patch of the desktop and select Configure Desktop. A configuration dialog appears.

  2. In Settings for Desktop select the virtual desktops to which the changes should apply.

  3. If you want a different picture as the background, click Picture and select one of the pictures provided by the list. To use a custom picture, click the folder button beneath the list and select an image file from the file system.

  4. Click Slide Show to have multiple images appear in a slide show mode.

  5. If you do not want a picture on the background, click No picture.

  6. From the Options group, click the left button below Colors to select the color for your background. For a multicolor background, set Colors to an option other than Single Color and click the right button below to select a second color.

  7. Click Apply then OK to close the configuration dialog.

3.2 Using the KDE Control Center

Apart from changing individual desktop elements, KDE allows you to personalize your desktop to a very high degree. Find more settings to adjust the overall appearance and behavior of your desktop in the KDE control center. There, you can also change fonts, keyboard and mouse configuration, regional and language settings, parameters for your Internet and network usage, and more.

Start the control center from the main menu by selecting Favorites > Configure Desktop or press + F2 and enter kcontrol.

The sidebar provides different categories with a subset of settings each. To get an impression of the numerous possibilities, just click a category icon and explore the possibilities provided there.

For an overview of all categories, switch to a tree view. Change the view by selecting View Mode > Tree View.

Clicking an item displays the corresponding settings on the right. Change the settings as desired. No changes take effect until you click Apply. Reset all items on the page to the default values by clicking Default. Performing tasks in some areas of the control center requires system administrator (otherwise known as root) permissions.

4.0 Using Virtual Desktops

The desktop environment allows you to organize your programs and tasks on several virtual desktops. If you often run a lot of programs simultaneously, this minimizes the number of windows to arrange on your screen. You might, for example, use one desktop for e-mailing and calendaring and another for word processing or graphics applications.

Moving an Application to a Virtual Desktop

You can display a running application on one or all virtual desktops or move it to other desktops.

  1. Open the application.

  2. Right-click the application’s title bar.

  3. Click To Desktop.

  4. Select the desktop on which to place the application.

  5. To switch between desktops, click the desired desktop in the desktop previewer in the panel.

Adding Additional Virtual Desktops

Some users might need more desktops than provided by default. To add additional desktops:

  1. Right-click the desktop previewer in the panel and select Configure Desktops. A configuration dialog appears where you can increase or reduce the number of virtual desktops. You can also change the default names of the desktop.

  2. Click OK to apply the changes and to close the configuration dialog.

  3. If you want the names of the desktops to appear in the desktop previewer rather than the number, right-click the desktop previewer and select Pager Options > Desktop Name.

5.0 Using Konqueror

Konqueror is a unified Web browser, file manager, document viewer, and image viewer. As a file manager, it lets you display, manage, and create files and generally organize your file system the way you like.

Start Konqueror as a file manager by clicking the house icon in the panel. Konqueror displays the contents of your home directory.

5.1 Konqueror Main Window

The Konqueror main window consists of the following elements:

Menu Bar The menu bar holds menu items for actions like copying, moving, or deleting files, changing views, starting additional tools, defining your settings, and getting help.

Toolbar: The toolbar provides quick access to frequently used functions that can also be accessed via the menu. If you hover the mouse pointer over an icon, a short description is displayed.

Location Bar: The location bar shows the path to your directory or file in your file system. You can enter a path to a directory directly by typing it in or by clicking one of the directories in the display field. Delete the contents of the location bar by clicking the black symbol with a white X on the left. After typing an address, press .

Navigation Panel Hide and show the navigation panel on the left by pressing F9. The navigation panel displays your information in a tree view. Determine which contents you want to see by clicking one of the symbols in the tab at the left of the navigation panel. If you hold your mouse pointer over an icon, a short description is displayed.

Display Field: The display field shows the contents of the selected directory or file. In the View menu, choose between different view modes to display the contents, such as Icon View, Tree View, or Detailed List View. If you click a file, Konqueror shows a preview of the contents or loads the file into an application for further processing. If you hold the mouse pointer over the file, Konqueror shows a tool tip with detailed information about the file, such as owner, permissions, or last modification date.

5.2 Managing Files and Folders with Konqueror

To perform actions like copying, moving, or deleting files, you need appropriate permissions to the folders and files involved in your action.

To copy or move a file or folder, proceed as follows:

  1. To select one or multiple files and folders in Konqueror press and click the files.

  2. Right-click and select Copy or Cut from the context menu.

  3. Navigate to the destination folder in which to insert the object. Right-click the destination folder and select Paste. The object is copied or moved there.

You can also use drag and drop to copy or move objects. When dropping the object, you are asked whether the object should be moved or copied.

To delete a file or folder, right-click the object and select Move to Trash from the context menu. The object is moved to the trash bin from which you can restore it if necessary or delete the object irretrievably.

