KDE4 desktop search

Date: 13 Jul, 2009
Posted by: admin
In: hints & tips|linux, open source & software

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An overview of desktop search option for KDE4. A not quite exhaustive list of the options available. Should work on Ubuntu and other linux distros too.

I’ve published this early as I think even if it were just the list of desktop search apps then it’s still useful – and hopefully it’s a bit better than that.

[In progress] KDE4 desktop search options

Brief overview of the current state of desktop search options available on Kubuntu.

Requirements & preferences

My focus is getting an easy to use KDE4 GUI based desktop search tool that doesn’t suck up too much back-end power. I’m hoping for easy indexing options including limiting search within a specified tree (e.g. by wildcard or regex) a proper client (not relying on Konqueror) and file preview images for at least the picture results. Preferably results will be sortable by date and size.

I’m not going to compile anything so I’m looking for deb packages or more preferably to install via apt-get from the Jaunty (Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Medibuntu 9.04) repos.

Scouting around I find the following desktop search options (in no particular order):

  • beagle
  • kerry (kerry-beagle)
  • strigi
  • kat
  • tenor
  • recoll
  • tracker
  • docco
  • pinot
  • krunner

Desktop search tools


For a long time I’ve used Beagle, but Beagle is designed for Gnome and uses a Gnome front-end. That would be fine except that I hate the way the results are shown – that there’s no configurability of the number of results on screen, that the file types don’t say what’s included as “Pictures” (does that include SVG?, PDF?). It’s a really good option and certainly worth trying. If I can’t find anything more KDE4 (there is a kio-slave but I don’t want to use Konqueror) oriented then I’ll be using this as my default if only because it allows fast query construction using a brief query language.



appears to be all-in for KDE3 : it looks uglier than Beagle with it’s “wiki style” results page presented through Konqueror. I don’t want to fire up a web browser I no longer use in order to do desktop search. The results look awful, see KDE-apps.org Strigi page. I’m look for both a fast backend and reasonable frontend so I can actually usefully search my indexed files.


Once supported by Mandriva now seems to have died in favour of tenor.


I can’t even find a good link for this, it never seems to have gotten off the ground. In 2005 it was touted to be the KDE4 equivalent for Beagle.




Tracker screenshot

Another Gnome based effort which can be integrated with Nautilus. Just this information puts me off (see my aims) despite the screenshots looking like just what I’m after. A native version of this would seem to be perfect.




This is the command input dialog from KDE4 (Alt-F2 to access it). It has 2 modes, command mode and task oriented mode. It also has additional features beyond being an abbreviated command shell. In task oriented mode it does some rudimentary searching – typing “pict” brings up commands (applications) to launch to handle pictures as well as recent jpeg files and filenames with “pict” in them. This looks to be a start and indeed the KDE team call it one of the “First signs of desktop search integration” but it’s not enough yet to be a solution for desktop search.

Worth watching.

Conclusions on desktop search

Looks like I’m going back to Beagle for the moment. Please someone tell me there’s a better option!?

Google for other recent information on KDE desktop search.


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