How to Use ‘remote:/’ KIO and KNetAttach

In my post two weeks ago, I introduced you to KDE’s KIO slaves and gave you a brief overview of the services they offer. One of the KIO protocols is remote:/, which relies on KNetAttach to create virtual network folders.  With it, you can create folders for the following services:

1. WebFolder (webdav)
2. FTP
3. Microsoft Windows network drive (using Samba)
4. Secure shell (ssh)

Each one has its slightly unique features and requirements, and in this post, you will learn about each one.

There are two ways to start KNetAttach. One, which we already discussed, is to go to remote:/ in Dolphin or Konqueror. Then, simply click on Add Network Folder. The other method is to press Alt-F2, type “knetattach” and press Enter.

WebFolder

WebFolder relies on WebDAV, which allows you to create and use web-based folders. Many remote file storage services rely on this technology. To connect to a web  folder:

1. Select WebFolder from the “Add Network Folder” list and click “Next“.
2. Give it a name; something you will only use for identification.
3. Enter your username.
4. For Server, it is usually a full web address like http://webdav.yourdomain.com
5. Enter a folder name only if required by your host.
6. Check “use encryption” if HTTPS is available.
7. Check “create an icon for this remote folder” to use the connection again in the future.
8. Click “Save and Connect“.

It will prompt you for your password.  If you elect to save your password, it is a good idea to use Kwallet, which is enabled by default.

knetattach

FTP and SSH

Connecting to FTP is nearly identical to other connection methods.

1. Give the connection a name.
2. Enter the username (Often, this is a full email address if you use shared hosting. Check with your host). If it is public FTP, usually the username is “anonymous”.
3. Enter the server (Usually just the domain name, like suchandsuch.com or ftp.suchandsuch.com).
4. Only change the port if specified by your host. 21 is the default.
5. Click “Save and Connect“.

The only difference with SSH is usually the port number. In addition to connecting to remote hosts for a website, this is a good method to use for connecting two Linux computers on a local network for file transfer. Just make sure that both hosts have openssh server installed.

Microsoft Windows network drive

For a connection to Windows, you will need Samba running and configured on your computer. If you are unsure what server information to use, navigate to remote:/ and then click on “Samba Shares“. It will show you the current windows shares on your network. When you click “Save and Connect“, it will prompt you for a username and password only if the samba share requires it.

Network Services

There is a button in the remote:/ section called “Network Services”, and it allows you to connect to zeroconf services. The idea behind zeroconf (zero configuration) is to connect to networked computers, printers, and various devices without any expert configuration. Linux uses a free implementation called Avahi. Many distributions enable the avahi daemon by default. It allows you to quickly discover and connect to FTP, Samba, HTTP, CUPS, and other protocols.

The remote:/ KIO combined with KNetAttach provides users with a full networking experience. Once you are connected to one of the above-mentioned services, you can navigate through them just as you would through folders and files on your own computer. You can drag and drop, copy and paste, and even delete all in real time.  When you are finished, just close the tab or window.