Wednesday, August 16, 2006

State of Linux calendaring 2006

I spent some time at LinuxWorld yesterday talking with Kevin Carmony, president and CEO of Linspire, makers of a more customer-friendly version of desktop Linux. He had just announced Freespire 1.0, a free version of the Linspire OS, and I observed that Freespire didn't include a calendar out of the box. Carmony pointed me to the Linspire Calendar, which comes bundled with Linspire, but is really just Mozilla Calendar, available as such from Mozilla.org.

But there's more to the Linspire calendaring story. Carmony and his vice president of business development, Randy Linnell, are both veterans of Franklin Covey Co. Carmony was vice president of technology there, after Franklin Covey bought Carmony's company, NewQuest Technologies, which made a personal information manager, Ascend, that I vaguely recall before the acquisition. Before the acquisition, Franklin Covey really didn't have a digital calendar. Linnell was with Franklin Covey for 11 years with titles such as director of customer service and director of technology.

Point being, these guys know calendaring. Carmony is totally sympathetic with our quest to drain the swamp. We both agree Mozilla hasn't done enough work on interop. The Linspire folks looked at Chandler, but it's aiming a bit high for the average customer, and it's been further delayed by server issues. (At OSCON, the Chandler team revealed that they've been forced to abandon efforts to build its Cosmo server on top of Apache Jackrabbit.)

Many desktop Linux distributions, such as Novell's OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, and Fedora, include the Ximian Evolution calendar. Evolution now supports CalDAV, a swamp-draining move that gets it part of the way toward interop nirvana. To get true nirvana and sync with most mobile devices, you still have to inject something like the Novell Groupwise Mobile Server, which is free--provided you've already bought a bunch of other Novell server software.

Do you think Mozilla Calendar is good enough? (I don't.) Are you willing to wait for Chandler? (I'm not.) Is the Ximian solution good enough? (Only if you're provided your calendar through an Enterprise with a capital "E".)

Maybe the Linux community should rally around someone like Carmony, who knows calendaring, and build something else?

Once Desktop Linux has a widespread, popular calendar, could its popularity help drain the swamp faster? (I think so.)

2 comments:

Frank said...

I've checked Chandler, Mozilla Sunbird, and Ximian Evolution, and I don't think any of them are ready to be THE desktop calendar. The first two are immature, but what if you used Ximian Evolution with a port of Darwin Calendar Server?

Anonymous said...

Ascend was a good product. I found Franklin Covey's PlanPlus enormously frustrating. (not sure if the Linspire guy was involved) I hope they'll make quality control a higher priority than FC did.

Keep up the good work Mr Calendar Swamp.