May 26, 2008

20 Essential KDE3 Applications - Review

Notice: I made several additions after receiving some feedback regarding applications I've initially left out of this list. Currently this list contains no less than 25 KDE3 applications.

(audio player)
In my opinion, the best audio player ever. Excellent collection management and dozens of other features, like song submission, scripts, cover manager, Wikipedia integration, lyrics fetching, Magnatune music store, statistics, scores and many more. I just can't wait for 2.0 to be released!
Official Website

KTorrent (BitTorrent client)
This is a complete BitTorrent client for KDE. Together with Deluge and Vuze (formerly Azureus), it is said to be one of the best BitTorrent clients for Linux. I use it for over two years now and I love it.
Official Website

Kate (text editor)
The KDE Advanced Text Editor, this application can be used both as a text editor and IDE (Integrated Development Environment). It benefits from plenty of features and options and is highly configurable, yet being very fast and intuitive.
Official Website

K3b (CD/DVD burner)
A complete KDE CD/DVD burning application. You can burn ISO images on CD or DVD, create ISO images and audio CDs. Integration with Konqueror is also available through the Settings dialogue, together with other features like OSD (On-Screen Display), notifications or themes.
Official Website

Konversation (IRC client)
An IRC client is a must-have for a true community member, if you ask me. Konversation is a user-friendly client, highly configurable through the Settings dialogue. It doesn't benefit from event-based scripting, but comes with several useful scripts like a now playing script for the major KDE media players, a weather script or a system info script.
Official Website

Kopete (IM client)
Kopete is the KDE IM (Instant Messaging) client. It supports protocols like Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ, Jabber or IRC. See the complete list in the screenshot below. Can be expanded through various scripts, many of them come as default in the default package. One script I find very useful is the Now Listening announcer which supports 5 KDE media players, with the option to show the message 1) in place of status message 2) appended to status message 3) automatic announce in chat window 4) manual announce via the /media command. A complete IM client, but don't expect to be fully compatible with protocols like Yahoo!, for example (there are problems sending files to users of the closed-source Yahoo! client for Windows).
Official Website

Kaffeine (video player)
A KDE audio player, currently at version 0.8.6. Plays pretty much everything, from AVI movies to Theora video and DVDs, including ISO DVD images. Good support for subtitles, with encoding and size options. It uses the Xine engine as a default backend. Work is also in progress on Kaffeine for KDE4.
Official Website

KPDF (PDF viewer)
This is a simple and small PDF reader. Not very complex, but you can decently view your PDF files. It also supports text extraction by selecting a certain area of the PDF with your mouse.
Official Website

KOffice (office suite)
KOffice is the complete office suite for KDE, completely cost-free. Including many applications, like KWord (word processor), Krita (image editor) or KSpread (spreadsheet application), this office suite is a good alternative to KWord includes support for ODF (Open Document Format).
Official Website

Gwenview (image viewer)
As for image viewing, Gwenview does its job perfectly. It's light and fast, includes all the options one needs from an image viewer, and can be expanded through scripts so you can make basic editing on your images. It also includes a file browser and a thumbnail viewer.
Official Website

Konsole (shell-like application)
A complete terminal-like application, with the possibility to use custom backgrounds, customise the encoding and font, use transparent background, and much more. I use it embedded in the system tray with KDocker.
Official Website

Konqueror (web browser and file manager)
Konqueror is mainly a web browser and file manager, but can also be used for viewing images and PDF documents, or previewing films. It's so many things, you can try to do stuff you would never expect it to do and yet be surprised when it succeeds.
Official Website

KGet (download manager)
In my opinion, the nicest features KGet has is the integration with the Konqueror web browser and system tray integration. It supports resuming files and an 'Expert' mode, which auto-closes KGet once all downloads are finished. KGet is part of the kdenetwork package.
Official Website

KCalc (calculator application)
A calculator for KDE, supporting many modes, like the Scientific one. A great small tool to have around and quickly fire it up when need arrives. KCalc is part of kdeutils package.
Official Website

