Kasperian Moving Parts

kinda like Batman, but with a wife and 3 kids

Korganizer, Exchange, OWASync, Google Calendar, KPilot

| 24 Comments

I use KOrganizer to view and manage my personal calendar. My employer uses Microsoft Exchange *spit* for its calendaring solution, so I also have a calendar on the Exchange server that holds all of my work meetings and reminders. I would really like to keep everything on my Google Calendar too, so I can share it with my family. And I sync everything with my Palm so I can carry my schedule with me and get alarms when a meeting is coming up. As an aside, I’d really like to use my Nokia N810 for this instead of my Palm, but alas this is just not there yet, mCalendar notwithstanding.

So my current “solution” involves using OWASync to pull down my Exchange calendar, crontabbed shell scripts plus some KDE ical code to 1-way-merge it into my personal calendar, a constantly-running GCalDaemon that takes it all and merges it in with Google Calendar, and KPilot which does its own merging with my KOrganizer std.ics file. Um. Yuck! This sucks! And there is weirdness that happens betwixt all the moving parts when anything non-standard happens, like updated Exchange meetings, timezone translation, etc., etc. And I’m pretty sure it’s not going to work with KDE4 and Akonadi being that all of this is operating directly on the raw ics files. And I guess that’s the real answer, eventually–Akonadi–however, I don’t believe that all the pieces are there yet. *sigh*

Does anyone have any better solutions for this? The biggest missing pieces seem to be:

  • PIM (Calendar, Contacts, ToDos, Notes) software that syncs with a Linux desktop (or hell, even Google resources directly) for the Nokia N810/Maemo.
  • A KDE bridge for Exchange.
  • A KDE bridge for Google Calendar/Contacts/etc.

*grouse*

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....

24 Comments

  1. Oh man I am in the same boat as you are. Unfortunately, I had to temporarily give up on using Kontact/KMail here at work due to our Exchange server and use Evolution instead. For a while I was just using the IMAP garbage from Exchange which I found out really stinks as well. I hope one day this can all be worked out, until then I just use KMail with my peronal/non-work email.

  2. Heya @nixternal. =:( Yeah, I find this whole situation extremely distasteful and ugly. =:(((( Thanks for the comment tho.

  3. Hello !

    What about a solution using syncML and a Funambol server ?

  4. @Kenshinjonin: Have you done this before with all the moving parts I’ve described? Or can you help me understand how syncML/Funambol would help me?

    Thanks!

  5. If you found a solution, *PLEASE*, tell me! =)

    cheers

  6. I am in a similar scenario. I am REALLY looking forward to a fully functional Akonadi that will make it easy to integrate all these different platforms. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be quite there yet. I would plunge in and try to help out, but the code is a little intimidating. It’s much more complex than it sounds from reading the descriptions on the web site.

    Maybe when the semester is over I will have time to roll up my sleeves and help out some.

  7. For your calendar: In KDE3 it was possible to add a Microsoft Exchange 2000 resource which required OWA. Then you had your Exchange calendar (remotely) available in KOrganizer. I can’t find it in KDE4 though. And I doubt think it was syncable.

    I think everybody pointed me to ScheduleWorld.com when I asked about that but I don’t want to trust another third party with my data.

    I’m really looking forward to the day KDE has a proper multisync library and they on the other hand have something to sync with Exchange 🙂

    Oh, I forgot: According to somebody I forgot does Evolution have a working Exchange sync. But I never made it work. You might want to check out OpenChange.org as well.

  8. Give http://www.go-evolution.org/MAPIProvider a shot.

    What would it take to integrate openchange with Kontact?

    http://tom.acrewoods.net/blog/2008/nov/connecting-microsoft-exchange-openchange

    “For Kontact users, usable integration is probably a good 6 months away.”

  9. @Malte S. Stretz : Scheduleworld is driven by a Funambol server

    @Jason ‘vanRijn’ Kasper : I’m using Funambol through Scheduleworld.com to sync my HTC Touch cruise (running windows mobile :-() with google calendar and evolution.
    But I read on the website that there is a community driven connector to Exchange… and since it is open source, why not someone somewhere who’s making a sync plugin to Kmail (in wich I would really be interrested in…)

  10. I don’t fall quite into the same category but i’ve been struggling with syncing my calendar to my palm treo 650 (outdate, yeah i know).

    I used to use KPilot in ubuntu 8.04 but in 8.10 it no longer exists. .

    @Jason: is there a place i could compile the kde4 version of kpilot?

  11. Jason, nixternal: I can’t believe there are 2 talented and experienced KDE developers forced to use Exchange at work and you’re not talking about the Akonadi exchange resource that is being developed by Brad Hards and co. He’s blogged about it relatively recently. Afaik it is not progressing that quickly, but with the two of you helping I’m sure it could become a real killer for KDE. Writing groupware connectors is not rocket science (I should know, I do it for a living) so give it a go!

