Beagle is a desktop search tool for Gnome. I thought I might give it a go, because sometimes I need to find things. Since I am using KDE I also installed Kerry, which is a KDE front end for Beagle. All of this can be accomplished in Debian as follows:
apt-get install kerry
Phew, that was tricky. I can see why those windows guys find Linux sooo difficult. It is waaaaay easier to go to some random website, download an installer, pray that it is safe, double-click on the installer, click "Yes, I do agree to all of these outrageous license terms and I don't mind that it includes spyware, and adware", click Next, Next, Next, and finally reboot a couple of times.
Linux sure has a lot of catching up to do in the area of software installation.
But I digress. It's what I do best.
The idea with Beagle/Kerry is to make it easier to find stuff on your computer, or, as the Beagle folks put it "Beagle is a search tool that ransacks your personal information space to find whatever you're looking for. Beagle can search in many different domains."
Beagle can search based on file name, and on the contents of the many file formats it understands. And it is damn fast. Beagle can index your emails, documents, web history, and many other things that I am waaay too lazy to deliniate here.
So, anyway, Beagle and Kerry are now installed. You'll find Kerry under "Utilities" in the KDE menu. When first run it needs to index your system, which can take some time. You can use Kerry before this is finished, but don't expect a complete set of results.
Here's how you use Kerry: Type your search term. Press Enter.
At least, that's how it's supposed to work.
"Ah," says the reader. "We've come to the bit." And you would be right. This is the bit, and here it is. The thing about Beagle is that it misses stuff. Really really obvious stuff. I tested by searching for a file called "revaddress" in my home directory. No results. Huh?
Well, has it not finished indexing my home folder? Unlikely - I left it two days before testing.
Maybe I'm just not holding my mouth right.
I tried a different file, this time with the tip of my tongue sticking out the corner of my mouth to show how determined I was. Beagle found this one. Tried a few more searches for known files. Some were found. Others not. Perhaps there is a pattern of some kind, but if there is my enormous brain was not able to discern it during my exhaustive five second examination.
There is another bit. I was happy with Beagle's ability to search my Thunderbird mail folders, however when I clicked on a search result in order to open the message, Kerry failed with an error:
"Could not start process Unable to create io-slave:
klauncher said: Unknown protocol 'mailbox'. "
Update: Just now got a new version (0.2) of Kerry from the Debian repositories, and this error no longer appears. Instead, when I click on a search result to view the original email nothing whatsoever happens. So, they're half way to fixing the problem, I guess.
There is another bit. It is this. Beagle/Kerry use bucket-loads of memory, which I'm sure has been covered elsewhere so I don't know why I bothered mentioning it here, except that, for me, it means Beagle will be disappearing from my system pronto - for some reason I'm not keen to have ten percent of my RAM chewed up by a process that I might use, maybe, if you're really lucky, once or twice a month.
By the way, bucket-loads is a technical term - you probably wouldn't understand it, because it is so technical.