Open Source Palm-Desktop Groupware

I recently discovered the comfort of using groupware, to organize all my communication and email needs. I never used a groupware application before, so maybe I am just realizing the potential of such software. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I commute to university the majority of the time. This means 3-4 hours on the bus, with little to do. Last semester I began intensively using that time to finish homework, edit papers and so on. One of the things I wanted to do is to write emails on my Palm Tungsten E, and send them later. The Palm came with a Windows-only mail client, VersaMail. Not helpful when your main desktop being KDE running on Ubuntu Linux (Kubuntu 6.10). Fortunately that is where Kontact comes in.

Kontact: KDE’s Groupware Offering
Kontact acts as an all-purpose groupware program. I will not discuss the virtues of this program here. It is a serious contender for replacing Microsoft’s Outlook or Novell’s GroupWare. You should check it out yourself. Kontact comes with KPilot, a great program for basic syncing of a Palm. Unfortunately Kubuntu’s version KPilot had bug in it. Fortunately I found a deb from that fixed my problem.

First, I needed to migrate my mail and contacts from Mozilla Thunderbird to Kontact. I needed to export my address book in Mozilla to LDIF. Kontact easily imported this. Kontact also comes with a neat feature for importing emails from other clients. A simple wizard, and my Thunderbird emails resided now in Kontact. An hour later of organization, I readied myself for Palm integration.

Palm syncing on Linux can be a chore. Fortunately, Ubuntu 6.10 comes with easy PDA syncing for most Palm PDAs. To my horror, KPilot actually removed contacts from my Palm. After I installed the updated deb for KPilot, this problem also disappeared. Now I all I need was the Palm’s email program integrating with KPilot.

VersaMail versus GNUGetMail
My Tungsten E came with an email client called VersaMail. Unfortunately KPilot’s email plug-in does not use the MultiMail format which VersaMail uses. Not wanting to buy an email client, I searched for a free solution. I stumbled upon gnuGetMail. gnuGetMail is a simple, open source email client and uses the older single account Palm mail format. All I really needed was something to write emails for later sending. gnuGetMail does both sending and receiving of emails.

I recommend both Kontact and gnuGetMail to anyone considering Palm based emailing.

Kontacts, Palms & Course Juggling

Greetings again!

6 days into a brand new year 2007, and I am starting to feel the ominous feeling of stress. Without getting into details, things are not working out as planned, backup plans seem to backfire and a tense atmosphere has enveloped my personal life. Fortunately I have 359 days left to make up.

School started again on Friday. The last semester started and I am not sure which courses I want to undertake. I do have a less then promising backup plan. I hoped on continuing my journalism training, but getting into the course proves problematic. Oh well.

Today, unproductive in the realm of homework and past work, I dedicated to integrating my Palm into my lifestyle. First I migrated to using the Kontact groupware, as KMail and family works better with KPilot better than Mozilla Thunderbird. The migration proved not too difficult. The problem I keep running into is syncing the desktop to PDA correctly. The PDA keeps on loosing contacts, and not updating the desktop’s todo list. Not to mention that the Palm’s VersaMail client refuses to talk to anyone except itself. My goal for the ending minutes of day is to force both Kontact and the Palm to talk to each other.

Confusion (and angst) are the order of the day.