Summarizing the KDE Project

The KDE Project uses the concept of a distribution, just as the Linux developers do. The KDE distribution, however, is smaller (typically about 45MB installed) and is complete as downloaded from a KDE mirror site.

Hour 2, "Installing KDE from Scratch" describes the components of KDE in more detail as you download and install the pieces that you need. In general, however, the KDE distribution is composed of the major components shown in Table 1.1.

As you read sections of the KDE Web site or documentation, you'll find strange spellings and sentences. Many writers for KDE are not native English speakers, but they produce a great deal of KDE material in their free time. I try to put away my red pencil and appreciate the work they've done.

Table 1.1—Major Components Included in the KDE Distribution

Name of Component Description

Table 1.1—Major Components Included in the KDE Distribution

KDE Base

The core of KDE: the window manager, file manager, and so forth

(see Table 1.2)


Run-time libraries for the graphical objects and other functions

used by many KDE applications


Viewers for fax, TeX DVI, PostScript, and bitmapped graphics (a

simple paint program and fractal generator)


Applets: a calculator, text editor, hex editor, file compression tool,

PIM, and so forth


Sound utilities for MIDI and WAV, audio CD Player, Sound Mixer


User administration and initialization script configuration


Client tools for email, dialed and PPP connections, and news reader


Additional utilities that are not required to run KDE, but are inter-

esting or fun


Many types of great cool games: Minesweeper, Tetris, poker,

Asteroids, and so forth

Components of KDE Base

The only parts of KDE that you must have installed are the KDE Base packages. These form the core of KDE that all the other integrated applications referred to in Table 1.1 use to run correctly.

To help you understand more about how KDE is organized, Table 1.2 lists the components of the KDE Base group of applications.

Table 1.2—Components of KDE Base

Component Description kaudio The audioserver, running in the background to process audio files kbgndwm A background manager for the main window manager, kwm kcontrol The central control panel kdehelp The help browser (a basic Web browser), launched by choosing KDE Help, pressing F1, or choosing a Help button in a dialog box kdm A graphical login system similar to xdm kfind The Find tool, accessible from the default KDE Panel


Description kfm kfontmanager kmenuedit kpanel krootwm kscreensaver kvt kwm kwmcom kwmpager

The file manager, used to browse the file system when you open a directory from the Panel (can also be used as a basic Web browser) A manager for the fonts used in KDE applications

The utility for editing the menu entries of the Panel and the taskbar (both part of kpanel)

The Panel and taskbar (the main methods of accessing applications and utilities in KDE)

A module for managing the root window; used by the kwm window manager The screensaver utility; configured via an option on the main menu A terminal emulation program (a command-line window in KDE) The window manager used by KDE; configured by options in the KDE Control Center

The communications tool for the kwm window manager

The pager for the kwm window manager (provides multiple desktops for the window manager)

Not all the components of the KDE base collection are required to run KDE. Some, such as the kaudio server and the kdehelp program are useful but not required. The KDE team has included all these components in KDE Base because they constitute a complete core of functionality onto which other programs specific to networking, administration, and so forth, can build.

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