A new semantic search engine for the KDE desktop

Loaded for Bear

Article from Issue 165/2014

Baloo replaces Nepomuk as the semantic search engine on the KDE desktop, but it gets off to a bumpy start.

The Nepomuk semantic search has been highly controversial since its introduction in KDE – both for users and for application developers. The release of KDE Applications 4.13 brings a new solution named Baloo to the KDE desktop – but not without some growing pains.

Desktop environments are pretty dumb, as users discover when they look for a file whose name they simply cannot remember. Semantic desktops were designed to address this problem. A semantic desktop has access to information about data, such as what data manifested, when data was created, and how data relate to each other. Using this information, a user can, for example, search for a file on the hard disk that John Doe emailed in March.

The KDE developers wanted to give their desktop environment an appropriate semantic search engine. They turned to the results of the Nepomuk (Networked Environment for Personalized, Ontology-Based Management of Unified Knowledge; Figure 1) research project [1] funded by the European Union from 2006 to 2008 to the tune of several million euros . It was intended to provide everything necessary to promote and simplify the development of a semantic desktop.


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