5.10. Important Utilities

The following pages introduce a number of small KDE utilities intended to assist in daily work. These applications perform various tasks, such as managing your Internet connections and your passwords, creating data archives, and viewing PDF files.

5.10.1. Managing Internet Connections with KNetworkManager

You can establish Internet connections with NetworkManager or KInternet. For a description of KInternet, see Chapter 6, Managing Internet Connections with KInternet (↑Applications). In YaST, select whether to use NetworkManager. For a list of criteria that help you to decide whether to use NetworkManager or other applications and for further information, refer to Section 18.5, “Managing Network Connections with NetworkManager” (↑Reference) and Section 30.1.2, “Integration in Changing Operating Environments” (↑Reference).

When NetworkManager is enabled, you can monitor your network connections in KDE with the KNetworkManager applet. Click the KNetworkManager icon in the system tray to see a list of available network connections, such as wired, wireless, dial-up, or VPN. NetworkManager automatically chooses the best network available, but it can only automatically connect to a known network. The connection currently used is marked in the list. To activate a different connection, just click another connection. For some connections, such as WLAN, you may be prompted for additional information, such as network name, password or passphrase, and encryption details. Network connections are managed by user and the passwords are stored in KWallet.

5.10.2. Managing Passwords with KWallet Manager

Remembering all the passwords for protected resources to which you need to log in can be problematic. KWallet remembers them for you. It collects all passwords and stores them in an encrypted file. With a single master password, open your wallet 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.

[Important]Protect Your KWallet Password

If you forget your KWallet password, it cannot be recovered. Furthermore, anyone who knows your password can obtain all information contained in the wallet.

5.10.2.1. Starting KWallet

When KWallet starts for the first time (for example, when you access a Web site where you must enter a password to log in), a dialog appears with the welcome screen. Choose between Basic setup (recommended) and Advanced setup. If you choose Basic setup, in the next screen you can choose whether to store personal information. Some KDE applications, such as Konqueror or KMail, can use the wallet system to store Web form data and cookies. Select Yes, I wish to use the KDE wallet to store my personal information for this purpose and leave with Finish.

If you choose Advanced setup, you have an additional security level screen. The default settings are generally acceptable for most users, but others may wish to change them. Automatically close idle wallets closes wallets after a period of inactivity. To separate network passwords and local passwords, activate Store network passwords and local passwords in separate wallet files. Close with Finish.

You can alter the settings at any time by right-clicking the KWallet icon in the panel and selecting Configure Wallet. A dialog box opens where you can select several options. By default, all passwords are stored in one wallet, kdewallet, but you can also add new wallets. Once configured, KWallet appears in the panel.

5.10.2.2. The KWallet Manager

To store data in your wallet or view its contents, click the KWallet icon in the panel. A dialog box opens, showing the wallets that are accessible on your system. Click the wallet to open. A window prompts for your password.

After a successful login, the KWallet Manager window opens. It is divided into four different parts: the top left part displays a summary, the top right part displays subfolders, the lower left part shows a list with folder entries, and the lower right part shows the contents of a selected entry.

In the KWallet Manager, you can change your master password for KWallet at any time with File+Change Password.

Figure 5.7. The KWallet Manager Window

The KWallet Manager Window

You can add or delete folders. Selecting a folder updates the folder entry list and the summary display. Selecting a folder entry updates the entry contents pane and allows you to edit that entry. Entries can also be created or deleted using the context menu for the folder contents.

5.10.2.3. Copying Your Wallet to Another Computer

For the most part, KWallet resides silently in the panel and is automatically activated if needed. However, you can copy your wallet files to another computer (for example, your laptop). To simplify this task, wallets can be dragged from the manager window to a file browser window. This let you easily package a new wallet for transfer to another environment. For example, a new wallet could be created and copied onto a removable flash memory device. Important passwords could be transferred there, so you have them available in other locations.