  12. While you wait for the Akonadi / Exchange plugin (or help develop it – it really isn’t that complex :-)), I do have a way forward with stripping appointments out of Exchange.

    I present to you: exchange2ical. Its part of the utilities we ship with OpenChange. It essentially dumps your Exchange (aka Outlook) calendar appointments as ICAL on stdout.

    Either pull it from svn, or wait for the 0.8 release some time in December. We’re currently waiting for the next release of samba4.

  13. @Mike: Yeah, actually, you should be able to find some nightly/weekly kubuntu KDE 4.2/trunk beta packages? KPilot should be available that way. That’ll be the best. Or, you can do it the hard way and try to compile it yourself, but that’s much more error-prone.

    @Will Stephenson: Heya! =:) Actually, I was talking about it… that was the “not quite there yet”… based on an e-mail I thought I saw from Brad a while ago saying that due to real life (and BOY I can relate!), the openchange/akonadi stuff won’t be ready for 4.2. And yeah, you’re right… I really should pitch in and help, especially being that there’s not that many KDE PIM people to begin with, much less those who have access (whether they want it or not) to an Exchange server. =:/

    @Brad Hards: Hi!! =:) Actually, I was looking for exactly that sort of thing–the exchange2ical utility, thank you!!! In fact, I looked around openchange.org a bit, looking for something like that, but didn’t have much luck. So, I will definitely be looking at and into that. Thanks for the comment, and thanks very much to the pointer to exchange2ical! I will be very excited if it does a better job than OWASync!!!

  14. The Akonadi feature list at http://pim.kde.org/akonadi/ lists:

    # Permits semantic desktop infrastructure to access PIM data
    # Archiving
    # Indexing

    Does this mean that when KMail moves to akonadi, it will be able to sync properly with Googlemail (i.e. see tags rather than seperate folders).

    I guess that there are probably limitations with IMAP but these could probably be worked around or heuristically overcome…. maybe. Perhaps Google even provides a way to access this information.

  15. Oh “Permits semantic desktop infrastructure **to access** PIM data”.

    I misread that as something about permitting semantic structure, hence I thought the more flexible concept of tags would supersede folders. But I guess not.

    Kmail is still cool.

  16. Hi, have you tried Chandler?
    Give it a shot, it worth trying!
    http://chandlerproject.org/

  17. Maybe in near future opensync will be able to do that… there are people working in an akonadi plugin for it (and also google data).

    The syncml plugin is pretty capable, being functional with cellphones using bluetooth.

    Regards

    Adenilson

  18. to sync Google-Calendar you can use GPE-Calendar Erminig.

  19. I have been searching for the Holy Grail of sync for more than ten years. I have spent the last several hours trying to get syncevolution to broker between Kontact and Scheduleworld (works but Kaddressbook has problems editing vCards, Korganizer has problems editing vCal files for events and todos.

    I think next I will try Gcaldamon for events and stick with syncevolution for contacts. Funambol works on the WM6 side so that is not really an issue.

    One tip: I don’t want my entire work calendar at home or on my PDA so when a meeting or event comes up that I do want I just invite my Gmail address as an attendee.

    -j

  20. As sad as it sound (and it is pretty pathetic, since I really like my Android G1 phone), the best way to get Exchange support on Linux is VirtualBox + WinXP Pro + Outlook.

    This is largely due to *surprise* M$’s lack of standards, and wild interpretations when they do claim to use them (e.g. IMAP4 and ical which even with demangling enabled in Korganizer still doesn’t work).

    Google is far from innocent in this last regard. They *could* support LDAP and vcard for contacts, and their ical support is a wee bit spotty to say the least.

  21. I guess Evolution wouldn’t be so buggy of Evolution’s developers could get used to reading big distributions’ bug trackers and keep contact with the testing community.

    Without proper Exchange 2007 support Linux is not usuable for many (most?) employees.

  22. http://www.conduit-project.org/

    Seems very impressive. A shame it is not available on KDE yet! Look like it could have solved all my sync problems.

    No Plaxo sync yet, though. I really wish the KDE addressbook would sync with Plaxo…

  23. I currently use DAVMail, which is a local Gateway to an Exchange Webmail-Frontend.
    It encapsulates all the dirty and ugly stuff and provides local POP/IMAP + SMTP for mail, Caldav for calendar integration and LDAP for the address-book stuff.
    It’s configuration is as simple as can be, although the Kontact-Configuration is a bit involved. At good least, I have managed to use all these components from within Kontact and need my windows machine only for some proprietary IE-Stuff.
    Yay \o/

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