Kid3 (audio tag editor)
Currently at version 1.0, this lightweight tag editor supports many formats, like OGG, MP3 or FLAC. Very useful for audiophiles who like to have the tags for their songs impeccable and edit them all the time.
Official Website

KSnapshot (screenshot application)
This helps you take screenshots and save them to many formats, like PNG or JPG. Besides the fullscreen mode, you can also take a snapshot of the window under the cursor, or a selected region on the screen, or a window section. It has an option to delay the screenshot (in seconds), so you will be able to also capture menus. This application is part of the kdegraphics package.
Official Website

KDocker (docker application)
Very useful docker application which works with both KDE and GNOME, and, according to the official website, probably with Xfce too. The screenshot below shows Konsole embedded in system tray using KDocker.
Official Website

Klipper (clipboard tool)
The KDE clipboard tool, proves very useful when you need to paste several lines and want to have the content around all the time and only select what you need. Part of kdebase module.
Official Website

KDevelop (IDE)
This is the KDE complete development environment. Recommended mostly to programmers, supports many programming languages.
Official Website

KFind (file search application)
KFind is part of the kdebase package and provides a GUI to the GNU find utility.
Official Website

Addition: Akregator (RSS feed reader)
Part of the kdepim package, this application provides all the features one needs in order to access their favourite feeds. It can be embedded in system tray, can open articles in an external browser (default is Konqueror but you can change it), and can keep all the articles archived, for later use. The HTML browser can also be configured, separately from Konqueror's settings.
Official Website

Addition: DigiKam (photo management)
DigiKam is a photo management application for KDE, featuring the possibility to organise your photographies and images in albums, import and export albums, create MPEG slideshows (you will need the imagemagik package for this), apply several effects to your images, and many, many other. DigiKam has a wealth of options and it is highly configurable via the Configuration dialogue. A fine and complete photo management application.
Official Website

Addition: Ark (file compression tool)
Ark is the default KDE compression tool for files and benefits from Konqueror integration, given that the konq-plugins package is installed. This program is part of the kdeutils package.
Official Website

Addition: KMail (email client)
I'm not much of a fan of the email clients, but for those who prefer to use one instead of their web browser, KMail does a good job. This is the KDE email client, capable of supporting protocols like POP3, IMAP or SMTP.
Official Website

Addition: BasKet (notes application)
BasKet is a full-featured, complete and easy to use notes-taking application. BasKet is one of those applications that you need for example when you bump into a short tutorial, or want to copy some short IRC tip or some quote from someone in a forum thread. It's very useful to highlight important notes by priority, organise and manage your notes. I was impressed by how well it imported my plain text notes file. It can be embedded in the system tray.
Official Website

Updated: Sep 17, 2008


Matej said...

Instead of Konsole I just use Yakuake (pressing F12 opens console like in Quake). I also install these: Krusader (a two pane filemanager), Katapult (an application launcher), Digikam (to manage my photos), KMyMoney (to manage my finances) and Akregator (to follow all the RSS feeds).

Dan Craciun said...

Oh, thanks for the feedback. You are so right, I'm not much of a fan of Krusader of Digikam, but Akregator should definitely be in this list,and somehow I missed it. Well, it's never too late for an addition I guess.

Anonymous said...

I find KOrganize one of my most essential apps. Having the calendar right in my tray has been a lifesaver as far as sending out birthday cards on time is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Kopete is a really bad choice. Sluggish when sending messages, not easy way to change avatar (Drag and drop not supported, and avatar is of a ridiculous small size), conversation dialog layout is a non-sense, avatar is in a tool bar instead of the right side of text field or any other place, very bad implementation of file transfer feature (At least for MSN, very slow and transfer get stalled every time). Conclusion... a shame! how many years trying to accomplish a simple IM client.

Dan Craciun said...