5.10.3. Displaying, Decompressing, and Creating Archives

To save space on the hard disk, use a packer that compresses files and directories to a fraction of their original size. The application Ark can be used to manage such archives. It supports common formats, such as zip, tar.gz, tar.bz2, lha, and rar.

Start Ark from the main menu or from the command line with ark. If you already have some compressed files, move these from an open Konqueror window to the Ark window to view the contents of the archive. To view an integrated preview of the archive in Konqueror, right-click the archive in Konqueror and select Preview in Archiver. Alternatively, select File+Open in Ark to open the file directly.

Figure 5.8. Ark: File Archive Preview

Ark: File Archive Preview

Once you have opened an archive, perform various actions. Action offers options such as Add File, Add Folder, Delete, Extract, View, Edit With, and Open With.

To create a new archive, select File+New. Enter the name of the new archive in the dialog that opens and specify the format using Filter. After confirming with Save or by pressing Enter, Ark opens an empty window. You can drag and drop files and directories from the file manager into this window. As the final step, Ark compresses everything into the previously selected archive format. For more information about Ark, select Help+Ark Handbook.

5.10.4. Managing Print Jobs in KDE

Printers can either be connected to your system locally or via a network. Either kind of configuration is made initially using YaST. For an in-depth coverage of printer configuration, see Chapter 11, Printer Operation (↑Reference). As soon as a connection has been established, you can start using the printer.

To control print jobs in KDE, use two different applications. Start and configure the print job with KPrinter then control the processing of the print job with KJobViewer.

Start KPrinter with kprinter from the command line. A small window opens in which to choose a printer and edit the Properties of your print job, such as page orientation, pages per sheet, and duplex printing. To specify the file to print, the number of copies, and various other options, click Expand at the bottom left. The window then expands and shows four tabs: Files, Copies, Advanced Options, and Additional Tags. See Figure 5.9, “Starting a Print Job with KPrinter”.

Figure 5.9. Starting a Print Job with KPrinter

Starting a Print Job with KPrinter

The first tab, Files, determines the file or files to print. Either drag them from the desktop and drop them into the list window or use the file dialog to locate them. Copies determines the page selection (all pages of the selected document, the currently selected one, or a range) and the number of copies. You may also choose to print only the even or only the odd numbered pages of the selected document. Use Advanced Options to specify any additional information for the print job. Enter any Billing information if needed or set a custom page label at the top and bottom of the page. The Job Priority can also be set here. The fourth tab, Additional Tags is rarely needed. Once your print job has been filed, you can watch its progress using KJobViewer.

[Tip]Printing from KDE Applications

The KPrinter dialog opens any time you print from a KDE application. The dialog is basically the same except for the lack of the Files tab, which is not needed because the file to print was determined when you selected Print.

Start KJobViewer from the main menu or with kjobviewer from the command line. A window like that in Figure 5.10, “Managing Print Jobs with KJobViewer” opens, listing all the print jobs queued on your printer. As long as your print job is not active, you can edit it. Do this using the entries of the Jobs menu.

Figure 5.10. Managing Print Jobs with KJobViewer

Managing Print Jobs with KJobViewer

If, for example, you want to check if you sent the correct document to the printer, you can stop the job and resume it if you decide to print it. Remove your own print jobs from the queue with Remove. To change the printer, select a different printer with Move to Printer.

With Restart, reprint a document. To do this, select Filter+Toggle Completed Jobs, select the desired document, and click Jobs+Restart. Clicking Jobs+Job IPP Report shows the technical details of a job. Use Jobs+Increase Priority and Jobs+Decrease Priority to set the priority, depending on how quickly you need the document.

Filter enables you to switch between various printers, toggle completed jobs, and limit the view to your own print jobs by selecting Show Only User Jobs. The current user is then displayed in the top right field.

Settings+Configure KJobViewer opens a configuration dialog. Here, determine the maximum number of print jobs to display. Enter a number in the field or use the slider to the right to determine a value. Press OK to save the setting or Cancel to exit the dialog without saving.

