I am a KDE user, if you haven't already guessed and today I thought I would share what really sells KDE for me and makes me use KDE as my desktop environment. First of all, I have no problem with GNOME, I think it is also an excellent desktop environment and has many good features, but with what I use my Linux box for, I think I would go mad without a similar feature to what I'm going to cover today.The killer feature that keeps me with KDE is a technology called KIO.
But simply, KIO is the architecture for doing input and output in (almost) all KDE applications. If a KDE app wants to grab a file from your hard drive or a website, it will use KIO to get that information.
KIO isn't just limited to getting local files either and this is where it really can start to get cool. There are individual programs called KIO slaves which plug into KIO and allow KIO, and subsequently all KDE applications, to use a particular way of getting information.
For example, there is a slave for SFTP transfer, one for FTP, another for Windows file, sharing (SMB) and so on. What this means in a practical sense is that all KDE applications can access information from all these file systems transparently, as if it was a local file.
A great example of this in practice is when I do web development in my favourite IDE, Quanta. I don't have to download files, change them and upload them again, I simply point the open file dialogue at my SFTP server and I can load the files directly off the server. When I've made a change to a file, I hit save. The middle man is cut out and instead of going to a local file for me to upload, it gets saved directly onto the server.
I can then enjoy the benefits of running a local IDE with the convenience of working directly on a server.
This KIO functionality works across almost every single KDE application out there and if you work with remote systems a lot, this feature can save you time, effort and sanity in downloading and uploading files.