5.3 Browsing the Internet with Konqueror

If you want to use Konqueror as a Web browser, just type an URL in the location bar. Like Firefox, Konqueror also features tabbed browsing. This means that you can load one page in the background while reading another. To open an empty tab in Konqueror, press + N and enter a new URL. Alternatively, right-click a link in the Web site currently displayed and select Open in New Tab. Right-click a tab to access more tab options like reloading, duplicating, or closing the tab.

You can also use bookmarks for your favorite Web sites (and also for files and folders). Add and manage your bookmarks with the Bookmarks menu.

6.0 Browsing the Internet with Firefox

As well as Konqueror, openSUSE also includes the Firefox Web browser. To start Firefox, press + F2 and enter firefox.

With features like tabbed browsing, pop-up window blocking, and download and image management, Firefox combines the latest Web technologies. Its easy access to different search engines helps you find the information you need. Enter a URL in the location bar to start browsing. To open an empty tab in Firefox, press + T and enter a new URL. To open a link in a new tab, click the link with your middle mouse button. Right-click the tab itself to access more tab options. You can create a new tab, reload one or all existing tabs, or close them. You can also change the sequence of the tabs by dragging and dropping them to the desired position.

6.2 Downloading Files from the Web

If you download a file with Firefox, the Download Manager starts and saves this file to the folder configured in the preferences. By default, your desktop is the destination folder for downloaded files. Firefox shows your finished downloads in a dialog box.

You can open the downloaded files from there directly. To clean up the history of downloaded files, click Clean Up.

6.3 Configuring Firefox Preferences

To adjust the default download folder or activate or modify the pop-up blocking feature, click Edit Preferences.

From here, you can also configure numerous other settings, such as appearance, language, privacy, and tab options. Just click the icons and set the options on each page according to your preferences. Click Close to apply the changes.

7.0 Managing Passwords with KWallet

When you select the option to remember a password in a KDE application for the first time (for your e-mail account, for example), the KWallet wizard starts by default. KWallet is a password management tool that can collect all passwords and store them in an encrypted file.

To activate KWallet, select Basic Setup and click Next. Select Yes, I wish to use the KDE wallet to store my personal information and enter a password. This is your master password to open KWallet. It cannot be recovered if you forget it. Click Finish to close the wizard. After this initial configuration, you can open your wallet at any time to view, search, delete, or create entries. Normally you do not need to insert an entry manually. KDE recognizes if a resource requires authentication and KWallet starts automatically, prompting you for the KWallet password.

8.0 E-Mailing and Calendaring

For reading and managing your mails and appointments, you can use Kontact as your personal information management tool (PIM). Kontact combines KDE applications like KMail, KOrganizer, and KAddressBook into a single interface. This gives you easy access to your e-mail, calendar, address book, and other PIM functionality.

8.1 Starting Kontact for the First Time

To start Kontact, press Alt F2 and enter kontact. To access one of the components, click the corresponding icon on the left sidebar.

Before you can send or receive mails, you must configure your e-mail account.

  1. Click the Mail icon then select Settings > Configure KMail.

  2. In the configuration dialog, click Accounts. There you can configure the settings for outgoing and incoming mails.

  3. For incoming mails, click the Receiving tab and click Add. Select the appropriate account type and enter the details in the following dialog.

  4. Proceed similarly for outgoing mails on the Sending tab. If you are not sure about the settings or items to select, consult your Internet Service Provider or system administrator.

9.0 Instant Messaging with Kopete

Kopete is an online messenger application allowing multiple partners connected to the Internet to chat with each other. Kopete currently supports all common messenger protocols, such as ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, SMS, Jabber, IRC, and GroupWise Messenger. To be able to use instant messaging (IM) you must register with a provider offering IM services.

To start Kopete, press F2 and enter kopete. When starting Kopete for the first time, a configuration wizard appears that assists you in creating your user profile.

First, select the service with which you have registered and click Continue. Then enter the user data received on registration with the messaging service: a user ID, a password, and the server name and port. Complete the configuration of the messenger account by clicking Finish.

Add contacts to chat with them by clicking File Add Contact. An assistant appears to help with creation. However, you must be online and connected to the selected messaging service to add a contact to your list.

To start a chat, click the desired contact and type your message in the lower part of the chatting window. Press to send the message. The upper part of the window displays the messages you have sent and received.

10.0 Starting

The office suite offers a complete set of office tools, including word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, vector drawing, and database components. Because is available for a number of operating systems, you can use the same data across different computing platforms.

To start, press Alt + F2 and enter OOo or open the main menu and navigate to Office Suite. To create a new document, select File > New and choose the type of document to create. To open an existing document, select Open and choose the appropriate file from the file system.

11.0 Viewing PDF Files

Documents that need to be shared or printed across platforms can be saved as PDF (Portable Document Format) files, for example, in the suite. openSUSE ships with several PDF viewers, such as KPDF and Adobe* Acrobat* Reader.

To access KPDF or Adobe* Acrobat* Reader:

  1. Click the main menu button.

  2. Click Office > Document Viewer. Select Acrobat Reader or KPDF to open the PDF viewer of your choice. Alternatively, press + F2 and enter acroread or kpdf.