The icons in the toolbar correspond to the functions you can access by way of the menu. A help text explaining the function is displayed when you move the mouse pointer over one of the icons.

The job list consists of eight columns. The job ID is automatically assigned by the print system to identify the various jobs. The next column contains the login of the user who sent the job followed by the filename of the document. The status column indicates whether a job is still in the queue, currently being printed, or already completed. Next, the size of the document is displayed in kilobytes and number of pages. The default priority of 50 can be increased or reduced if necessary. Billing information can be cost centers or other company-specific information. If you right-click a job in the list, the Jobs menu opens under the mouse pointer, allowing you to select an action. Only a few functions are available for completed jobs. If you activate Keep window permanent, KJobViewer opens automatically the next time you log in.

5.10.5. Taking Screen Shots

With KSnapshot, you can create snapshots of your screen or individual application windows. Start the program from the main menu or by pressing Alt-F2 and entering ksnapshot. The KSnapshot dialog consists of two parts. The upper area (Current Snapshot) contains a preview of the current screen and three buttons for creating and saving the screen shots. The lower area contains further options for the actual creation of the screen shot.

Figure 5.11. KSnapshot

KSnapshot

To take a screen shot, use Snapshot Delay to determine the time (in seconds) to wait between clicking New Snapshot and the actual creation of the screen shot. If Only Grab the Window Containing the Pointer is selected, only the window containing the pointer is saved. To save the screen shot, click Save Snapshot and designate the directory and filename for the image in the subsequent dialog. Click Print Snapshot to print the screen shot.

You can also use The GIMP to take screen shots. To open The GIMP, press Alt-F2 and enter gimp. When you run GIMP for the first time, it installs some files in your home directory and displays dialogs that give you the opportunity to adapt it to your environment. For information about using The GIMP, refer to Chapter 19, Manipulating Graphics with The GIMP (↑Applications) or see its help. You may need to install the help with YaST (kdeutils3-extra).

5.10.6. Viewing PDF Files with KPDF

PDF is probably one of more important formats. KPDF is a KDE program that can view and print them.

Start KPDF by pressing Alt-F2 and entering kpdf. Load a PDF file with File+Open. KPDF displays it in its main window. On the left side, there is a sidebar with thumbnails and a contents view. Thumbnails give an overview of the page. The contents view contains bookmarks to navigate in your document. Sometimes it is empty, meaning bookmarks are not supported by this PDF.

To view two pages in the main window, select View+Two Pages. The view depends on what last two options you activate in the View menu.

Another nice option is to select the area in which you are interested with the select tool from the toolbar. Draw a rectangle and choose from the pop-up menu whether you need the selected area as text or as a graphic. It is copied to the clipboard. You can even save the area to a file.

5.10.7. Font Administration with KFontinst

By default, SUSE Linux provides various fonts commonly available in different file formats (Bitmap, TrueType, etc.). These are known as system fonts. Users can additionally install their own fonts from various collections on CD-ROM. Such user-installed fonts are, however, only visible and available to the corresponding user.

The KDE control center provides a comfortable tool for administering system and user fonts. It is shown in Figure 5.12, “Font Administration from the Control Center”.

Figure 5.12. Font Administration from the Control Center

Font Administration from the Control Center

To check which fonts are currently available, type the URL fonts:/ into the address field of a Konqueror session. This displays two windows: Personal and System. User-installed fonts are installed to the folder Personal. Only root can install to the System folder.

To install fonts as a user, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Control Center and access the appropriate module with System Administration+Font Installer.

  2. Choose Add Fonts from the toolbar or from the menu available when right-clicking the list.

  3. In the dialog that opens, select one or more fonts for installation.

  4. The marked fonts are then installed to your personal font folder. Selecting a font shows a preview.

To update system fonts, first select Administrator mode and enter your root password. Then proceed as described for user font installation.