A MozillaQuest Magazine Editor's Choice
KDE Konqueror Web-Browser and File-Manager: Well-Built, Feature-Robust, and Free
Browser War More than 2-Way Race
Mike Angelo -- 8 December 2004 (C)
The recent release of the Mozilla Organization's Firefox browser has sparked interest in alternatives to:
However, our favorite browser is KDE's Konqueror Web-browser and file-manager.
About the Konqueror Web Browser and File Manager
Konqueror is open source and you can download it free of charge. Because Konqueror is open source, it therefore is very customizable. It's the same for the Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape browsers.
Interestingly, Konqueror in some ways might be more customizable than the Firefox, Mozilla, or Netscape browsers. In an e-mail discussion about Konqueror with KDE developer George Staikos, he mentioned that Konqueror has "Netscape-style plugin support in addition to KDE-style plugins . . ."
We asked George Staikos if because Konq supports both KDE-style plugins and netscape-style plugins, does that mean there are more plugins available for Konq then there are for the Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape browsers?
He replied: I would say yes, though sometimes our plugin compatibility isn't perfect since developers tend to test only on mozilla or netscape, and not with konqi.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web-browser is included with the MS Windows operating systems and other Microsoft products. Thus, in effect IE is free too. However, IE is not open source.
Even though the core Internet Explorer code is proprietary, you can do some customizing to IE. Crazy Browser and NetCaptor are two examples of what amount to customized versions of Internet Explorer. They both run on top of the Internet Explorer engine but have more features than IE has, such as tabbed browsing, sidebars, popup ad blocking, and more.
The KDE Konqueror browser seems to take less memory than do the Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape browsers. Konqueror seems faster too. Moreover, Konqueror has a very good, open source, rendering engine. In our opinion, Konqueror is more efficient than the Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape browsers.
If you are a Microsoft Windows user, you can think of Konqueror as being both the MS Windows file-manager (Windows Explorer or My Computer) and the MS Windows Web-browser (Internet Explorer) all rolled into one common application.
Thus with Konqueror you easily can copy, cut, paste, and move files around on your local computer, to and from other computers on your local area network (LAN), or to and from FTP sites, Web pages, and other remote places on the Internet. Konqueror easily lets you view all sorts of file types with its universal viewing feature -- and Konqueror does a great job of displaying Web pages. Please see Figure 1, below.
Moreover, because Konqueror is both a great browser and an excellent file manager it can do all sorts of file-management things while you are surfing the Internet. For example it makes downloading files very easy -- as easy as dragging an Internet file from Konqueror, the browser, to a local folder/directory in Konqueror, the file manager, on your own computer.
KDE's Konqueror Web browser and file manager is very configurable and customizable. You can put just the tools that you use on the tool bars and select which tool bars you want to show on your Konqueror desktop by adjusting some preference settings.
Figure 2, below, shows the Tabbed browsing preference panels. You open the Tab preference panels by dropping the Settings menu on the menu bar and then clicking on Configure Konqueror > Web Behavior. Then the basic Tab settings are right there in the Tabbed Browsing box in that panel. To get to the advanced Tab settings panel shown in Figure 2, simply click on the Advanced Options button in the Tabbed Browsing box.
If there is a look and feel change you would like to make that is not adjustable in the preferences, you can hack the Konqueror user interface XTML or even the open-source code if you like.
Figure 1, above, shows Konqueror in Web-browser mode with three Web pages opened -- one in each of three page tabs in a single Konqueror desktop. In Figure 3, on page 2, Konqueror is in its file-manager mode with two page tabs opened.
Please notice how similar the Konqueror browser-mode desktop (user interface) is to the Konqueror file-manager mode desktop. The look and feel similarities mean that most of what you learn about using the Konqueror Internet browser applies to the Konqueror file manager -- and vice verse.
Both the Konqueror browser-mode desktop and the Konqueror file-manager mode desktop have a menu bar and three tool bars at the top, a sidebar on the left, a status bar on the bottom, and a content display window on the right.
Under the menu bar is the main tool bar. Next is the location tool bar and under that is the bookmarks tool bar. The tabs bar is between the bookmarks tool bar and the content display window. Konqueror also has an Extra tool bar, which is not shown in the screen shots.
The sidebar is easily toggled on and off by hitting the F9 function key. The tool bars can be turned on and off via the Settings > Toolbars panel. Thus, if you want more real estate in which to display Web pages or files and directory trees simply turn off the sidebar and some or all of the tool bars.
You no longer have to first go to the Google Web site and then enter a search string or keyword in order to search the Internet. Now, simply enter your search string or keyword in the Konqueror search input box and voila, the search results immediately come up in the Konqueror Web page display window.
Of course, Konqueror gives you a selection of search engines. Google is the one we have selected in the screen shots.
Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars?