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.comment: A Look at KDE2 - page 4

What's New?

  • October 25, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

KOrganizer, which made its debut with KDE-1.x, has matured and is now a fine calendar-todo-list-phonebook-addressbook application; indeed, it's as good as anything in the genre in my estimation. One of the complaints about it was that it wasn't tied into other KDE applications, but that's no longer the case. Which brings us to the much-improved KMail. In a world of dazzling KDE2 applications, it's easy to overlook, but that would be a mistake. The new version allows you to receive mail from a number of different accounts, though it still allows you to send only from one. But it now offers the option of sorting mail by thread, a boon (when was the last time you heard *that* word?) to those of us who are on multiple mailing lists, and who have filters set up to direct each into its own folder. Its configuration screen is much improved, and now can color-code the various levels of quotations (though it does not, alas, automatically send a nastygram to anyone who quotes to, say, the fifth level). It reads HTML mail if you want (you don't; it's a security risk and spam magnet). As a single user mail program, it's mighty good, and the dozen or so people who spent lots of time on it are to be praised.

Which brings us to a general change in KDE2. In KMail, the configuration was launched from the File menu. Several months ago, in this space, I expressed my concern over Corel Corporation having hired a GUI designer to work on KDE2. I was wrong in thinking that this would lead to bad things. The work of the designer was limited chiefly to bringing about consistency among KDE2 applications. As a result, configuration of KMail and other applications is now found in the Settings menu. A nice bit of polish.

KDE2 is rich in native apps. The new Internet applications have been noted; Konqueror, which is just marvelous, could have a book written about it; there are new apps in the Toys menu, none of which is of much real use, but all of which are fun; the graphics applications will be familiar to any KDE-1.x user.

I would love to tell you about the multimedia applications, but through no fault of KDE2's developers they don't do anything useful here. I have a motherboard with the VIA Audio Codec, the drivers for which are experimental. I've never heard so much as a peep out of the thing, though once every couple of weeks I take a couple hours and give it another shot. But the fundamentals are that a daemon, artsd, is started when KDE2 is. It allows the playing of sounds of many kinds. There is aKtion, which handles many multimedia tasks. And of course there are the usual midi players, CD players, and so on. I'm told they work, and though I can't do anything but start them here, they appear to offer pretty much anything the user would want. I shall one day defeat the VIA Codec monster and life will be pleasanter for it.

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