I know Kopete is not perfect by far, but keep in mind the protocols which are not open and are changed constantly. I remember when I was using Windows that Yahoo! wouldn't allow file transfers between even two of its own Y! Messenger versions, in order to force you update it. If there is KDE application which supports at least the most used protocols, please let me know about it and I'll gladly include a review on it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this person never looked into the configuration options for Kopete. Kopete allows you to have large icons, you simply have to go into the configuration menus. As far as sluggish in sending messages, I have never had that problem, but perhaps you are using a protocol that isn't that well implemented that well in Kopete. Gtalk, Ymessenger, and IRC work fine. I have complaints with KIRC, but those don't seem to be on the list.

Anonymous said...

oops, I meant to say I have complaints in Kopete, not KIRC.

Anonymous said...

Can I suggest kvirc instead of konversation.

Dan Craciun said...

Yes, KVirc is good, and it has its own scripting language, if I'm not wrong. The decision to put Konversation was only a matter of taste, since I've been using it for some time in the past and liked the ease of use.

Anonymous said...

they all sucks...

Anonymous said...

Where's SMplayer?

G o t h a m said...

"Kopete allows you to have large icons, you simply have to go into the configuration menus".
I don't mean making icons larger, I mean moving avatar image out of the tool bar. It doesn't make any sense to embed the image in the tool bar, it's not a button, and the layout doesn't fulfill its function of showing other's person picture in a reasonable way.
About file transfer, Pidgin and AMSN do very well in this subject, file transfer works like a charm in those apps, however they're not KDE applications and so desktop integration is not very good, the point is, Koppete file transfer implementation is very poor compared to other open source clients, problem is, it has been problematic a lot of time ago, and each new release adds new features, but don't fix critical problems like those mentioned above.

Mike said...

good post

Anonymous said...


Bob Robertson said...

I would myself add Kmail. I've been using it for almost 8 years now, it works and continually gets better. The integration with GnuPG is wonderful.

Which reminds me, KGpg too!

Dan Craciun said...

Thanks for all these good additions. I included KMail as well, as for KRename or KGpg, I prefer to keep here only the essential KDE applications. Maybe I'll make a post to include a top 50 or something similar.

Anonymous said...

Why would they want to make apps that already exist, and are better! E.g. Kaffeine <> MPlayer ,
Kopete <> Pidgin ,
Koffice <> OpenOffice.Org ,
Maybe one thing they're better in is Amarok, but for the rest...
Why can't we just work on one project and make a good linux program instead of everyone making it's own 'better'.

Anonymous said...

It's a nice list and including application thats not in the default KDE install but of very high quality like Basket is a nice touch. KDE is about the applications, and this is a nice way to show it.

Here is a list of some more high quality 3rd party KDE applications.

Kdissert/Semantik, Mindmapping tool.

Tellico, A collection manager.

KMyMoney, a Personal Finance Manager.

TaskJuggler, project management tool.

Rekall, a database front-end.

Filelight, a tool to visualise disk usage.

K9copy, a DVD backup software.

xd said...

... and Kadu ... :D

┼╗bik said...

How about UMBRELLO!?
It's the best open source application for creating diagrams!

mjjzf said...

While I keep coming back to Xfce, the Mplayer frontend Kplayer is really good - pleasant to look at. It is in my toolbox.
Also, there is no getting around K3B - it is simply the best burning application there is for the free OSes, IMO.
While I usually use Abiword - what I need is to write text and lots of it and make light editing with italics and bold text - I also find myself appreciating Koffice. All of the applications are solid, but most importantly: Krita is the best graphics program for me. GIMP is good for some aspects and Mtpaint for others. Krita strikes a balance, and I find it is the best for me.
Lastly, can anyone tell me: What is the point of Kugar? Yes, report generator. But... for what? Reports of what?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting the list together. I had all the applications except for BasKet. Never heard of it before. Downloaded it, tried it, and it turns out to be a terrific application. Could be a killer app for Linux. Should be more widely recognized.

Anonymous said...

Here's one I can't live without: Krusader
And you can add this to your list: Krename, Kdif3.

bafta, Florin

Tomi said...

You forgot major part of Kaffeine. It's ease of use for DVB! Luvs it, has graphical frequency scan, timed records etc.