  3. To view a PDF file, click File > Open. Locate the desired PDF file and click Open.

  4. Navigate through the documents by using the navigation icons at the top or bottom of the window. If your PDF document provides bookmarks, you can access them in the left panel of the viewer.

12.0 Searching for Data

KDE provides more than one application for finding data on your computer or in the file system. With Kerry, you can easily search your personal information space (usually your home folder), which is indexed by Beagle. KFind is another option.

12.1 Using Kerry

Use Kerry to find documents, e-mails, Web history, IM/ITC conversations, source code, images, music files, applications, and much more:

  1. Press + to open the Kerry Beagle Search dialog.

  2. Enter the search string in Search. Enter words or phrases and modify your search options as described in the tips displayed in the search window.

  3. Click an entry in the column on the right to select the scope of the search. The selected entry is highlighted.

  4. Click the Enter icon to start the search. The results are displayed in the window. Use the links contained in each result to open the result directly or show its location in the file system with the file manager.

12.2 Using KFind

To perform basic and advanced searches, use KFind. Start it from the main menu by clicking Applications Find Files/Folders or press + F2 and enter kfind.

Searching by Name

To use a filename (or a part of it) as the search keyword, proceed as follows:

  1. Enter the filename or a part of the filename in the Named input field. Use wild cards, such as an asterisk (*), to indicate missing characters in the filename.

  2. Specify the folder in which to search for the file. Either enter a path to the folder in Look in or click Browse to locate the folder.

  3. To search subfolders, check Include Subfolders.

  4. Click Find to start the search. The results are displayed in the lower part of the dialog. To directly open the result, just click it. Right-click it to choose one of the options from the context menu.

Searching by Contents or Properties

For a more detailed search, you can also specify further options, such as a text the file must contain or the creation or modification date of a file.

  1. On the Name/Location tab, specify at least the path to search for the file. You can leave the Named empty.

  2. To search for certain contents in a file, click the Contents tab. In Containing Text, enter the word or phrase the file to find must contain. This option does not work for all types of files.

  3. To search for properties such as creation or modification date of the file, click the Properties tab and choose the options you want.

  4. Click Find to start the search.

13.0 Creating a CD or DVD

If you possess a CD or DVD writer, you can burn files to a CD or DVD with K3b.

  1. Press + F2 and enter k3b. K3b opens.

  2. Click New Data CD Project in the bottom part window.

  3. Use the tree view in the top left part of the window to search for the files or folders to burn. When they appear in the top right part of the window, drag and drop them into the Current Projects window.

  4. Insert a writable CD into the device then click the Burn icon.

  5. Enter the required information in the Data Project dialog. If you are not sure which settings to choose, click K3b Defaults. This should work well for almost all files.

  6. Click Burn.

14.0 Configuring Your System with YaST

Whereas the KDE control center is only for configuring your KDE desktop, you can change the installation and the configuration of your whole system with YaST. Therefore, administrator (root) permission is required to open YaST.

YaST holds various modules for adjusting your system settings. They are subdivided into the following categories:

Software: Use the modules of this category to set certain options for installation and update and to install or remove software packages.

Hardware: Use modules to configure the hardware of your computer, such as monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, or scanner.

System: With these modules, you can change system settings, such as date, time, or language, and perform tasks, such as backup or restoration of files.

Network Devices: Use these modules to configure your network devices, such as network cards, ISDN, DSL, or modem.

Network Services: These modules are for network services and for configuring several clients, such as LDAP and NFS clients.

Novell AppArmor: Use the modules of this category to configure the Novell AppArmor application security system.

Security and Users: Here, you can configure security aspects, such as the firewall options, and create and manage users and groups.

Miscellaneous: Holds several modules that cannot easily be classified into the first six module groups. For example, you can view log files and install drivers from a vendor CD.

To open YaST, press F2 and enter yast. A dialog opens in which to enter the root password. The YaST modules offer integrated online help texts.

15.0 Managing Printers

Printers can either be connected to your system locally or accessed over a network. To use a local printer, make sure that it is connected to your machine. Shut down the system before connecting a non-USB printer to your system.

You can configure printers with YaST. Start YaST and select Hardware > Printer in the YaST control center. This opens the main printer configuration window. Depending on your local printer model, YaST may be able to configure the printer automatically. If autodetection of printing devices fails, click Add in the Printer Configuration dialog to start the manual configuration workflow. Follow the instructions in the YaST online help. If you are not sure which option to choose and which information to enter, ask your system administrator.

After configuring a printing device correctly, you can address it from any application.

16.0 Logging Out

When you are finished using the computer, you can log out and leave the system running or restart or shut down the computer. Click the main menu button on your panel and select Leave > Logout. This ends your session but leaves the system running. To turn off the computer, select Leave > Shutdown Computer instead.

17.0 For More Information

This guide gave you a short introduction to the KDE desktop and some key applications running on it. To discover more, refer to KDE User Guide and the other manuals available for openSUSE at or in your installed system under /usr/share/doc/manual.