The joys of transparency

Submitted by Larry on 11 August 2005 - 10:01pm

Lately I've been reviewing Linux-based server software for a client. I have setup a dedicated test server that I can break, and to avoid rolling my office chair around the room to get anything done (fun as that may be), I've been accessing it almost exclusively via ssh from my desktop.

Generally when I need to download a new program to test, I just wget it on the server and then do whatever it is I'm going to do. That is, until one program didn't offer an actual URL. No, to use their software, you had to use their super-cool download redirect method. Boy I hate those, even apart from the problem of not being able to just wget a file. So I had to download the file on my main desktop and then shuffle it over. Minor annoyance, and computers are supposed to be helpful, not annoying.

But wait! Forget downloading it to my computer. I'll just have my computer download it. Enter the wonders of KIOSlaves in KDE. I just threw "sftp://myname@servername/home/myname" into the location bar of the file save dialog in Konqueror, entered my password when prompted, and off it went. The file never even existed on my desktop. It went straight to the test system where it belonged, and I didn't even have to do anything special. Afterall, in KDE sftp is just an ordinary file path.

A major, earth-shaking innovation? Well, no. It's not going to cure cancer. But it's one more sample of what Open Source software, and KDE in particular, can do. Network? So what? We'll work just the same, and save you a few steps in the process.

Can your OS do that?

That's pretty cool. Is that a Konqueror thing or a KDE thing? Specifically and more to the point, would I be able to use an application to do what you did, or do I have to switch from Fluxbox to KDE?

It is really cool the same way that hard links are cool ways to move a file to a new directory mid-download.

It's a KDElibs thing. Any KDE-based application that speaks KIO (vis., anything from the main KDE distribution and most other KDE apps) should be able to do it, and I actually have Konqueror installed on my ancient laptop that runs XFCE just so that I can use it for file/network management.

I'm not sure off hand what the performance differences is for loading the necessary KDE libraries vs. loading all of KDE, but Konqueror works acceptably on the aforementioned laptop. (266 MHz, if memory serves.) Kate (KDE Advanced Text Editor) works too, although it does take about a minute to load. Still, once loaded it runs fine, and all of the same KIO magic works properly.