Posted by ryan
at 2:26 PM
on Monday, November 22, 2004
As my previous post indicated, I thought I had finally broken free of MS Outlook. I had been running an IMAP/iCal over webDAV combination on Windows for about a week without any showstoppers. I figured that between Thunderbird/Sunbird/Evolution on Linux, I would have no issues porting over to a Linux machine 100% of the time. Well, I spoke too soon.
I spent all day trying to get Evolution set up to read from my iCal share on my VPS. Two issues:
- Evolution doesn’t seem to support either iCal over SSL or authenticated URLs.
- Evolution doesn’t seem to like the format of my calendar. (Could Sunbird be to blame here? It likes the calendars on icalexchange.com)
To add to my dis-appointment, Sunbird doesn’t have a package for Debian yet and the Mozilla-Calendar project isn’t quite where I need to be. All I want is an iCal calendaring solution available on multiple platforms. Is that too much to ask?
Posted by ryan
at 4:08 PM
on Friday, November 19, 2004
title=”Get Thunderbird – Reclaim Your Inbox”><img
width=”125” height=”80” border=”0” alt=”Get Thunderbird”>
I have made it my mission for the past few months to remove myself from the dependency on Microsoft Outlook I have had for the past 6 or so years. Don’t get me wrong, Outlook is a great tool for email, contacts and calendaring and I have used it enjoyably ever since college. However, as I’ve recently wanted to migrate ALL my machines (about 5 of them) to Linux, I ran into a problem. How do I migrate my years of emails and appointments/tasks to a Linux/open platform?
Initially I was content with running Outlook (2003) in Crossover Office – but what’s the point of running Linux if you still have to pay for a $400 office suite AND are tied into proprietary formats. As I started thinking more and more about my goals I also realized I wanted all my data available to me no matter which machine I was on – and without any messy synchronization process.
An ex-coworker of mine suggested using IMAP for my email store and iCal over WebDAV for my calendaring. At the time he originally suggested this I wasn’t too impressed with the iCal calendaring clients for non-Mac machines. However, with the latest release of Mozilla Sunbird I’ve found that it’s at least functional for the minimal time I will be spending in Windows and that Evolution 2.0 now supports iCal over webDAV. Ah hah! All the pieces are all in place now.
Here’s what I’ve done:
- Got a VPS plan from Linode.com
- Installed the Debian image
- Set up Courier email server w/ IMAP
- Copied my email from Outlook to the IMAP store (Outlook supports IMAP – so it’s just a matter of copy over)
- Installed Apache2 w/ webDAV & SSL on my VPS
- Set up a private calendar folder for my iCals
- Using Mozilla Sunbird, imported my calendar appointments from Outlook’s CSV format (not perfect but certainly acceptable) to my iCal share
- Using Outport, exported my Outlook tasks to Evolution tasks (which appears to be iCal) and imported them into Sunbird and my iCal share
- Used Mozilla Thunderbird to import my contacts and connect to my IMAP store
I have been running this hybrid Thunderbird/Sunbird setup for a few days now and find it to be perfectly functional. I have really come to appreciate Thunderbird, and Sunbird is a start for calendaring. Most of all I can rest easy knowing that I am free to switch to machines and operatins systems at a whim and have all my essential data available to me with no conversion. I definitely won’t be making the same mistake I did 6 years ago – choosing a product that ties your information up in a proprietary format. Thank god for Mozilla and the open-source movement in general.
Some impressions so far:
- Linode.com is sitting on some fat pipes and has a great, easy to use console – but my support tickets (non-urgent) have either gone unanswered or not answered for days. It’s only for those who can administer their own sites or are willing to put in the time to learn the stuff yourself.
- Mozilla Sunbird is a bit quirky to say the least. If you need predictable, accurate behavior from your reminders and tasks, it may not be ready for you yet.
- Definitely check out the Thunderbird extensions out there, they will really enhance your email experience. My favorites are the contacts sidebar, quick reply and foxy tunes